Family law presents distinctive challenges and issues for private international law.  It vitally affects the lives of many tens of millions, perhaps more, of independently mobile cross-border families and their children around the world.  It is where private international law is argued, litigated, negotiated and considered by private practice lawyers and judges in national courts at all levels, even if they may not know it as PIL.  Yet family law is close to the very heart of national mores and cultural values. Moreover for historic and other reasons it can vary dramatically even across neighbouring national borders, thereby setting up direct challenges to any attempted internationalisation of laws.

International family law sees the direct contrast between common law and civil law systems in very different expectations of family justice.  Sharia dominates large parts of the world but crucially has to be brought into account in common and civil law systems when dealing with Islamic families.  Concepts such as same-sex marriage, surrogacy, forced marriage, equality of gender etc can challenge national law systems in countries which would otherwise be regarded as outwardly westernised jurisdictions.

Children issues present the most unified element of PIL for family law, with the criteria of the best interests of the child and the most widely adopted international law.  But there is still much to be undertaken to protect children and international legal cooperation has to be considered

There will only be more international families in the future with more need for truly international laws and international family justice.  A key part of the course will be looking at future challenges, opportunities and contributions including from a better broad understanding of PIL

The course will look at a range of national laws and systems and will not be any national law specific.

NOTE: Due to COVID-19 course dates are subject to change.

8 days (11, 18, 25 August; 1, 8, 15, 22 September and 6 October)
Online (view map)
Enrolment options: 
CPD | Award | Non-Award

Topics covered

  • International law and status for cross border families; United Nations, Hague, EU and other - their purpose, justification and national validation, jurisprudence, limitations including from national governments.
  • Distinctive issues facing international families; status and formations of family relationships; termination of relationships
  • Children; International instruments, child abduction, other international child issues
  • Finance; financial claims in international family law litigation, claims as to property and capital, child support and spousal maintenance, personal autonomy.
  • Working to the future; The actors, the digital, future directions of international family justice

Who is the course designed for

Our CPD courses are available to professionals interested in contemporary legal issues.

Whether you're looking to acquire CPD points, expand your knowledge in a specific area of the law, or gain a general understanding of legal issues impacting your profession, our courses will equip you to go further in every possible future.

Style of learning

Our courses are delivered in collaborative, seminar-style teaching environments, in the award-winning Forgan Smith building.

Our CPD participants benefit from small class sizes which encourage group discussion and debate, and 1-on-1 access to industry experts and leading researchers.


This course is delivered at UQ St Lucia.

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Enrolment options

 Register for Continuing Professional Development

No entry requirements apply, you are not required to submit assessment, and your course participation may not be used as academic credit towards a qualification. Our courses count toward Queensland Law Society Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points if you can demonstrate relevance to your legal practice. Registration closes 2 weeks before the course starts.

Register as a CPD student

 Enrol as a non-award student

To gain academic credit, you can apply to enrol as a ‘non-award’ student. Your enrolment is called ‘non-award’ because you are not seeking to be awarded a qualification at this point. As a non-award student, you will be required to do course assessment and will gain academic credit for successfully completing the course. You may seek credit for the course if you enrol in a program in the future.

Apply for entry as a non-award student

 Enrol as a part of a Masters degree program

This course is part of the Master of Laws postgraduate program.


Upcoming sessions

11 August 2020 5:00pm8:30pm
18 August 2020 5:00pm8:30pm
25 August 2020 5:30pm8:30pm
1 September 2020 5:00pm8:30pm
8 September 2020 5:00pm8:30pm
15 September 2020 5:00pm8:30pm
22 September 2020 5:00pm8:30pm
6 October 2020 5:00pm8:30pm
Professor David Hodson OBE MICArb