Law Reform by Frozen Chook: Family Law Reform for the New Millennium?
The University of Sydney Law School
Melbourne University Law Review, Vol. 24, pp. 737-755, 2000
Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 08/72
This article considers some of the barriers to effective policy development in areas of law impacting on family relationships. First, the article draws attention to the narrow way in which the notion of 'family law' has been understood as involving only the law affecting marriage and divorce, whereas the law impacts on familial relationships in a much broader variety of ways. Next, it points out that powerful gendered discourses constrain how family law policies are debated and progressed. Despite that, the article draws a contrast between the significant progress that has been made in Australia in recognising gay and lesbian families, albeit in a functional rather than symbolic way. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about heterosexual family law debates where important policy decisions have all too often been made on the basis of anecdotal information (such as stories about frozen 'chooks' (ie, chickens) rather than on the basis of evidence-based research.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 20
Keywords: Family Law, Constitutional Law, Law Reform, Families, Feminist Legal Scholarship, relationship recognition, same sex relationships, gender, 'gender wars'
JEL Classification: K10, K30, J16
Date posted: July 23, 2008