Carl Schneider’s 1992 article in the Hofstra Law Review, The Channelling Function in Family Law, is part of the canon of family law.
It has earned a lasting place in the family law constellation, at least in part, because it stakes out a distinctive claim for the role of law in family governance. The article identifies the role of family law as an intermediate one that falls short of the coercion of criminal sanctions but is more directive than the voluntary obligations taken on in contractual regimes.
The channelling function allies family law with public purposes, implemented through private associations.
It recognizes understandings that protect the vulnerable without undermining the authority of the powerful or negating the possibility of individual choice.
Above all, Schneider made the case for the role of law in channelling the behavior necessary to build, shape, sustain, and promote social institutions.