Aspects of family law


Professor Gillian Black

Team Members

Lorraine Stirling, Project Manager
Alex Enaholo, Legal Assistant

A review of aspects of family law is being undertaken by the Commission’s family law team, with Professor Gillian Black taking over the lead on the project in June 2023.

Aspects of family law project

The review of aspects of family law was announced in our Tenth Programme of Law Reform (February 2018), and continues into our Eleventh Programme of Law Reform.

Civil remedies for domestic abuse

The Aspect of family law team is currently focusing on a review of the law of civil remedies for domestic abuse.  Currently, the civil remedies for domestic abuse are spread over many different statutes, which makes it confusing for practitioners to advise on and for victims / survivors to understand.  Our review will consider whether and how the law in this area can be simplified, clarified, and updated.  It will also consider, among other matters, whether the existing civil remedies are adequate and sufficient to provide victims / survivors of domestic abuse with prompt and effective protection. 

The team has met with legal practitioners, domestic abuse support groups, decision makers, and legal academics to hear their perspectives on the law in this area and their views on how it might be amended.  We have established an Advisory Group comprising legal and non-legal members with an interest and expertise in domestic abuse to advise us throughout the life of this project.  We had our first Advisory Group meetings in person and online in September and October 2023 and hope to have a further meeting in early 2024.  We are grateful to the Group’s members for their time, support, and advice, which we will draw on as we draft our Discussion Paper.

The team is also carrying out research into the civil remedies for domestic abuse in other jurisdictions, including New Zealand, Illinois, and closer to home, in England and Ireland. We will draw on our findings from this research in preparing our Discussion Paper and in suggesting possible options for reform.  We hope to publish the Discussion Paper for consultation in late summer 2024.


The first phase of the Aspects of family law project focussed on a review of the law relating to claims for financial provision on breakdown of a cohabiting relationship, otherwise than by the death of one of the cohabitants (as set out in sections 25 - 28 of the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006).  This phase is now complete, following publication of our Report on Cohabitation together with a draft Bill implementing our reforms in this area on 2 November 2022.  An outline of the contents of the Report may be found in the Executive Summary.  The team was pleased to receive the following Scottish Government response to our Report:


For further information, please contact Lorraine Stirling at