Legal Studies units 1 & 2
VCE Legal Studies investigates the ways in which the law and the legal system relate to and serve individuals and the community. This knowledge is central to understanding the workings of contemporary Australian society.
Legal Studies examines the processes of law-making, dispute resolution and the administration of justice in Australia. Students develop an understanding of the impact of the legal system on the lives of citizens, and the implications of legal decisions and outcomes on Australian society. The study provides students with an appreciation of how individuals can be involved in decision-making within the legal system, encouraging civic engagement and helping them to become more informed and active citizens.
Students develop an understanding of the complexity of the law and the legal system and the challenges faced by our law-makers and dispute resolution bodies. They investigate the workings of the Australian legal system and undertake comparisons with international structures and procedures. Students are encouraged to question these systems and develop informed judgments about their effectiveness, as well as consider reforms to the law and the legal system.
Legal Studies also focuses on the development of skills. Students develop an ability to identify, collect and process information from a range of sources and engage in its interpretation and analysis. Skills for independent inquiry, critical thinking and legal reasoning to solve legal problems are also fostered. Students are required to apply legal reasoning and decision-making to contemporary cases and issues. They engage in analysis and evaluation of existing legal processes and form opinions about the operation of the legal system.
Unit 1: Criminal law in action
The law influences all aspects of society – at home, at work and in the wider community. Laws are used by society to preserve social cohesion, and to ensure the protection of people from harm and from the infringement of their rights. These laws can be grouped according to their source and whether they are criminal or civil in nature. Following an overview of the law in general, this unit focuses on criminal law.
Students examine the need for laws in society. They investigate the key features of criminal law, how it is enforced and adjudicated and possible outcomes and impacts of crime. Through a consideration of contemporary cases and issues, students learn about different types of crimes and explore rights and responsibilities under criminal law. Students also consider the role of parliament and subordinate authorities in law-making, as well as the impact of the Victorian Charter of Rights and Responsibilities on law enforcement and adjudication in Victoria.
Students investigate the processes and procedures followed by courts in hearing and resolving criminal cases. They explore the main features and operations of criminal courts and consider the effectiveness of the criminal justice system in achieving justice.
Unit 2: Issues in civil law
The civil law regulates the rights and responsibilities that exist between individuals, groups and organisations. If legal rights have been infringed, the aggrieved party may pursue legal action through the court system, through a tribunal, or by using one of the methods of dispute resolution.
Students examine the rights that are protected by civil law, as well as obligations that laws impose. They investigate types of civil laws and related cases and issues and develop an appreciation of the role of civil law in society and how it affects them as individuals.
The unit also focuses on the resolution of civil disputes through judicial determination and alternative methods in courts, tribunals and independent bodies. Students examine these methods of dispute resolution and evaluate their effectiveness.
Individuals can influence a change in the law by taking a case to court. Students focus on cases that have had a broader impact on the legal system and on the rights of individuals. Students develop an appreciation of the role played by such cases and undertake an analysis of relevant legal issues.
The award of satisfactory completion for a unit is based on a decision that the student has demonstrated achievement of the set of outcomes specified for the unit. This decision will be based on the teacher’s assessment of the student’s performance on assessment tasks designated for the unit.