Joanna Harwood

Essex Law School
 Joanna Harwood



Jo Harwood joined the School of Law as a lecturer in November 2018. Her main area of expertise lies in conducting socio-legal empirical research in the field of private family law, with a specific focus on child arrangements disputes involving domestic abuse allegations. Her most recent publication provided empirical insight into the impact of legal aid reforms on the capacity of the courts to resolve child arrangements disputes. Jo has also conducted historical research into pre-marriage cohabitation in late Victorian times. Jo has an emerging interest in grandparents and post-separation parenting. Jo is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Jo completed her PhD at the University of Warwick in 2019. For her PhD, Jo undertook socio-legal empirical research to investigate the courts’ approach to the resolution of child arrangements disputes in cases involving allegations of domestic abuse. As part of her PhD, Jo provided insight into the impact of the recent presumption of parental involvement, introduced by the Children and Families Act 2014. Whilst completing her PhD, Jo taught Family Law at the University of Warwick. Prior to this, Jo spent two years working at the Law Commission on its Matrimonial Property, Needs and Agreements project. Jo welcomes approaches from prospective PhD students for supervision in the fields of family law and legal responses to domestic abuse.


  • LLB (Hons) Law University of Warwick,

  • PhD University of Warwick,

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Private family law

Open to supervise

Legal responses to domestic abuse

Open to supervise

Current research

Child arrangements orders and domestic abuse

Grandparents and post-separation parenting

Conferences and presentations

Child Contact, Domestic Abuse and the Gaps Left by Legal Aid Reform and the Restrictions on Access to Expert Evidence

Society of Legal Scholars Conference 2019, 3/9/2019

Child Arrangements Orders (Contact) & Domestic Abuse: When Should We Be Limiting or Stopping Contact Post-Separation?

Society of Legal Scholars Conference 2018, Queen Mary University of London, 5/9/2018

'A Father is For Life, Not Just Conception'? Child Arrangements Orders (Contact) & Domestic Abuse

Socio-Legal Studies Association 2018, University of Bristol, 29/3/2018

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Equity and Trusts (LW202)

  • Family Law (LW214)


Journal articles (2)

Harwood, J., (2021). Presuming the Status Quo? The Impact of the Statutory Presumption of Parental Involvement. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law. 43 (2), 119-142

Harwood, J., (2019). ‘We don’t know what it is we don’t know’: how austerity has undermined the courts’ access to information in child arrangements cases involving domestic abuse. Child and Family Law Quarterly. 31 (4), 321-321

Book chapters (2)

Harwood, J., (2020). Domestic Abuse and Covid-19: The Legal Challenges. In: Covid-19, Law and Human Rights : Essex Dialogues. A Project of the School of Law and Human Rights Centre. Editors: Ferstman, C. and Fagan, A., . University of Essex. 237- 245. 978-1-5272-6632-2

Fisher-Frank, E., Hansen, L., Harwood, J., Lindsey, J. and Tallodi, T., (2020). Access to Justice: A Discussion. In: Covid-19, Law and Human Rights : Essex Dialogues. A Project of the School of Law and Human Rights Centre. Editors: Ferstman, C. and Fagan, A., . University of Essex. 205- 206. 978-1-5272-6632-2

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