• Class Number 4641
  • Term Code 3250
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online or In Person
    • Dr Anne Macduff
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 14/06/2022
  • Class End Date 22/07/2022
  • Census Date 01/07/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 15/06/2022
SELT Survey Results

The course is designed to equip students with the theoretical and practical knowledge to take a considered position on family law issues.  The course covers the following areas of family law:

violence and abuse in families;
decision-making about parenting after separation;
economic aspects of marriage; and
de-facto relationship breakdown.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. evaluate key principles of family law and be able to cite the relevant legislative provisions and case law appropriately;
  2. construct an accurate written advice that provides a solution to a complex hypothetical family law problem, with intellectual independence;
  3. evaluate key aspects of family law and selected secondary academic literature about family law and its reforms covered in this course;
  4. Undertake family law research and present findings using a variety of materials and sources
  5. Define a range of perspectives that are relevant to family law and critically examine (in written and oral form) the law from those perspectives;
  6. Implement and evaluate project management techniques, and approaches to collaborative learning and communicate ideas to a variety of audiences
  7. Reflect upon your learning in the course, your own values, the values underlying the family law system, and the differences between family law and practice in other legal areas.

Research-Led Teaching

Anne Macduff's research uses critical theory to generate new perspectives in a variety of legal areas, including public law such as citizenship law, but also at the intersection of public and private law, including Family Law. Anne is also a qualified mediator. For her list of publications, see https://researchers.anu.edu.au/researchers/macduff-a.

Field Trips

Outside of the course, students may find it useful to their learning to attend a Family Court hearing either before, during or after the course. Further information will be given to students who wish to avail themselves of this opportunity, in order to book a time so that there is no risk that the court becomes overcrowded with students.

Examination Material or equipment

Students may find it useful to have access to a calculator for the Online Test (i.e. the calculator can not be on a phone or other electronic device). But this is not a requirement.

Required Resources

The recommended textbook is Lisa Young et al, Family Law in Australia (10th edition, Lexis Nexis, 2020).

Students should also ensure that they have access to a current version of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).

Any references to recommended reading will be provided on Wattle, including any useful cases.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Other Information

Task submission times refer to Canberra time (AEST/AEDT).

Extensions, late submission and penalties: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/extensions-late-submission-and-penalties

Deferred examination: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/deferred-examinations

Special consideration: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/special-assessment-consideration

Penalties for excess word length: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/word-length-and-excess-word-penalties

Distribution of Grades Policy: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/grading

Further information about the course: is available from the course WATTLE page. Students are required to access the WATTLE site regularly throughout the course for any announcements relating to the course.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Pre-recorded Lecture (2 hours) (Introduction, Background, Constitutional Framework) Tuesday 14 June Live Lecture: 1-3 pm (Families, Family Violence, and Relationship Recognition) Tuesday 14 June: In person Workshop #1: 3-5 pm (Family and Reflection)
2 Wednesday 15 June Live Lecture: 1-3 pm (Mediation, Children's Rights, Children's Development) Wednesday 15 June: Online Workshop #2: 3 -5 pm (Mediation and Mediation skills)
3 Thursday 16 June Live Lecture: 1-3 pm (Children's Orders: Legislative Framework) Thursday 16 June Online Workshop #3: 3- 5 pm (Children's scenario) Friday 17 June: Optional Online Test 0%
4 Pre-recorded Lecture (2 hours) (Divorce/ Separation) Tuesday 21 June Live Lecture: 1-3 pm (Children's Orders: s60CC FLA) Tuesday 21 June Online Workshop #5: 3- 5 pm (Children's scenario)
5 Wednesday 22 June Live Lecture: 1-3 pm (Property Orders: Background, Stanford and Stages 1 and 2) Wednesday 22 June Online Workshop #6: 3- 5 pm (Property scenario)
6 Thursday 23 June Live Lecture: 1-3 pm (Property Orders: Stages 3, 4) Thursday 23 June Online Workshop #7: 3-5 pm (Property scenario)
7 Friday 24 June In person Workshop #4: 1-3 pm. This workshop is a mediation simulation based on a property scenario.
8 Monday 27 June In person Workshop #8: 4-6 pm (TBC) Advocacy Workshop with Family Law Practitioners.
9 Tuesday 28 June Live Lecture 1-3 pm (Guest lectures on selected topics: TBA) Online Workshop #9: 3-5 pm (Research)
10 Wednesday 29 June In person Workshop #10: 1-3 pm Wednesday 29 June Live Guest Lecture 3-5 pm Justice Gill (TBC)
11 Thursday 30 June In person Workshop #11: 1-3 pm (Test Revision) Thursday 30 June Live Guest Lecture 3pm-5 pm Prof Richard Chisholm (TBC) Friday 1 July: Optional Moot 10%

