Faculty of Law

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Law
OfferedPrato Term 2 2015 (Day)


Quota applies

The unit can be taken by a maximum of 45 students (due to limited facilities and method of teaching).


This unit focuses on different types of families and how intra-family relationships are regulated under Australian family law and comparative overseas family law systems. The unit is designed to challenge students about notions of families and relationships. It looks at 'traditional' marriages as well as same sex marriages and de facto relationships in different jurisdictions. It looks at families formed through assisted reproductive technology, adoption and surrogacy. Once legislators intervene, courts need to interpret statutory frameworks in light of cultural values and social science knowledge. Students will examine how culture and social science influence legislation and case law. Students will also examine the notion of 'best interests' of the child and how this is determined in Australia and other jurisdictions.
This unit also challenges students to consider what constitutes child abuse and neglect. Students also examine emerging international issues such as international adoption, commercial surrogacy and international abduction of children.


On completion of this subject, students will be able to:

  1. apply knowledge of and understanding of recent developments in relation to regulating relationships and different types of families in Australia and comparative family law systems with creativity and initiative to new situations in professional practice and/or further learning;
  2. investigate, analyse and synthesize complex information, problems, concepts and theories in relation to different types of families and how intra-family relationships are regulated;
  3. conduct research into regulating relationships and different types of families based on knowledge of appropriate research principles and methods; and
  4. use cognitive, technical and creative skills to generate and evaluate at an abstract level complex ideas and concepts relevant to how different families are formed and how intra-family relationships are regulated under Australian family law and comparative family law systems.


20% class attendance and participation
80% research assignment of 6,000 words (presented in accord with the AGLC).
Suggested topics will be provided but students can devise their own research topic with the lecturer's approval.

Workload requirements

Students are required to attend 36 hours of seminars and undertake 108 hours of private study over the duration of the course, including reading, class preparation, assignment preparation, and revision.

Chief examiner(s)