LAW4536 - International and comparative family law - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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



Not offered in 2017


This course begins with comparative approaches to a range of legal traditions in which family law is idiosyncratically situated. Topical issues touching on how domestic law interacts with legal diversity in family law will be canvassed. Particular emphasis will be placed on the interactions between religiously-governed family law and secular state law.

From the comparative law perspective, the course will progress to a consideration of the ways in which Immigration and Refugee Law interacts with domestic family law and family law policy.

The seminar will then progress to an examination of the traditional common law conflict of law principles that touch on family law matters, including jurisdiction and recognition and international enforcement of foreign family law orders. Consideration will then be given to the modification of the common law regime by treaty and legislation, including the various Hague Conventions that apply to family law issues. Further attention will be given to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as other human rights treaties. Each regime will be considered in the context of its impact upon domestic legal issues.

The six main area of family law will be examined through the lenses of comparative and international law, including marriage, divorce, matrimonial property, adoption, custody, and support.


Objectives include:

  • have students develop an awareness of the range of legal traditions within which family law is situated;
  • have students develop an awareness of links among Immigration and Refugee Law, domestic family law, and family law policy; and
  • have students develop an understanding of both private and public international law principles that impact upon domestic legal issues.


The students will complete four short (1250 words) critical analysis papers. Each paper will be worth 25% of the overall unit grade.

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. The unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)