Tutorial Registration

There are 11 workshops in this course. All but two of the workshops will be held directly after the lecture. Two workshops will be scheduled on a separate day. Please see the timetable below. There is no need to register for the workshops, as all workshops are open to all students. Just come along. Please note that there is an attendance requirement and students will be expected to attend the minimum number of the workshops (5 of 11). At least 6 workshops will be online, so if you are unable to attend the course in person you may still complete the attendance requirement. If you miss more than 6 workshops, a penalty may apply. For more information about the attendance requirement, see more information in the assessment details below. Due to the sensitive content discussed during the in-person workshops, they WILL NOT be recorded. Online workshops will be recorded.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Online Quiz 0 % 17/06/2022 20/06/2022 1,3
Workshop Participation 0 % * 07/07/2022 1,2,3,5,7
Online Test 50 % 05/07/2022 18/07/2022 1,2,3,4
Research Task - Law Reform Written 50 % 21/07/2022 10/08/2022 1,3,5,6
Optional Reflection 10 % 18/07/2022 10/08/2022 7
Optional Moot 10 % 01/07/2022 04/07/2022 1,2,5,6

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines , which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Integrity Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Skills website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


For all courses taught in any mode (whether face to face or online), the ANU College of Law considers participation in the classes offered to be an important part of the educational experience of the program. Students are expected to attend all classes.

If circumstances arise which are beyond a student’s control and they are unable to attend a class, the student should contact the Course Convenor in advance (where possible), so that the convenor can adjust their expectations in relation to numbers for that class. If it is not possible to give advance notice, students should send the convenor an email as soon as possible with evidence to support the reason for failure to attend.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 0 %
Due Date: 17/06/2022
Return of Assessment: 20/06/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,3

Online Quiz

Details of Task: This is a multiple choice quiz designed to assist students to review their understanding of some of the basic concepts taught in the first week of class. Some of the multiple-choice questions may involve applying the law to the facts in relation to a hypothetical scenario. This task will provide formative feedback at least halfway through the course.

Nature of Task: Optional. There is no consequence for not completing the quiz, however it will be a missed opportunity for early feedback.

Weighting: 0%

Release: 8:00 pm on Friday 17 June via Wattle course site.

Due date: 8:30 pm on Friday 17 June via Wattle course site. Due to the optional nature of the task, no late submissions will be accepted. There will not be another chance to complete the quiz.

Duration: 30 minutes

Estimated return date: Monday 20 June

Assessment Criteria:

  • Accuracy in identifying and explaining key family law principles
  • Accuracy in identifying family law issues arising from a set of facts
  • Accuracy in applying family law principles to a hypothetical scenarios

Assessment Task 2

Value: 0 %
Return of Assessment: 07/07/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,5,7

Workshop Participation

Details of Task: There are a total of 11 workshops in this course. Workshops are designed to assist students to practice applying the concepts and principles covered in the lectures. They are practical and will be interactive. There are 6 online (zoom) workshops, and 5 in person workshops. Students should come prepared so that they can get the most out of these activities. Participation in the workshops is particularly important given the intensive nature of the course and will assist you to keep on top of the material. In the past, the more that students have engaged in workshops, the more they have enjoyed the course and understood the material. However, some flexibility is built into the attendance requirement. Of the 11 workshops, you may miss a maximum of 7 workshops for no reason and with no penalty.

Attendance will be recorded through the use of a QR code. It is your responsibility to ensure that you sign in using the QR code which will be displayed at some time during the workshop. Leaving early or arriving late may mean that your attendance for that workshop is not counted. The list of names generated by the QR code will be the only evidence of attendance that will be accepted. Although online workshops will be recorded, in person workshops are not recorded due to their sensitive nature. Any materials distributed during either the in person or online workshops will be distributed and made available to all students via the course wattle site shortly afterwards. If you are unwell or unable to attend a workshop due to an exceptional reason, please ensure that you collect any appropriate documentation at the time. You will not need to supply this information unless it turns out you miss more than 7 workshops.

Nature of Task: Compulsory and not redeemable.

