LAWS309-22S1 (C) Semester One 2022

Child and Family Law

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 21 February 2022
End Date: Sunday, 26 June 2022
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 6 March 2022
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 15 May 2022


The course aims to provide a sound academic grounding in key areas of Child and Family Law, including Dispute Resolution, Guardianship, Parenting Orders, Child Abduction, Child Abuse and Domestic Violence.

This course provides a general introduction to family law in Aotearoa New Zealand. Family law is a core part of general legal practice, as well as being a speciality practice area. Even if you do not wish to become a family lawyer, all lawyers are expected to have a working understanding of basic family law issues and to be able to provide legal advice to individuals from a range of diverse family backgrounds. Such knowledge may also be helpful in your current or future lives.

The purpose of this course is to develop your understanding of the key legislation and case law necessary to resolve complex multi-issue family law disputes and critically examine issues of principle and policy raised by Aotearoa New Zealand’s current child and family law framework and its operation in practice. To this end, Child and Family Law provides an overview of the family justice system and focuses on several key topics such as adult relationships, the different ways to become a parent, parenting orders and other disputes between parents, family violence, care and protection, and family law practice. These topics illuminate the growing diversity of families in Aotearoa New Zealand and the importance of Māori understandings of whānau and whakapapa.

Learning Outcomes

  • The aims of this course are to enable students to:

  • Understand, explain, and apply the relevant legislative frameworks and common law principles for a number of child law and family law issues in Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • Critically examine issues of principle and policy raised by Aotearoa New Zealand’s current child and family law framework and its operation in practice.
  • Locate, evaluate, and critically engage with the primary and secondary sources relating to child and family law in Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • Identify and articulate issues arising in a multi-issue child and family law problem.
  • Apply legal reasoning to generate suitable responses to issues arising in a multi-issue child and family law problem and, if appropriate, make a reasoned choice amongst alternative responses and/or exercise professional judgment.
  • Further their knowledge of Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi) and, in particular, issues arising in relation to colonisation and Māori conceptions of whānau and whakapapa.
  • Place Aotearoa New Zealand’s child and family law regimes within the international family law context.

    The course also aims to develop students’ general legal writing skills, including legal analysis and critical reasoning. In particular, it aims to develop students’ capacity to:
  • Read and interpret legislation.
  • Read and analyse cases.
  • Solve problems using reasoned analysis.
  • Argue clearly and persuasively.
  • Critically evaluate existing legal principles.
  • Carry out independent research.
  • Produce written work in accordance with the New Zealand Law Style Guide.
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

      Biculturally competent and confident

      Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.

      Engaged with the community

      Students will have observed and understood a culture within a community by reflecting on their own performance and experiences within that community.




Timetable 2022

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 16:00 - 18:00 K1 Lecture Theatre
21 Feb - 10 Apr
2 May - 5 Jun

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Ruth Ballantyne


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Online Quiz 25 Mar 2022 5%
Essay 08 Apr 2022 35%
Final Exam 60%

The assessment will be confirmed in the first week of lectures.

Textbooks / Resources

There is no set texts for this course. You will be expected to read relevant sections of statutes and the cases, journal articles, and book chapters.  These will be provided for you on LEARN.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $845.00

International fee $4,313.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Faculty of Law .

All LAWS309 Occurrences

  • LAWS309-22S1 (C) Semester One 2022