First published in 1999, this book responds to the meaning given to the welfare principle attracts a great deal of controversy and explores the reasons for the controversy and examines the growing legal significance attached to the principle. In an illuminating and accessible manner, this informative volume:

  • provides a record of the milestones which have shaped the principles development by tracing its evolution over the centuries
  • discloses the essence of what has been termed 'the golden thread running through the common law'
  • provides a measure of the impact of the principle on the coherence of modern family law by assessing the significance of its present operational role and functions.

The welfare principle began as a common law principle forged in medieval England, yet it has informed the law relating to children in some of the most developed western societies. It is now being refracted through international legislative and judicial developments to challenge the future shape of family law in the UK. By considering the ways in which the legal system has shaped and been shaped by the principle, this invaluable book leads its readers to an appreciation of the content and structural influence of the welfare principle.

chapter |6 pages


part 2|2 pages

The Content and Structural Role of the Welfare Principle in the Legal System

chapter 4|16 pages

Welfare Interests and the Child

chapter 5|18 pages

The Legal System and Welfare Interests

chapter 6|18 pages

Identifying Welfare Interests

chapter 7|18 pages

Representing Welfare Interests

part 3|4 pages

Public Family Law

chapter 8|18 pages

Care and Supervision

chapter 9|22 pages


chapter 10|16 pages


chapter 11|22 pages

Prevention and Promotion

part 4|4 pages

Private Family Law

chapter 14|22 pages


part 5|2 pages

The Future Role of the Welfare Principle: An International Perspective