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Vol 23 No 3 March/April 2018

Book of the Month

Cover of Scamell and Gasztowicz on Land Covenants

Scamell and Gasztowicz on Land Covenants

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Making Family Law: A Socio Legal Account of the Legislative Process in England and Wales, 1985 to 2010

ISBN13: 9781849462273
Published: June 2011
Publisher: Hart Publishing
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £20.00

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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, or 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 law-makers 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 long-standing involvement in, and knowledge of, the processes of law-making.

Documenting the little understood processes which occur in Whitehall, and in particular how ministers, advisers and officials work together, it reveals a quite different picture from that of the rational law-maker imagined in textbooks.

Family Law
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
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
The Consultation Processes
Detailed Policy Work: Moving Slowly Forward Progress?
A Success?
6. Reflections
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 F
rom Social Problem to Law How Much New Law Do We Need?