Family Law


An introduction to the legal principles governing family relationships and their breakdown, children and parenthood in Scotland.


The aim of this Module is to examine the key legal principles governing family relationships and their breakdown, children and parenthood in Scotland.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Define and analyse the requirements for a valid marriage or civil partnership.

2.  Explain and discuss the legal rights of spouses, civil partners and cohabitants to property brought into and acquired during the relationship.

3.  Explain and discuss the legal rights, duties and obligations which arise as a result of the legal relationship between parents and their children.

4.  Identify the grounds of divorce and dissolution and understand the statutory legal principles governing the division of property on relationship breakdown.

5.  Demonstrate skills of comprehension and application of legal principles, negotiation and reflection.

Indicative Content

1 Parent and Child

Parental responsibilities and rights; adoption; local authority intervention; human rights of family members.

2 Marriage and Civil Partnership

Regular and irregular marriage; Same sex marriage; validity of civil and religious marriages; prohibitions and legal impediments to marriage; void and voidable marriages. Civil Partnerships and Gender Recognition.

3 Rights Arising out of Marriage and Civil Partnership

Aliment, separate property rights.

4 Family Homes and Family Protection

Occupancy rights of spouses, civil partners and cohabitants, exclusion orders.

5 Relationship Breakdown

Grounds in divorce & dissolution actions. Division of property on relationship breakdown including financial provision, property transfer orders and decrees regulating occupancy rights.

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

This module is delivered through lectures and tutorials.This includes a programme of visiting family law professionals [family law solicitors, family mediation professionals and social workers]. Students engage with these visiting lecturers in discussions and contextualising their learning with real life situations. Students will take part in professional role play through negotiation exercises, carry out literature searches and negotiations in tutorials. This will be supported with software. Students will engage with an electronic personal development planning and portfolio system to facilitate their learning and develop as reflective learners and practitioners. Students will meet with the module tutor to discuss the negotiation exercise and will be provided with feedback on how they might tackle the exercise in 'get out of jail' meetings.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 26
Tutorial/Seminar 13
Supervised Practical Activity 0
Unsupervised Practical Activity 0
Assessment 40
Independent 121

Guidance notes

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2019/20 , and may be subject to change for future years.