WED 31/03/2010 - As family policy becomes a hot topic for the General Election, experts from the University of Bristol's School of Law are collaborating with four other leading universities to set up a new family law and policy network.
The Network on Family, Regulation and Society, led by the University of Exeter in collaboration with the Universities of Bath, Bristol and Cardiff, will produce research and pool expertise in areas such as child protection, family justice issues, cohabitation, and the effects of separation and divorce on children.
The partnership will harness a range of national and international research links to make an impact on policy and practice of family law in addition to providing responses to announcements made in parliament and media issues.
As well as addressing important issues within the area of family, regulation and society, the new network will also seek to encourage people into the field of law and social sciences research. This is in light of a recent Nuffield Foundation report that found there is a shortage of socio-legal researchers in the UK.
The Network will also include contributions from three specialist third sector organisations. These are One Plus One, Resolution and the Family Law Bar Association, who will all contribute to the process of setting future research agendas.
Professor Judith Masson from the University of Bristol's School of Law , said: "It is really important that politicians consider how laws actually impact on families not merely what they want laws to achieve. Socio-legal research has provided a much broader understanding of the operation of laws and legal processes than the practice wisdom of lawyers and the judiciary."