Qut Law School Assignment Acknowledgement Form


Legal professionals assisting clients who are entering into relationships or experiencing relationship breakdown are involved in helping them plan their future financial and parenting arrangements. Their role, when assisting clients after separation, is to help their clients find the most appropriate forms of dispute resolution and to minimise conflict experienced by family members, particularly where there are children. Family lawyers are most often engaged in matters involving future arrangements for children and financial issues, such as property settlement, spousal maintenance and child support. They also assist clients in applications to seek protection for family violence. This unit is important if you are considering working anywhere within the family law system or in general practice. It is an elective in the law degree.


This unit aims to provide you, as a potential family law professional, with an understanding of the family law system, the various options for resolution of disputes and of the relevant legislation and case law and how it is applied in practice.

Learning outcomes

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

1. advise clients of the most appropriate dispute resolution options for their cases and refer them to appropriate service providers, including counselling and mediation services, legal aid commissions, government departments and courts (Course Learning Outcomes 2.4, 4.4)
2. identify and describe some of the key social science findings in relation to the impact upon children of separation and divorce (CLO 1.5)
3. provide clients with basic legal advice in divorce, parenting, financial and domestic violence matters (CLOs 2.1, 2.2)
4. identify and describe the key ethical priorities of family lawyers, including the duty to promote the best interests of children in parenting disputes (CLO 5.1)
5. think critically and analyse and evaluate areas of family law and policy (CLO 2.3)
6. discuss and analyse the operation of family law in a wider context, including cultural and social perspectives (CLOs 1.5, 2.3)
7. effectively communicate family law advice in plain English (CLO 4.1), and
8. further develop skills relevant to employment and professional practice, including skills in research and self-management (CLOs 3.3, 3.4).


The unit will cover the following concepts:

1. What is 'a family' and what is 'family law'?
2. The family law system - the role of dispute resolution processes in family law and the role of the various courts
3. Divorce
4. Parenting arrangements
5. Social science research to assist in ascertaining what is in the best interests of children, particularly at various developmental levels, and the impact of parental separation and conflict upon children
6. Issues surrounding the family law system, including family violence and child protection
7. Arrangements surrounding financial issues, including:
a. property settlement
b. spousal maintenance, and
c. financial support for children.

Approaches to teaching and learning

The teaching and learning strategy used in this unit involves an interactive blended model, providing you with self-directed learning in the form of vodcasts, podcasts, activities and quizzes available on the Blackboard site. In addition, there will be six two-hour workshops in which you will learn how to apply the law to real world family law scenarios. The design of the workshops assumes that you have completed the required readings, watched and listened to vodcasts and podcasts and completed the activities on the Blackboard site. It also assumes that you have prepared the discussion questions for each workshop. The workshops will be recorded and available on the Blackboard site.

External Attendance School
There is no external attendance school in this unit.

Assessment items

Name#1: Assignment
DescriptionThis assignment has a strict word count of up to 2000 words and is weighted at 40%. The assignment will be either a theoretical question or a problem-based assignment and will be designed to assess your knowledge and understanding of selected unit concepts.
Due dateWeek 8
Internal or externalBoth
Group or individualIndividual
Relates to learning outcomes4-8
Name#2: Case studies
DescriptionThe case studies will assess your knowledge and understanding of unit concepts and your ability to apply them to real world scenarios. The maximum word count will be 3000 words.
Due dateWeek 14
Internal or externalBoth
Group or individualIndividual
Relates to learning outcomes1-4, 7, 8

Academic integrity

QUT is committed to maintaining high academic standards to protect the value of its qualifications. To assist you in assuring the academic integrity of your assessment you are encouraged to make use of the support materials and services available to help you consider and check your assessment items. Important information about the university's approach to academic integrity of assessment is on your unit Blackboard site.

A breach of academic integrity is regarded as Student Misconduct and can lead to the imposition of penalties.

Resource materials

Prescribed texts:
A Harland et al, Family Law Principles (Lawbook Co, 2nd ed, 2015)

Recommended references:
The Workbook will be used in the workshops as a focus for unit content and learning activities. You will be expected to complete the readings and activities and to prepare the Discussion Questions set out in the Workbook. There is also a Blackboard site for this unit, and readings will be provided on QUT Readings, subject to the limitations of copyright laws.

Relevant legislation:
Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)
Family Law Rules 2004 (Cth)
Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 (Cth)
Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988 (Cth)
Marriage Act 1961 (Cth)
Property Law Act 1974 (Qld)
Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 (Qld)
Child Protection Act 1999 (Qld)

Reference texts:
Australian Family Law Act 1975 with Regulations and Rules (CCH, 33nd ed, 2013)
P Parkinson, Australian Family Law in Context (Lawbook Co, 6th ed, 2015)
N Alexander and J Howieson, Negotiation: Strategy, Style and Skills (LexisNexis Butterworths, 3rd ed, 2015)
Laurence Boulle, Mediation: Principles, Process, Practice (LexisNexis Butterworths, 3rd ed, 2011)
Laurence Boulle and Nadja Alexandera, Mediation: Skills and Techniques (Lexis Nexis Butterworths, 2nd ed, 2012)
Anthony Dickey, Australian Family Law (Thomson Lawbook Co, 6th ed, 2014)
Belinda Fehlberg and Juliet Behrens, Australian Family Law: The Contemporary Context (Oxford University Press, 2nd ed, 2015)
Belinda Fehlberg and Juliet Behrens, Australian Family Law: The Contemporary Context Teaching Materials (Oxford University Press, 2nd ed, 2015)
Maree Livermore, Family Law Handbook (Lawbook Co, 4th ed, 2016)
Lisa Young et al, Family Law in Australia (LexisNexis Butterworths, 9th ed, 2016)
Linda Fisher and Mieke Brandon, Mediating with Families (Lawbook Co, 3rd ed, 2012)
Roger Fisher and William Ury with Bruce Patton (ed), Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (Penguin, 3rd ed, 2011)

Blackboard site
Online materials for the unit are available on the unit Blackboard site.

Risk assessment statement

There are no out-of-the-ordinary risks associated with this unit.

We provide activities and advice to high school students contemplating careers in law and justice. We offer interactive and educational activities to provide students with insights into legal and justice professions.

Our Gardens Point campus is located in the Brisbane CBD, so public transport is readily available.

Mock trial

In the mock trial, school students play the roles of judges, jurors, defendant and bailiff. Students will learn about court procedures, legal terminology and sections of the Queensland Criminal Code.

The mock trial is an interactive program that enables students to answer questions about court procedure and come to a conclusion as to the guilt or innocence of the accused.

This activity is recommended for students in Years 11 and 12.

Law Library workshops

The QUT Law Library is open to the public. We offer legal research talks and workshops to secondary schools to introduce students to university resources and facilities. Students can gain access to online information and receive tips and tricks from our knowledgeable librarians for researching legal assignments and exams.

The workshops are suitable for students in Years 11 and 12.


To enquire or book for schools, contact our Business Development Team.

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