Legal Studies

VCE Legal Studies examines the institutions and principles which are essential to Australia’s legal system. Students develop an understanding of the rule of law, law-makers, key legal institutions, rights protection in Australia, and the justice system.

There are no prerequisites for entry to Units 1, 2 and 3. Students must undertake Unit 3 prior to undertaking Unit 4.

Unit 1 Guilt and liability

In this unit students develop an understanding of legal foundations, such as the different types and sources of law and the existence of a court hierarchy in Victoria. 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.

Outcomes

  1. Describe the main sources and types of law, and assess the effectiveness of laws.
  2. Explain the purposes and key concepts of criminal law, and use legal reasoning to argue the criminal culpability of an accused based on actual and/or hypothetical scenarios.
  3. Explain the purposes and key concepts of civil law, and apply legal reasoning to argue the liability of a party in civil law based on actual and/or hypothetical scenarios.

Unit 2 Sanctions, remedies and rights

Examine 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. 

Outcomes

  1. Explain key concepts in the determination of a criminal case, and discuss the principles of justice in relation to the determination of criminal cases, sanctions and sentencing approaches.
  2. Explain key concepts in the resolution of a civil dispute, and discuss the principles of justice in relation to the resolution of civil disputes and remedies.
  3. Evaluate the ways in which rights are protected in Australia, compare this approach with that adopted by another country and discuss the impact of an Australian case on the rights of individuals and the legal system.

Unit 3 Rights and justice

Students examine the methods and institutions in the justice system and consider their appropriateness in determining criminal cases and resolving civil disputes. Students consider the Magistrates’ Court, County Court and Supreme Court within the Victorian court hierarchy, as well as other Victorian legal institutions and bodies available to assist with cases. Students explore matters such as the rights available to an accused and to victims in the criminal justice system, the roles of the judge, jury, legal practitioners and the parties, and the ability of sanctions and remedies to achieve their purposes. Students investigate the extent to which the principles of justice are upheld in the justice system. 

Outcomes

  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.
  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.

Unit 4 The people and the law

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. Students develop an understanding of the significance of the High Court in protecting and interpreting the Australian Constitution. They investigate parliament and the courts, and the relationship between the two in law-making, and consider the roles of the individual, the media and law reform bodies in influencing law reform. 

Outcomes

  1. Describe and evaluate the effectiveness of institutions for the resolution of civil disputes and the adjudication of criminal cases and of alternative dispute resolution methods.
  2. Explain the elements of an effective legal system, and evaluate the processes and procedures for the resolution of criminal cases and civil disputes and discuss their effectiveness.

Assessment

Units 1 and 2

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

  • Court visit 
  • Prison visit and report
  • Structured assignment
  • Folio and report
  • Case study
  • Test
  • Annotated visual display
  • Investigation of actual court cases
  • Structured assignment
  • Action plan and report
  • Folio and report
  • Case study
  • Tests
  • Audio or visual presentation
  • Interview and report

Units 3 and 4

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.

 School assessed course work and end-of-year examination.

  • Unit 3 school assessed course work: 25 %
  • Unit 4 school assessed course work: 25 %
  • Unit 3 and 4 examination: 50 %

 

Contact Teacher - Kate Boundy