LEGAL408-19A (HAM)

Family Law

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
Te Piringa - Faculty of Law
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Paper Description

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This paper focuses on the law, court procedure and social policies concerning family law. In particular issues concerning paternity, guardianship and parenting orders (care and contact), domestic violence, the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, care and protection of children by the Ministry for Children (Oranga Tamariki) and relationship property.

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Paper Structure

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This is an A semester paper. The teaching is done during one 2-hour lecture period per week. The whole class must attend these lectures. Attendance at lectures is essential for success in the internal assignment and the final examination. Outside of lectures there will be on average an hour of online activities for each lecture and additional background reading for each topic taught.

Te Piringa Faculty of Law places great emphasis on providing students with opportunities for high achievement in law papers.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • describe the applicable Family Court procedures and policy and within a factual context apply the relevant statutory and case law persuasively;
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • demonstrate an ability to research a family law topic and to then analyse the legal, policy, and social issues that arise.
    Linked to the following assessments:
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A formal three hour open book examination at the end of the semester.

The assignment (Opinion worth 30% and drafting worth 20%) will contribute to the development of legal research skills in the family law area and the practical application of that knowledge. It will allow students to appreciate current issues within family law practice and discuss the statutes, academic literature and important case law relevant to those issues.

The Final Examination (50%) will test students’ knowledge of the subject matter of the course. It will test skills involving opinion writing along with case and fact situation analyses.

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 50:50. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 50% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 50:50 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 50% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Assignment - Opinion
3 May 2019
12:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Assignment - Drafting Applications & Affidavits
3 May 2019
12:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Exam
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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All law students are required to purchase, for use in all law papers, a copy of McLay, Murray & Orpin, New Zealand Law Style Guide, 2nd edition, Thomson Reuters (2011). This is available from Bennetts, at an approximate price of $37 incl GST and

Henaghan, Atkin, Clarkson & Caldwell (Butterworths) Family Law in New Zealand 18th edition, LexisNexis (2017). This is available from Bennetts, at an approximate price of $130.00 incl GST.

In addition to the texts identified above, the Faculty of Law requires students purchase the course materials book for this paper. This is available from Waikato Print.

The contents of the course materials book(s) will be required reading. As well, students will be expected to have any relevant family law statutes dealt with in the course (e.g. the Care of Children Act 2004, Domestic Violence Act 1995, Oranga Tamariki Act 1989, Family Court Rules 2002, Property (Relationships) Act 1976).

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Recommended Readings

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The following recommended books are on Desk Reserve in the Library:

The New Zealand Family Law Journal

Bill Atkin and Mark Henaghan (eds) Family Law Policy in NZ 4th ed. Lexis Nexis 2013.

There are several web-sites which also contain relevant readings for this course:

NZ Ministry of Justice

NZ Family Court

NZ Law Commission

MInistry for Children, Oranga Tamariki

NZ Family Violence Clearinghouse

Minnesota Center against Violence and Abuse

National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges

The New Zealand Family Law Reports are found on the lexis nexis web-site.

The Family Reports of NZ are found on the Westlaw NZ web-site along with a large number of unreported Family Court cases (listed by month and year).

Further material may be provided on the paper site on Moodle (, the University of Waikato’s online learning system. Any such material is provided on the following terms:

University of Waikato owns the intellectual property rights, including copyright, in and to this site, or has acquired the necessary licenses to display the material on the site. As a student of the Te Piringa Faculty of Law, you are granted a limited license to use (access, display or print a single copy) the material from the papers in which you are enrolled for the purposes of participating in the paper only, provided the information is not modified. Materials may not under any circumstances be copied, stored, distributed or provided in any form or method whatsoever to any third party. Any other use of the material is prohibited. None of the material may be otherwise reproduced, reformatted, republished or re-disseminated in any manner or form without the prior written consent of University of Waikato. To obtain such consent, please contact the Te Piringa Faculty of Law.

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Online Support

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Online support for this paper is provided via Moodle.

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Students should expect to spend 150 hours in total on this paper. In addition to lecture attendance and provision of online tutorials and learning materials, significant time will need to be spent on background and complementary reading. Students should allow for periods of more-focused research time in the preparation of assignments.

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Linkages to Other Papers

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Prerequisite for the B Semester paper: LEGAL472-18B, Issues in Family Law.
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Restricted papers: LAWS408

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