VCE Legal Studies

This information is based on the study information provided by VCAA.

Rationale

This study examines the process 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.  Students are required to apply legal reasoning and decision-making to contemporary cases and issues.

Structure

The structure is made up of four units:

  • Unit 1: Criminal Law in action
  • Unit 2: Issues in Civil Law
  • Unit 3: Law-Making
  • Unit 4: Resolution and Justice

Unit 1: Criminal Law and Justice

This unit explores 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.  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.

Unit 2 Civil Law and the Law in Focus

This unit focuses on the rights that are protected by civil law, as well as obligations that laws impose.  The unit also focuses on the resolution of civil disputes through judicial determination and alternative methods in courts, tribunals and independent bodies.  Students focus on cases that have had a broader impact on the legal system and on the rights of individuals.

Unit 3 Law Making

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

Unit 4 Resolution and Justice

This unit explores the function and jurisdiction of the courts, tribunals and alternative avenues of dispute resolution.  Students develop an understanding of criminal and civil pre-trial and trial procedures and the current operation of the jury system.  Students will also review the operation of the adversary system, comparing it to the inquisitorial systems and will make recommendations for possible improvement and reform.

Assessment

Unit 1

Outcome 1: The student should be able to explain the need for effective laws and describe the main sources and types of law in society.

Outcome 2: The student should be able to explain the key principles and types of criminal law, apply the key principles to relevant cases, and discuss the impact of criminal activity on the individual and society.

Outcome 3: The student should be able to describe the processes for the resolution of criminal cases, and discuss the capacity of these processes to achieve justice.

Unit 2

Outcome 1: The student should be able to explain the principles of civil law, law making by courts, and elements of torts, and apply these to relevant cases.

Outcome 2: The student should be able to explain and evaluate the processes for the resolution of civil disputes.

Outcome 3: The student should be able to explain one or more area/s of civil law, and discuss the legal system’s capacity to respond to issues and disputes related to the selected area/s of law

Outcome 4: The student should be able to describe an Australian case illustrating rights, issues, and discuss the impact of the case on the legal system and the rights of individuals.

Unit 3

Outcome 1: The student should be able to explain the structure and role of parliament, including its processes and effectiveness as a law-making body, describe why legal change is needed, and the means by which such change can be influenced.

Outcome 2: The student should be able to explain the role of the Commonwealth Constitution in defining law-making powers within a federal structure, analyse the means by which law-making powers may change, and evaluate the effectiveness of the Commonwealth Constitution in protecting human rights.

Outcome 3: The student should be able to describe the role and operation of courts in law-making, evaluate their effectiveness as law-making bodies and disucss their relationship with parliament.

Unit 4

Outcome 1: The student should be able to describe and evaluate the effectiveness of institutions and methods for the determination of criminal cases and the resolution of civil disputes.

Outcome 2: The student should be able to explain the process and procedures for the resolution of criminal cases and civil disputes, and evaluate their operation and application, and evaluate the effectiveness of the legal system.

Levels of Achievement

Units 1 and 2

Satisfactory completion of the outcomes and levels of achievement are determined by the school.

Units 3 and 4

School assessed coursework and an end of year examination

  • Unit 3 school assessed coursework (25%)
  • Unit 4 school assessed coursework (25%)
  • Units 3 and 4 examination (50%)