LEGAL STUDIES

Unit 1: Semester 1

Criminal Law in Action
This unit explores the distinction between legal and non-legal rules, the Victorian court hierarchy, and the process of making laws through Parliament. It focuses on the role of police, their powers of investigation, the procedures of a criminal trial and an examination of possible sanctions that are available to the criminal courts. Students explore the concepts of fairness and justice within the criminal system and visit the Geelong Magistrates Courts.

On completion of this unit the student should be able to: explain the principles of criminal law and apply them to one or more cases to justify a decision; evaluate the processes for the resolution of criminal disputes and analyse the capacity of these processes to achieve justice.

ASSESSMENT
1. Coursework (50%)
2. Examination (50%)

Unit 2: Semester 2

Issues in Civil Law
This unit focuses on the effective resolution of civil disputes. It looks at the processes and procedures involved in civil litigation and the possible defences to civil claims within our legal system available to enforce the civil rights of our citizens. As well as the judicial procedure to resolve civil disputes, the unit also investigates the alternative avenues of dispute resolution and their effectiveness. This unit provides students with the opportunity to explore a specific area of law and to analyse contemporary legal issues.

On completion of this unit the student should be able to: explain the principles of civil law and be able to apply them to one or more real or hypothetical cases to justify a decision; evaluate the processes for the resolution of civil disputes and analyse the capacity of these processes to achieve justice; analyse contemporary Australian law and assess its ability to reconcile and reflect conflicting attitudes in order to meet the needs of Australian society and contribute to social cohesion.

ASSESSMENT
1. Coursework (50%)
2. Examination (50%)

Unit 3: Semester 1

Law-Making
The purpose of this unit is to enable students to develop an understanding of the institutions that determine laws and the processes by which laws are made. It considers reasons why laws are necessary and the impact of the Commonwealth Constitution on the operation of the legal system. Students undertake an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the law-making bodies and the processes used to influence change and reform. 

On completion of this unit the student should be able to: describe the role and effectiveness of Parliament as a law-making body; evaluate the need for change in the law and analyse the ways in which change can be influenced; explain the role of the Commonwealth Constitution in defining law-making powers within a federal structure; and evaluate the effectiveness of the Commonwealth Constitution in protecting democratic and human rights; describe the role and evaluate the effectiveness of the courts in law-making and their relationship with Parliament.

Unit 4: Semester 2

Resolution and Justice
This unit explores the function and jurisdiction of the courts, tribunals and alternative avenues of dispute resolution with a view to comparing and evaluating the operation of the various dispute resolution methods. 

Students develop an understanding of criminal and civil pre-trial and trial processes and procedures which operate within the Victorian legal system. The current operation of the jury system in criminal and civil trials will be examined and students will also review the operation of the adversary system, giving consideration to its strengths and weaknesses. 

Students will compare features of the adversary and inquisitorial systems of dispute resolution. In this unit students evaluate the effective operation of the Victorian legal system and make recommendations for possible improvement and reform. Students visit Barwon Prison to examine elements of the criminal justice system.

On completion of this unit the students should be able to: 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; 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
1. Coursework – Unit 3 (25%)
2. Coursework – Unit 4 (25%)
3. Examination (50%)