What is Legal Studies all about?

This study is about the way the law relates to and serves both individuals and the community. It focuses on developing an understanding of the way in which law is generated, structured and operates in Australia.

Aims
This study enables students to:

    • understand and apply legal terminology, principles and concepts
    • apply legal principles to actual and/or hypothetical scenarios, explore solutions to legal problems, and form reasoned conclusions
    • analyse the institutions that make laws and understand the way in which individuals can engage in and influence law reform
    • understand legal rights and responsibilities, and the effectiveness of the protection of rights in Australia
    • analyse the methods and institutions that determine criminal cases and resolve civil disputes
    • propose and analyse reforms to the legal system to enable the principles of justice to be achieved.

Structure

The study is made up of four units.

Unit 1

Students investigate key concepts of criminal law and civil law and apply these to actual and/or hypothetical scenarios to determine whether an accused may be found guilty of a crime, or liable in a civil dispute. In doing so, students develop an appreciation of the way in which legal principles and information are used in making reasoned judgments and conclusions about the culpability of an accused, and the liability of a party in a civil dispute.

Unit 2

This unit focuses on the enforcement of criminal law and civil law, the methods and institutions that may be used to determine a criminal case or resolve a civil dispute, and the purposes and types of sanctions and remedies and their effectiveness. Students undertake a detailed investigation of two criminal cases and two civil cases from the past four years to form a judgment about the ability of sanctions and remedies to achieve the principles of justice. Students develop their understanding of the way rights are protected in Australia and in another country, and possible reforms to the protection of rights. They examine a significant case in relation to the protection of rights in Australia.

Unit 3

The Victorian justice system, which includes the criminal and civil justice systems, aims to protect the rights of individuals and uphold the principles of justice: fairness, equality and access. In this unit students examine the methods and institutions in the justice system and consider their appropriateness in determining criminal cases and resolving civil disputes.

Outcomes Marks allocated Assessment Tasks
Outcome 1

Explain the rights of the accused and of victims in the criminal justice system, discuss the means used to determine criminal cases and evaluate the ability of the criminal justice system to achieve the principles of justice.

 

 

50

The student’s performance on each outcome will be assessed using one or more of the following:

• a case study

• structured questions

• an essay

• a report in written format

• a report in multimedia

format

• a folio of exercises.

Outcome 2

Analyse the factors to consider when initiating a civil claim, discuss the institutions and methods used to resolve civil disputes and evaluate the ability of the civil justice system to achieve the principles of justice.

 

 

50

                                                                            Total Marks 100

Unit 4: The people and the law

In this unit, students explore how the Australian Constitution establishes the law-making powers of the Commonwealth and state parliaments and protects the Australian people through structures that act as a check on parliament in law-making. Throughout this unit, students apply legal reasoning and information to actual scenarios.

Contribution to final assessment School-assessed Coursework for Unit 4 will contribute 25 per cent to the study score.

Outcomes Marks allocated Assessment Tasks
Outcome 1

Discuss the significance of High Court cases involving the interpretation of the Australian Constitution and evaluate the ways in which the Australian Constitution acts as a check on parliament in law-making.

 

 

40

The student’s performance on each outcome will be assessed using one or more of the following:

• a case study

• structured questions

• an essay

• a report in written format

• a report in multimedia

format

• a folio of exercises.

Outcome 2

Discuss the factors that affect the ability of parliament and courts to make law, evaluate the ability of these law-makers to respond to the need for law reform, and analyse how individuals, the media and law reform bodies can influence a change in the law.

 

 

60

                                                                            Total Marks 100

Entry

There are no prerequisites for entry to Units 1, 2 and 3. Students must undertake Unit 3 prior to undertaking Unit 4. Units 1 to 4 are designed to a standard equivalent to the final two years of secondary education.

External Assessment

The level of achievement for Units 3 and 4 is also assessed by an end-of-year examination.

Contribution to final assessment

The examination will contribute 50 per cent.