The aim of this module is to provide the student with a sound understanding of the existing legal provisions dealing with the parent-child relationship under English Law. The module places particular emphasis on the challenges raised by the changing nature of family life in contemporary society. The legal complications arising from advances in reproductive technology, concern over the role of fathers, the demise of the traditional nuclear family, the increasing fluidity of family forms, the role of the state as parent, and the 'internationalisation' of family life are all examined. A recurring theme of the module is whether the law has responded adequately to the increasing diversity in family life, with particular reference to the arguments raised by those, such as fathers and same-sex couples, who believe that the current law works unfairly against them.
Topics covered include: (i) rights vs welfare - underlying principles in the law relating to children; (ii) parenthood (including 'becoming a parent' through assisted reproduction); (iii) parental responsibility; (iv) private law residence and contact disputes; (v) relocation disputes; (vi) international child abduction; (vii) child protection; and (viii) domestic and international adoption.