Weighting: Failure to attend a minimum of 4 out of 11 workshops will result in a 5 mark penalty applied to the student's overall course result.

Release: Ongoing

Due date: Ongoing

Estimated return date: Students to whom the 5 mark penalty applies will be sent an email on or before 7 July to their ANU student email. This will be the opportunity to provide any documentation collected in order to provide an explanation for absences.

Assessment Criteria:

The activities in the workshops will give students opportunities to engage with and practice nearly all of the learning outcomes in the course; although primarily in oral form.

  • Practise describe, discuss, explain, analyse and critique key principles of family law;
  • Apply family law creatively and with initiative to develop advice that provides a solution to a complex hypothetical family law problem;
  • Locate, describe, apply and critically evaluate key aspects of family law and selected secondary academic literature about family law and its reforms covered in this course;
  • Outline, summarise and analyse a range of perspectives that are relevant to family law and critically examine (in oral form) the law from those perspectives;
  • Acquire experience in project management, collaborative learning and demonstrate personal and communication skills to function effectively in small groups comprising a variety of participants/audiences;
  • Reflect coherently upon your learning in the course, your own values, the values underlying the family law system, and the differences between family law and practice in other legal areas.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 05/07/2022
Return of Assessment: 18/07/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Online Test

Details of Task: The online test will involve a hypothetical family law problem scenario. It will require students to be able to apply the substantive legal rules covered in the entire course, including guest lectures. There will be two parts. Part A will be a multiple choice quiz (worth 20%). Part B will involve longer written answers (30%).

Nature of Task: Compulsory. Failure to participate will result in 0 marks for this task.

Weighting: 50%

Release of Problem Scenario: Tuesday 5 July 4:30pm

Release of Questions: Tuesday 5 July 5pm

Due date: Tuesday 5 July 7pm. If you experience unavoidable and extenuating circumstances and cannot sit the online test at the due date and time, you should apply for an extension to the ANU College of Law student admin team here: https://law.anu.edu.au/forms/assessment-extension-request. The College will give you one opportunity to sit the online test, at the same time one week later. This will be your final opportunity to sit the online test. As this is not a centrally managed examination, students will need to apply for an extension NOT a deferred examination.

Important Note: Unlike examinations timetabled in the university formal examination period, EAP adjustments are not automatically applied to online quizzes, tests and take-home assignments and it is the student’s responsibility to apply for time adjustments.

Duration: 2 hours total for both Part A and Part B. Once you log into the assessment, you will have 2 hours to complete it. The quiz will finish automatically after 2 hours and any open attempts will automatically close and be submitted by the due date and time so please allow sufficient time to complete both components of the test.

Word limit: There is no word limit. However, succinctness will be rewarded and excess and unnecessary words will be penalised. As a guide, a thorough answer can be provided in 800 - 1,000 words.

Estimated return date: Monday 18 July. Any feedback on key principles and provisions should be applied, where appropriate, to the law reform submission task.

Assessment Criteria:

  • Identification of legal issues raised by the question
  • Identification of relevant legal principles to address the legal issues raised
  • Accuracy of the explanation of the relevant legal rules 
  • Consistent and accurate citation of the relevant legal rules (full citations not required)
  • Application of legal principles to facts, including appropriate depth taking into account whether the issue is contentious or not 
  • Legal analysis is persuasive and clearly supports the conclusions reached
  • Coherence- written expression
  • Coherence – structure
  • Time management - coverage of issues
  • Succinctness of expression (and avoidance of irrelevant issues)

Assessment Task 4

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 21/07/2022
Return of Assessment: 10/08/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,5,6

Research Task - Law Reform Written

Details of Task: This is an individual task. You will be asked to write a 3,000-word submission to a hypothetical inquiry addressing one of a number of 'terms of reference' that will be given to you. You will be expected to go beyond the required and recommended readings in this course, read about your topic in considerable depth, and synthesize this information into an argument for Law Reform in an area of Family Law.

Nature of Task: Compulsory. Failure to submit will result in a 0 for this task.

Weighting: 50%

Word limit: 3,000 words. The ANU College of Law excess word penalty will apply for excess words.

Release: Friday 17 June 2022.

Due date: 5pm Thursday 21 July 2022. Late submissions without an extension will be accepted, although a late penalty will apply.

Estimated return date: Monday 8 August 2022 via the Course Wattle site.

