Philosophical Foundations of Children’s and Family Law


Dates: Monday 15th - Tuesday 16th June

Times: 15 June:  Coffee and pastries from 9.15am; welcome at 9.45am.  Finish: 6.00pm

            16 June:  Coffee at 11.15am; first formal presentation from 11.30am.  Finish:  5.45pm

Venue: Oriel College, University of Oxford

Cost: Free

Deadline for registration: 5pm, Monday 8th June


Whilst particular topics within children’s and family law have formed the subject matter for edited collections in both philosophy and law, there has been no attempt to date to inter-relate the two fields for an integrated, immersive critical analysis of key issues in the area as a whole.  This seminar represents a ground-breaking collaboration between authors in law and philosophy from the UK, continental Europe, and North America.  The seminar’s aim is to increase understanding between the disciplines so that real progress can be made toward resolving critical issues such as the value of children’s rights to children, how the law should approach polyamory, what types of arguments might justify the imposition of legal obligations between individuals in intimate relationships, and how to ground the parent-child relationship in the context of assisted reproductive technologies.  The schedule includes a representative and broad range of pieces that engage with long-standing debates.  Coverage will be structured by four themes: definitions and influences; relationships; rights and obligations; and values, regulation, and intervention.  Themes are organised by the nature of the debate, rather than the substantive legal context. 


Scheduled speakers on 15 June:  John Eekelaar (University of Oxford); Elizabeth Brake (Arizona State University); Robert Leckey (McGill); Molly Shanley (Vassar College); Scott Altman (University of Southern California); Diane Jeske (University of Iowa); and Matthew Lister (University of Pennsylvania).


Scheduled speakers on 16 June:  Colin Macleod (University of British Columbia); Lucinda Ferguson (University of Oxford); Rosie Harding (University of Birmingham); Charlotte Bendall (University of Birmingham); Daniel Weinstock (McGill); Harry Willekens (University of Hildesheim, University of Hannover).


A full schedule is available here.


Lively discussion of contributions is encouraged.  You are welcome to attend for either day or both days.  Tea, coffee, light refreshments, and lunch will be served for registered attendees on both days.  This seminar should be of interest for graduate students and academics in law, philosophy, and related fields.


This seminar is being hosted by Elizabeth Brake (Associate Professor of Philosophy, Arizona State University) and Lucinda Ferguson (Associate Professor of Family Law, University of Oxford).


If you would like to attend, please fill out the registration form here and return to Naomi Webber:


This event is generously sponsored by University of Oxford, Faculty of Law’s Research Support Fund and the Society of Legal Scholars’ Legal Scholarship Fund.