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Family Law: IALS Library Guides

An introduction to the library's holdings on family law

Family Law heading

Guide last updated by Katherine Read, November 2023

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This guide was created by Katherine Read, Principal Library Assistant at the IALS Library.


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In this guide

This guide aims to give a brief introduction to the Library's holdings on Family Law. Please consult the Library Catalogue for complete information on current titles and locations. If you require further assistance please contact us.

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Introduction to the Library Catalogue

This Subject Guide only lists a selection of Library resources on Family Law. To find additional resources you will need to search the Library Catalogue, which covers the complete holdings of the Library. It is possible to search for books, journals and series of law reports by author, title or keyword. Please note it is not possible to search for individual chapters, journal articles or legislation (e.g. individual Acts or SIs).

IALS Library is mainly open access and readers are able to browse the shelves in the main collection. There are two main exceptions to this:

  • Older items (marked RES or Depository on the catalogue record) are kept in the closed basement.
  • Key texts for LLM students are often kept in the Short Loan collection.

Please request these at the Library Enquiry Desk.

For more information on understanding the catalogue record and further guidance on the location of materials please refer to our guide Classmarks and the Location of Resources in the Library.


The Library classifies textbooks either by jurisdiction (GO13, GA2 etc.) or according to subject area, examples of which include Comparative Law (SB), Public International Law (SG) and Private International Law/ Conflict of Laws (SH).

All classmark sections have a FOL section for oversize volumes, which is located on the same floor of the Library.

When you are searching the Library Catalogue for books, please note that only the current edition is held on the open shelves or in the Short Loan collection. IALS has a rich collection of previous editions held in the closed basement and these will display a Depository number on the catalogue. Please request previous editions from the Enquiry Desk.

Family Law  material for England & Wales is shelved at GA2.D.1
Comparative  Family Law material is shelved at SB50
Conflict of Laws Family Law material is shelved at SH25

The following list represents a selection of textbooks on family law. Please check the catalogue records for further information and location. Titles marked as e-books may also be available in print. Access from home requires your IALS library barcode and your  family name.  E books with 'open access' status on the catalogue are available to all users of this guide. 

Bainham, A (ed.)  Children : the modern law   4th ed. 2012

Cretney, S.M. Principles of family law. 7th ed. 2002

Diduck, A.   Family law, gender and the state. 2012

Douglas, G. International and national perspectives on child and family law: essays in honour of Nigel Lowe   Cambridge Intersentia  2019 (e-book)

Lowe, N.   Bromley’s Family law. 11th ed. 2014

Gilmore, W. Hayes and Williams' family law  7th ed. 2020

George, R. Blackstone's statutes on family law  30th ed. 2021

Hale, B. et al.   Family law and society cases and materials 6th ed. 2008

Harris-Short, S.  Family law: text cases and materials  2015

Maclean, M. and Eekelaar, J. After the act: Access to family justice after LASPO 2019  Bloomsbury  (e-book)

Maclean, M. and others 'What is a family justice System for?' 2022 Bloomsbury (e-book) 

Probert, R.   Cretney & Probert’s family law  9th ed. 2015

Probert, R.   Family life and the law under one roof  2007

Probert, R. et al. Fifty years on family law: essays in honour of Stephen Cretney 2012

Sutherland, E. Child and family law   3rd ed. 2022- 

Trowell, S. & Williams, D. Rayden and Jackson on relationship breakdown, finances and children 2016-

Wilson, N. and others  The Family Court Practice 2020: the red book   Lexis 2020


IALS Library holds a wide selection of current serial titles on family law from many different jurisdictions. These are located on all floors of the Library. Some titles are only in printed volumes while others or available in both formats. For more detailed help, please refer to the guide on Finding journal articles.

The following titles focus particularly on family law but there may be relevant articles in less specialised journals:

Australian journal of family law

Canadian journal of family law E-Journal

Child and family law quarterly

Family law 

Family law quarterly  E-journal

Family law reports

Family law reports (Australia)

International journal of children's rights  E-journal

International  journal of law and the family  E-Journal

Legislation and law reports

If you are interested in legislation or cases concerning family law issues in specific countries you will need to consult the legislation or law reports for that jurisdiction.

Consult the  Library Catalogue to find the general classmark for the country you require. Consult consolidations of legislation, digests or indexes to trace particular acts or cases.

Academic users may also use databases like Lexis/Westlaw to find UK, US, EU or international decisions. For further information please refer to Law Databases or ask at the Library Enquiry Desk.

You may also find it useful to refer to our guides on finding Legislation and Cases or check to see if we have a Jurisdiction Research Guide for the country you are interested in.

Free internet sources

Eagle-i is an internet portal maintained and updated by IALS library staff. It allows you to search for quality web resources on family law.

A valuable free source is BAILII, the British and Irish Legal information Institute which is based and maintained at IALS. It provides free access to full text UK judgments and legislation on a wide range of subjects including family law and also links to other free World Law databases. Jurisdictions covered in these resources include Commonwealth countries eg. AustLII  (Australia) and CanLII (Canada), France, Germany, Italy, the USA and South Africa. 

The following represent a sample of the available quality individual web resources on family law:

CAFCASSChild and Family court Advisory Services for England and Wales

Commission on European Family Law (includes links to English language documents for different jurisdictions)

Courts and Tribunals Judiciary. Family Court Guide (England and Wales)

Marilyn Johnson Raisch. Transnational and comparative family law: Harmonization and implementation. Updated March/April 2022 (Globalex)