The study is made up of four units:
- Unit 1: Guilt and liability
- Unit 2: Sanctions, remedies and rights
- Unit 3: Rights and justice
- Unit 4: The people and the law
Each unit deals with specific content contained in areas of study and is designed to enable students to achieve a set of outcomes for that unit. Each outcome is described in terms of key knowledge and key skills.
Unit 1: Guilt and liability
Criminal law and civil law aim to achieve social cohesion and protect the rights of individuals. Criminal law is aimed at maintaining social order and infringing criminal law can result in charges. Civil law deals with the infringement of a person’s or group’s rights and breaching civil law can result in litigation. 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.
Unit 2: Sanctions, remedies and rights
Criminal law and civil law aim to protect the rights of individuals. When rights are infringed, a case or dispute may arise which needs to be determined or resolved, and sanctions or remedies may be imposed. 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: Rights and justice
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. 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. They discuss recent reforms from the past four years and recommended reforms to enhance the ability of the justice system to achieve the principles of justice. Throughout this unit, students apply legal reasoning and information to actual and/or hypothetical scenarios.
Unit 4: The people and the law
The study of Australia’s laws and legal system involves an understanding of institutions that make and reform our laws, and the relationship between the Australian people, the Australian Constitution and law-making bodies. 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. 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. Throughout this unit, students apply legal reasoning and information to actual scenarios.