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  • Continuing Evolution of Family Law, The
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Continuing Evolution of Family Law, The


Essential reading for all involved in the study and practice of family law

Paperback i

Book printed softcover

The Continuing Evolution of Family Law brings together the papers from two one-day conferences held at Cardiff Law School during the academic year 2007/08 to mark the 150th anniversary of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1857 and the 50th anniversary of Graveson and Crane's edited book, A Century of Family Law. The papers, delivered by leading scholars and practitioners, both reflect upon past developments in family law and look forward to the future, thereby providing an informed basis for understanding the continuing evolution of the law and policy in this area.
  • The Continuing Evolution of Family Law
  • The Troublemakers: Cranks, Psychiatrists and other Mischievous Nuisances - their Role in Reform of English Family Law in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
  • Looking Back on the Overlooked: Cohabitants and the Law 1857-2007
  • Removing Children from their Families - Law and Policy before the Children Act 1989
  • Cultural Change and the Family Justice System
  • Fifty Years of Family Law: an Opinionated Review
  • Law, Family and Community
  • The Future of Marriage
  • The Future for Ancillary Relief
  • Caring for our Future Generations
  • The Future of Welfare Law for Children
  • Where in the World is International Family Law Going Next?
"entertaining and well-written ... Why is this book good for the practitioner? You have an overview in each chapter of the development and issues of the sub-topic and the book in its entirety provides a 'meaty' perspective on family law right now ... If you are into family law I suggest you need to get into this book"

Family Law
The catalyst for this volume of essays was the 150th anniversary of the enactment of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1857 and the 50th anniversary of the publication of one of the first books avowedly about ‘family law’, A Century of Family Law edited by R M Graveson and R Crane and published in 1957. These two milestones in family law and family law scholarship provided an opportunity to bring together in two one-day conferences at Cardiff University, during the academic year 2007/08,
leading scholars and members of the judiciary to take stock of the current position, to reflect on developments and to indulge in some speculation about how the law might develop in the future.

We were fortunate indeed to attract to Cardiff many of the leading luminaries of the family law world in England and Wales, as our list of contributors to this work demonstrates. In the first of the conferences the speakers were asked to reflect upon past developments, while in the second the speakers were asked to ‘look forward’.

Although each speaker was allocated a broad topic, it was a matter for their individual choice what particular aspect(s) would be discussed and over what period. In this latter regard, some of the reflective papers looked back over 150 years, but others concentrated upon the last half-century. Correspondingly, those looking forward sometimes concentrated on the more immediate future, while others attempted to look further ahead.

In the result, the papers provide the collective thoughts of experienced academics and practitioners on a variety of issues from a variety of perspectives. In addition to those papers the opening chapter, written by the organisers, identifies and discusses some general overall themes touched upon by the invited speakers, and others that were not covered by them.

We hope that the book will promote a general understanding and appreciation of the continuing evolution of family law and, if it is not too immodest a hope, to provide a work that will stand the test of time such that, like A Century of Family Law, it will be used as a reference point in any review in 50 years’ time. In any event, the book should be of interest to both those studying and practising Family Law. 

We would like to express our gratitude to a number of people, not least the President of the Family Division, Sir Mark Potter, for writing the Foreword; to Sharon Witherspoon, Deputy Director of the Nuffield Foundation (which institution has played no small part in promoting research into family issues) for chairing the March conference; to Jordans and Greg Woodgate in particular, both for helping to sponsor the conferences and for publishing this book; to Dawn Morgan, Julia McCarthy and Steve Dyer, all of Cardiff Law School, who provided invaluable help in the administration of the conferences, and to the Law School Research Committee, for providing funds to help support the

Gillian Douglas
Nigel Lowe

Cardiff Law School
St Dwynwen’s Day, 25 January 2009
I was fortunate enough to attend the ‘Looking Back – Looking Forward’ conference organised and hosted at Cardiff University during the academic year 2007–2008 by Professors Gillian Douglas and Nigel Lowe. It was a wide-ranging and fascinating conference, with speakers from the highest echelons of research, academia and practice in the field of family law.

Following the success of the conference, the two Professors are to be congratulated for bringing together the speakers’ papers in this comprehensive publication, The Continuing Evolution of Family Law. Taken together, the papers explore a range of historic and thematic perspectives in the development of family law, both to explain how we have reached our present child focused system and to provide an informed basis for consideration of the future of family justice.

Each of the chapters is free-standing and will be enjoyed as an authoritative and in-depth consideration of a particular strand in the fabric of family law. The Editors’ introduction skilfully brings these strands together, pointing the reader to the major influences in the evolution of the socio-legal system in which family lawyers now practice.

I welcome this publication and join with the Editors in their hope that it will promote a general understanding and appreciation of their subject. It will surely fulfill their intention to provide a reference point in 50 years’ time for those concerned to examine a further half century of the law’s response to social change.

Sir Mark Potter
President of the Family Division
March 2009
Elizabeth Cooke
Stephen Cretney
Gillian Douglas
John Eekelaar
Michael Freeman
The Rt Hon Baroness Hale of Richmond
Mary Hayes
Nigel Lowe
Judith Masson
Marvyn Murch
Rebecca Probert
Richard White

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