Course Overview

The course is suitable for persons seeking to develop an understanding of families through a legal and sociological lens.

Learners will be introduced to key legal concepts in family law such as marriage formation, family diversity, separation, divorce and ancillary relief.

Learners will also be equipped with a sociological perspective on the role of the family in society.

Course Modules

The course will be delivered over a period of ten weeks.


Week 1            Introduction to the Course and family diversity

  • Introduction to the course and assessment
  • Defining the family: the Constitution, European Convention of Human Rights
  • Issues of family diversity
  • Gender and the family


Week 2            The family in Ireland – a historical analysis    

  • Modernity in Ireland
  • Family and household in Ireland
  • Education and inheritance
  • The household economy
  • The life course: From the sociology of childhood to the sociology of ageing


Week 3            The family as a social unit in Irish Society

  • Defining the family (A major unit in the formation of societies)
  • Agents of socialisation
  • Sociological theory on the family
  • Gender roles within the family
  • Changing patterns of family formation


Week 4            Gender based violence and domestic violence

  • Introduction to gender based violence
  • Reliefs available for domestic violence: protection orders, safety orders and barring orders.
  • Family violence


Week 5            The Home – a sociological understanding

  • How the home is perceived and understood (Place exploration)
  • Sociological theory on the home as a unit
  • Changing gender roles


Week 6            Marriage

  • Marriage formation
  • Alternatives to marriage
  • Civil partnership and cohabitation
  • Reconciliation of family and work life
  • The marriage contract
  • Giddens and the transformation of intimacy.


Week 7            Separation and Divorce

  • Separation agreement
  • Judicial separation
  • Divorce
  • Ancillary remedies
  • Sociology of Divorce
  • Mediation


Week 8            Children

  • UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • Constitutional provisions relating to Children
  • Guardianship
  • Access
  • Maintenance
  • Adoption
  • Children at risk
  • Sociology of children and childhood
  • Impact of social institutions on children
  • Children in families and schools
  • Socialisation of children


Week 9            Contemporary issues in family life 

  • Assisted human reproduction
  • Gamete ownership
  • Legal disputes
  • Eugenics


Week 10          Contemporary issues in family life

  • Same sex families and marriage
  • “Therapy culture”

Course Award

Upon successful completion of the Diploma, students will be awarded a City Colleges Diploma in Family law and society.


Students must succesfully engage in the programme to graduate with either the Diploma or Certificate of Attendance unless a serious and verifiable reason for further absence is provided.

If completing the course online, students’ attendance and participation of the live or recorded classes is tracked through Moodle.

The Diploma is assessed using 100% continuous assessment.


Conor Duff


Conor Duff B.L., Dean of Law at City Colleges, lectures in the area of Contract and EU law for FE-1 students, a selection of City Colleges’ Professional programmes and our BA (Hons) in Business Studies programme.

Conor is a seasoned lecturer and has a proven track record of academic delivery across other colleges and Universities, including the Law Society of Ireland.

He is a graduate of Maynooth University (LL.B.) (Hons.), Trinity College Dublin (LL.M.), the Honorable Society of King’s Inns (B.L.) and the Law Society of Ireland (Dip. Construction Law). He graduated from Maynooth University and Trinity College with first-class honours degrees with distinction for his LL.M. Dissertation. He is a member of the EBA, CBA and Members’ Committee of the Irish Society for European Law.

Conor has published widely in various national legal journals including the Commercial Law Practitioner and the ICLJ. Conor was a co-editor of the leading EU Treaties text which is permitted for use in FE-1 and QLTT examinations. In addition to his legal practice, Conor volunteers regularly with F.L.A.C. and is a non-executive Director of Heritage Credit Union.


Anita Brady

Anita Brady BSoc.Sc., MScoc.Sc. is a graduate of Maynooth University and a Bachelor of Sociology and Social Policy and holds a Master’s Degree in Rights and Social Policy. Upon completion of Anita’s undergraduate Degree, she was awarded first-class honours in respect of her Dissertation which examined the experiences of whistleblowers in Ireland.

Anita has presented lectures on the experiences of whistleblowers from a sociological and policy perspective and was a tutor in Maynooth University where she tutored the module entitled: Political economy within the European Union.

Anita’s Master’s Degree explored from a social policy perspective, tribunals and inquiries in Ireland, with a particular emphasis on corruption, malpractice, wrongdoing and whistleblowing scandals in an Garda Síochána. Anita currently works in the area of social care; specifically, working with children who have experienced major trauma and in the care of the State. Anita currently lectures the Diploma in Social Studies in City Colleges Dublin.


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live online
Live online training with real-time instructor-student interaction.
  • Live & fully online
  • Archived for review
4th October 2022
10 weeks, 1 evening per week from 6.30 to 9.30pm GMT
Study in a classroom environment one evening a week.
  • City centre location
  • Fully interactive
  • Limited class sizes
4th October 2022
10 weeks, 1 evening per week from 6.30 to 9.30pm GMT

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