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Making Family Law

A Socio Legal Account of Legislative Process in England and Wales, 1985 to 2010

By: Mavis Maclean, Jacek Kurczewski
Media of Making Family Law
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Published: 30-06-2011
Format: Hardback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 132
ISBN: 9781849462273
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Dimensions: 216 x 138 mm
RRP : £25.00
 

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Loren Epson

About Making Family Law

The legislative process is complex, encompassing a variety of aims and outcomes. Some norms and rules are embodied in law because we are simply expected by government to follow them. Others are there for entirely different reasons. A legislator may wish to send messages about what constitutes desirable behaviour, to demonstrate government's ability to deal with a local and short-term issue or to distract the electorate from other crises. Law is often, though not always, designed as a means to an end. Taking a sociological and empirically-based approach, this book offers a rare insight into the real processes by which lawmakers attempt to influence (or fail to influence) human behaviour.

This account of the legislative process in Westminster rests on the author's observations and discussion with key players from the standpoint of an academic adviser on research to the department responsible for family law-making (originally the Lord Chancellor's department, then the Department for Constitutional Affairs and now the Ministry of Justice) and draws on her longstanding involvement in and knowledge of the processes of law-making. Documenting the little understood processes that occur in Whitehall, in particular how ministers, advisers and officials work together, it reveals a quite different picture from that of the rational lawmaker imagined in textbooks. Instead what emerges is an empirically-based view of the aims and functions of statute law including the different forms and relevance of symbolic legislation and a realistic view of what law aims to accomplish and what can be done in practice.

Table Of Contents

1. Introduction
What is Law-making?
Who Makes Law?
The Purpose and Limitation of Law-making
The Legislative Context
Anglo-Polish Comparisons
Case Studies in the Reform of English Family Law, 1829–2009
What Constitutes Legislative Success?
2. Successful Codification: The Making of the Children Act (England and Wales) 1989
Public and Private Family Law
The Children Act (England and Wales) 1989
Concluding Observations
3. Prime Ministerial Intervention: The Child Support Act 1991
Background
The Development of the Child Support Act
The Content of the Child Support Bill
Passage of the Act
Looking Back at the Child Support Act
4. Campaigns and Tactics: Batman and Robin and the Children Adoption Act 2006
Background
5. Opening up the Family Courts: The Media, the Ministry and the Children, Schools and Families Act 2010
Background
The Consultation Processes
Detailed Policy Work: Moving Slowly Forward
Progress?
A Success?
6. Reflections
Introduction
Barriers to Achieving Effective Legislation
Limitations on the Effectiveness of Legislative Change when the Process has been Completed
Challenges to Legislative Change
Adaptation to Legislation and Normative Change over Time
From Social Problem to Law
How Much New Law Do We Need?

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