Family Court Project

Module summary

Module code: LAW1244
Level: 6
Credits: 30
School: Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department: Law and Criminology
Module Coordinator(s): Farhana Begum

Specification

Aims

The aim of this course is to provide students with direct practical legal court experience through real life legal problems and cases in law at a family court. Through the course the student will be able to critically appraise and evaluate which areas of the law are needed in assisting a client/litigant at court, as well as reflecting and applying civil procedure and family procedure rules. Students will also be provided with the opportunity to analyse and reflect on real life court documents which will enhance their understanding of litigation and the general manner of professional legal documents. The student will also be able to reflect and critically examine which avenues of research are needed to explore the different areas of family law and dispute resolution areas of the law in which they will be working on. This experience of using the skills in a practical legal environment will be directly transferable to future employment. The course has the skills set of interaction with clients/litigants, judges, legally qualified lawyers and other partners. Students will undertake some of the tasks common to a trainee lawyer in practice and such experience will count as valid legal experience of the two-year requisite work experience to be a solicitor. It is widely recognised that there is a gap between the theory of law and realities of law in practice, and with the abolition of the Legal Practice Course this course will fill the gap of teaching students’ legal practical knowledge/experience in the context of litigation. This course will aim to bridge that gap, and, challenge students to reflect and look more critically at what they understand about the law in practice.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:
1 Demonstrate they have practical legal experience
2 Demonstrate knowledge of a substantial range of legal issues
3 Access information and material from various different legal sources including public bodies and outside organisations
4 Make a critical judgement of the merits of particular legal arguments
5 Demonstrate the ability to distinguish between the relevant and irrelevant when dealing with legal evidence
6 Demonstrate the ability to undertake independent research in areas of law, some of which they may not have studied before

Indicative content

The indicative content will vary according to the case the student will be working on and the needs of a litigant. Therefore, this can include, but is not limited to:
 Note-taking
 Problem solving skills
 Communication: with litigants, court staff, judges and solicitors and barristers
 Attending CAFCASS meetings and negotiation discussions or conferences.
 Office procedure
 Key dates & diary management
 Compliance, use of manual and specific handbooks
 Case management, incl. evidence, merits, negotiation
 File management
 Advocacy principles and the rules regarding preparation for hearings
 Preparing for litigant interviews, conducting interviews, post-interview action, incl. communication & sensitivity to litigants
 Drafting legal documents
 Diagnosis and prioritisation of issues
 Client care standards
 Legal research
 Teamwork

Students will also be required to research and write an extended essay based on access to justice in family law, complete a reflective diary and 4 pieces of work.

Teaching and learning activity

Training workshops
Guided independent study
Participation in a legally recognised scheme

Assessment

Journal: 25% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4.
Word Length: 2000 words.
Outline Details: A journal demonstrating legal knowledge, procedural knowledge and a skill learnt during the course.

Essay: 50% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 4, 5 & 6.
Word Length: 2000 words.
Outline Details: A reflective and critical essay which is centred around legal or procedural topics which the student has learnt about during their time on the course.

Practical: 25% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5.
Outline Details: This is an observational assessment (clinical practice), whereby students are assessed according to their performance at court.

Nature of FORMATIVE assessment supporting student learning:
Students will be assessed on their form filling ability, their performance and attitude/engagement in the course. They will receive feedback using a mixture of methods each week but by the end of Term 1 they will be given formal written feedback on their efforts at court.