Assessment Criteria:

The task will be assessed based on the following criteria:

  • Clear identification of the problem/ issue that the submission addresses, with links clearly made to a 'term of reference'
  • The submission draws on a range of appropriate primary (cases, legislation) and secondary academic (journal articles, books, studies) material which MUST go beyond the material covered in the course. Citing other inquiry submissions in support of facts claimed will not be sufficient.
  • The legal content (primary and secondary materials) is relevant, accurate and clearly explained in appropriate depth for the claims made
  • Recommendation/s for law reform are clear and well supported by the argument made in the submission
  • Research/ Evidence used is relevant and credible, not mere opinion or assertion
  • Appropriately structured and logical presentation, tailored to suit the format of a inquiry
  • Expression that is clear and appropriate throughout the submission
  • Appropriate use of academic conventions

Assessment Task 5

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 18/07/2022
Return of Assessment: 10/08/2022
Learning Outcomes: 7

Optional Reflection

Details of Task: Students may submit a reflection on an experience that occurred during the course. Please be aware that there are different types of reflection tasks, and just because you have done one in another course, this one is very likely going to be different. It is critical in learning any area of law and in legal practice to be aware of your emotions and your values, but particularly in family law. Do not be fooled into thinking that this assessment task is 'easy marks'.

This is not a 'dear diary' exercise, and merely describing an event will not be sufficient to achieve a pass mark for this task. More details, a template and some examples will be provided to the class to assist those interested in submitting this assessment piece. The first workshop will also allow students to have a practice attempt at a reflection task. Participation in this first workshop is strongly recommended for anyone who is thinking of submitting this assessment task.

Nature of Task: Optional. If students choose to submit this task, it will reduce the weighting for their online test by 10%.

Weighting: 10%

Word limit: 500 words. The ANU College of Law excess word penalty will apply for excess words.

Release: Friday 17 June 2022.

Due date: 5pm Monday 18 July 2022 via Wattle dropbox (ie NOT Turnitin). Late submissions without an extension will be accepted, although a late penalty will apply.

Estimated return date: Monday 8 August.

Assessment Criteria:

  • Appropriate example/ illustration is chosen for the reflection (well focused and narrowed) to highlight the role that one's own values influenced learning in the course (Appropriate examples might include; reflecting on one part of feedback given to you in class, or on issues raised during a visit to the Family Court if you attended one).
  • A description of your emotional response to a particular event and an explanation of how the emotion reveals something about your values.
  • Ability to describe the event from different perspectives and possibilities, and how this might reflect different or values.
  • Demonstrates personal insight and responsibility for learning and growth arising from awareness of self and others around an event (analysis).
  • Clarity of expression (style).

Assessment Task 6

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 01/07/2022
Return of Assessment: 04/07/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,5,6

Optional Moot

Details of Task: Students may participate in a moot. Each moot team will consist of 2 students. Together, you will prepare your written submissions to a problem scenario and argue your case orally. Students may choose between them who will speak. If you are interested in doing the moot, you must sign up before Monday 29 June 9am. You may sign up as a team, or we will place you in a team. There is a cap of 20 students. After 30 June 9am, you cannot withdraw from the task.

Nature of Task: Optional. Once students sign up to participate in this task, then the weighting for the online test will be reduced by 10%. If students sign up, but do not complete the task an cannot provide documentation with an extenuating reason, then they will receive 0 for this task.

Weighting: 10%

Duration: Each moot will last for 1 hour. Each team will have 20 minutes to make submissions.

Release: Friday 17 June 2022.

Due date: Friday 1 July 5-6pm. If you cannot participate at this time, there is no opportunity to complete the task at a later date.

Estimated return date: Monday 4 July.

Assessment Criteria: TBA

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item.
  • Late submission is not accepted for tests or examinations.
  • Late submission with an extension. To ensure equity for all students, the 5% penalty per working day for late submission of work does not apply if you have been given an extension. Where an extension is granted, the revised due date and submission time is provided in writing. Please note that the revised due date is calculated by including weekends and public holidays. Regardless of which day of the week the revised due date falls on, students who submit after that date are penalised by 5% of the possible marks available for the assessment task per day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item.

Referencing Requirements

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

Returning Assignments

All assignments will be returned via Wattle.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Anne Macduff
+61 2 6125 0685

Research Interests

Critical Legal Theory, Gender and the Law, Citizenship, Family Law, Mediation, Law Reform and Social Justice

Dr Anne Macduff

By Appointment

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions