Members of the Faculty of Law can access full course details and documentation via: www.vle.cam.ac.uk/login/index.php
For information about undertaking doctoral research in family law, go to the “opportunities” page
All members of the Centre are heavily involved in delivering the wide range of family law related courses offered by the Faculty of Law to undergraduate and postgraduate students:
LLM Comparative Family Law and Policy
Taught principally by way of interactive, weekly two-hour seminars, this course offers LLM students the opportunity to study the principles and policies underlying modern family law at an advanced level across a wider range of adult and child related issues than can be accommodated in the undergraduate syllabus. A comparative approach is adopted throughout and the increasingly relevant international dimension in family law is also explored, particularly in relation to cross-border surrogacy and adoption. The course aims to situate family law in its wider social context and students are encouraged to reflect critically on the policies underpinning the law and its real world impact. The course is sufficiently flexible to allow attention to be given to issues of immediate relevance or particular topical interest, supported by guest lectures from Centre visitors. Most students elect to sit the summer examination, but may alternatively choose to write an 18,000 word dissertation on a topic of their choosing within the scope of the course. The Mills and Reeve Prize is awarded to the top student or students in the summer examination.
Family Law: undergraduate
Family Law is an optional course available to both second and third year undergraduate students, taught by a conventional series of lectures with corresponding supervisions throughout the year. The course aims to provide an overview of several core adult and child related family law topics; to encourage an enquiring and critical approach to family law; and to consider broader policy issues and the possibilities of law reform in the area. The John Hall prize is awarded to the top student or students in the summer examination.
Family in Society: undergraduate dissertation option
Family in Society is a final year undergraduate dissertation option in which students elect to write a 12,000 word thesis on a topic of their choosing that falls within the broad remit of the course. In addition to meeting with the supervisor to discuss their progress, students gain the opportunity to develop their presentation skills, by being required to lead a one-hour seminar on their topic with their fellow students during the year. Past issues addressed by students have included “hot topics” of the time (such as pre-nuptial agreements, financial remedies for cohabitants, opposite-sex civil partnership, the status of unmarried fathers in law), and a range of issues which either fall outside the scope of the undergraduate Family Law paper or which can only be treated briefly in that context (such as the problem of Jewish divorce, the ethics of creating “saviour siblings”, and dilemmas in international surrogacy). Students are encouraged where appropriate to extend their research beyond domestic doctrinal materials to include qualitative and quantitative social research and statistical data, governmental and policy documents, and comparative material.
Other courses regularly taught by Centre Members elsewhere
Comparative Family Law –University of Hong Kong, annually in September: in his capacity as Cheng Yu Tung Visiting Professor in Law, Scherpe teaches one or two courses on ‘Comparative Family Law’ at the University of Hong Kong each September as LLM and undergraduate options. Like the Cambridge LLM course, the courses in Hong Kong are designed to be interactive and explore family law issues in a comparative and international context. Topics covered usually include property and maintenance on divorce; the grounds for divorce; the legal status of cohabitants; legal regulation of adult relationships and changing family constructs; marital agreements (i.e. pre-nuptial, post-nuptial and separation agreement), the relevance of gender in family law and changing one's legal gender; parenthood and parental responsibility. All topics are covered from a comparative perspective. The courses will be of interest to students and practitioners wanting to acquire an up-to-date understanding of current policy and issues in family law around the world and anyone with an interest in family law, comparative law and social policy.