Ford Foundation Legal Workshop: 1st Workshop 1966

Family Law

The first Legal Workshop ever held in the United Kingdom was organised by the Institute from 13th July to 20th July 1966. The subject was: Family Law. The Workshop was co-ordinated by Professor Peter Bromley of Manchester University; Dr L. Neville Brown of Birmingham University; Mr H.K. Bevan of Hull University and Mr J.C. Hall of Cambridge University, in co-operation with the Director of IALS, Professor J.N.D. Anderson. The Workshop took place at Passfield Hall and was made possible by the generosity of the Ford Foundation.

The Workshop was attending by 32 teachers of family law in English and Scottish universities. In addition, there were present 2 members of the Law Commission (Mr Justice Scarman and Mr L.C.B. Gower) and 6 lawyers from overseas (including Professor W. Muller-Freienfels from Freiburg im Breisgau, Professor Monrad G. Paulsen from Columbia University Law School, New York, and Professor Andrew S. Watson from the University of Michigan Law School). Others who gave papers or attended part of the workshop were Master I.H. Jacob, Professor O.R. McGregor, the Secretary of the National Marriage Guidance Council, a High Court Registrar and a Children's Officer.

Academic Directors:

  • Professor Peter Bromley (University of Manchester)
  • Dr L. Neville Brown (University of Birmingham)
  • Mr H.K. Bevan (University of Hull)
  • Mr J.C. Hall (University of Cambridge)
  • in co-operation with Professor J.N.D. Anderson (Director, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies)

The programme was divided into two parts:


The first three days were devoted to the consideration of the teaching of family law. This included both the legal and sociological contents of such a course, teaching methods (including the teaching of family law to non-lawyers) and postgraduate teaching and research.

The second half of the Workshop was concerned with the teacher and family law reform. After a general discussion of the contribution that the academic lawyer can make to law reform, four particular topics were considered in detail: the breakdown of marriage, the broken home (including the position of illegitimate children), the administration of family law, and matrimonial property law.

The Workshop was a highly successful venture. This was largely due to those who took immense trouble to prepare introductory papers which in turn led to stimulating discussion. The British academic lawyers were particularly grateful for the opportunity of meeting members of the Law Commission, lawyers from overseas and others (academic and non-academic) working in allied fields.

A report of proceedings was published in the Journal of the Society of Public Teachers of Law, Issue 2, December 1966, pp .201-258.

Page last updated: 13th July 2017