The 2020 Stowe Family Law Prize Winner Announced 

Regina MelejiCongratulations to Regina Meleji, the winner of the 2020 Stowe Family Law Prize. Regina was the top achieving student this year in the final year Family Law module, demonstrating a high standard of work and commitment to her studies.

In recognition of Regina’s outstanding performance, she has been offered work experience at Stowe's new office in Birmingham. Stowe aims to give Regina a taste of what it is like to work in a family law firm, what the work entails and to help her to expand her network.

Read Reginas interview below to find out about her interest in family law:

What sparked your interest in family law? 

"I was raised in a country, where once the woman is empowered to leave a difficult marriage, she would pack her bags, carry her children and start a new life with little or no support from her husband. Most of these women had no idea that they could take up any legal action against their husbands. My interest in family law was sparked by my desire to answer some of the burning questions that I had growing up, ranging from protection of children to formation and breakdown of the marriage and also the split of assets at the point of divorce. With Family law, I am now able to listen to stories being told and encourage the respective partners to take up legal action and even direct them to organisations that would take up their cases assuring them that they should not be carrying the financial burden of raising their children on their own."

What do you like most about family law? 

"I like the way the law surrounding the family deals with “real people” and the cases are always varied."

Are there any other areas of law that interest you? 

"Recently, I have developed an interest in global investigations, something that I think I would really enjoy doing."

Is there anything you are passionate about changing in family law?

"At the moment, non-married cohabiting couples do not have any additional legal rights, during their relationship or after separation. Courts are powerless to make financial awards based on fairness, often leading to financial hardships for the financially challenged partner. Cohabitation is the fastest growing type of relationship in the UK, and I think that legal reform should be made to accompany this societal shift from marriage to cohabitation. This has been successfully practised in Australia where partners of a de-facto relationship (partners who are living together on a genuine domestic basis) are given the same legal rights as married couples. For certainty and reliability of the law, the courts will have to set up a number of years that would be considered appropriate or long enough to attain the status of de-facto. The next step would be for the court to decide whether such parties would have similar legal rights as married couples or create a definition that suites the country of what a de-facto relationship would entail." 

Rebecca Calden-Storr is the Managing Partner at Stowe Family Law’s Birmingham office, where Regina will gain valuable work experience. Rebecca commented:
“It’s a pleasure to award Regina the Stowe Family Law Prize. At Stowe, we are passionate about training young people and giving them guidance and insight into life as a family lawyer. This guidance can be critical in helping them to understand whether family law is right for them and if so, allowing them to build confidence to be leaders in this field later in their career. We look forward to welcoming Regina to the firm’s Birmingham office for her work experience.”

The Family Law Module provides students with a working knowledge of key areas of the law relating to family life.  The module has a focus on three fundamental areas.  First, students study how private law regulates the formation and breakdown of marriages and civil partnerships.  Second, the module looks in depth at how the courts arrive at a fair financial settlement between the parties. Lastly, students study key private law and public law matters relating to children.

Stowe Family Law are specialists in assisting married and non-married cohabitants with their finances, property ownership and child arrangements during divorce and separation. For the last few decades, the firm has had its finger on the pulse of political and policy issues surrounding family law, including why the law seeks to regulate certain familial relationships and how it is done.

Stowe Family Law and Aston University are delighted to offer the Stowe Family Law Prize again in this coming academic year.