Families and the State: Adult relationships

The aim of this option is to examine a number of the most significant issues affecting adult family relationships and their legal regulation. The readings have been selected to integrate deep, theoretical debates with contemporary legal, policy, and empirical developments.  We are particularly concerned to understand the embeddedness and broader impact of the governing law.

The course will include seminars on marriage, cohabitation and other forms of intimate relationships.  It will also consider the legal response to domestic abuse and violence within families;  legal responses to gender inequalities within marriage and feminist critiques of family law regulation of adult relationships.

This option will naturally appeal to students with a particular interest in family law and human rights law.  More generally, it will appeal to students interested in broader debates that affect everyday who enjoy blending theoretical and conceptual arguments with the practical messiness of everyday life.  It will also appeal t those interested in bringing international sources of law to bear on such problems.

The following are some of the key substantive topics in the course:

  1. Gender and family law;
  2. Family violence;
  3. Diversity, religion, and families;
  4. Family law systems

In each topic, we will examine illustrative ‘case study’ case law and statutory materials from English law, other jurisdictions, and international law.  This will involve considering a broader range of key theoretical, policy, and empirical materials to enable us to situate the legal debate within its complex context