Support Material for Legal Studies


Part III: Law in practice 30% of course time



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Part III: Law in practice 30% of course time


Principal focus: Students investigate contemporary issues that illustrate how the law operates in practice.
Outcomes

P1. identifies and applies legal concepts and terminology

P3. describes the operation of domestic and international legal systems

P4. discusses the effectiveness of the legal system in addressing issues

P7. evaluates the effectiveness of the law in achieving justice

P8. locates, selects and organises legal information from a variety of sources including legislation, cases, media, international instruments and documents

P9. communicates legal information using well-structured responses

Themes and challenges to be incorporated throughout this topic


  • the relationship between justice, law and society

  • the development and reform of law as a reflection of society

  • the importance of the rule of law

  • the responsiveness of the legal system in dealing with issues

  • the effectiveness of legal and non-legal mechanisms in achieving justice for individuals and society.



Assessment task: Student’s own research/investigation.
The Law in practice unit can be integrated with Part I and/or Part II of the Preliminary course, or treated as a separate unit.

This unit is designed to provide opportunities for students to deepen their understanding of the principles of law covered in Part I and Part II. Students should have the opportunity to develop the relevant research, analytical and communication skills that underpin the process of investigation. Students should synthesise information from a range of sources, including cases, legislation, the media and international instruments to support a legal argument. Topics should extend particular areas of individual or group interest.

At least TWO contemporary issues should be studied. One issue is presented below.



Students learn about:

Students learn to:

Suggested teaching and learning strategies

Themes and challenges

Issues that involve an Australian in a domestic jurisdiction, or Australian citizen(s) in another jurisdiction, focusing on the mechanisms for achieving justice and the responsiveness of the legal system when attempts are made to achieve justice



  • examine at least two contemporary issues that involve Australian citizen(s) in either a domestic or another jurisdiction










  • Contemporary issues case study: the detention of David Hicks

Links to learn about statements in Parts 1


and 2





Contemporary issue 1: the detention of David Hicks
Note: This topic is not designed to be about the guilt or innocence of Hicks. Rather, the focus should be an examination of the legal process.

Background to this issue:


ICT activity: Research the case of David Hicks. Students compile a basic timeline to do with his detention, noting the date of the beginning of the detention, the date and nature of the original allegations, the dates and nature of changes to the allegations, the appointment of legal representation, the trial appearances, subsequent developments and his ultimate release.





  • state sovereignty (Part I: The legal system)




Students investigate the mechanisms available to Hicks and the Australian Government to achieve justice, and the responsiveness of the legal system in attempting to achieve justice. Students also consider the role of sovereignty.

Activity: Review the rights and protection given to citizens in another jurisdiction (from Part II).

What assistance was given by the Australian Government to David Hicks as an Australian citizen being held in another jurisdiction?






  • individuals or groups in conflict with the state




Class discussion: What made Hicks’s circumstances different to other Australians in legal disputes in foreign jurisdictions?

Students debate: Should rights be an automatic entitlement, or should extreme situations remove these rights? Record the major arguments for and against on the board.
Activity: Students investigate the background and major principles of the Geneva Convention, and anti-torture conventions.

  • relationship between justice, law and society




  • instruments of international law – conventions (Part I – The legal system)






Resources: Hot Topics, No. 58, Terrorism, 2006

Burnside, Julian, 2008, Watching Brief: Reflections on Human Rights, Law and Justice, Scribe Publications, Carlton North.


www.lawcouncil.asn.au/programs/criminal-law-human-rights/human-rights/hicks.cfm

The Case Against David Hicks, ABC Four Corners, 31/10/05
www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2005/s1491717.htm

Crowe, Jonathon, ‘Combatant Status and the War on Terror – Lessons from the Hicks case’, Alternative Law Journal, Vol 33, No. 2, June 2008

LIAC Crime Library


  • the importance of the rule of law




  • basic legal concepts –procedural fairness, rule of law, access (Part I – The legal system)




  • describe the legal and non-legal responses to this issue

  • evaluate the effectiveness of the legal and non-legal responses to this issue




Activity: Students examine the Hicks case and show deep knowledge of earlier work by highlighting issues about the legal process under the following points:

  • procedural fairness

  • rule of law

  • access to the law

  • sovereignty

  • balancing the protection of the rights of an individual with those of the state.

  • the relationship between rights and responsibilities (from Part II)




  • Resolving disputes (Topic II: the individual and the law)
    non-legal methods: role of media, interest groups (including non-government organisations)



Criteria to evaluate effectiveness could include:


  • resource efficiency

  • accessibility

  • enforceability

  • responsiveness

  • protection of individual rights

  • meeting society’s needs

  • application of the rule of law

  • has justice been achieved?


Activity: Students and teacher discuss the role of the media. Teacher collects for comparison an early and later example of a media article (from the internet). Discuss the extent to which the media can sway public opinion and subsequent political decisions regarding the law.
Activity – extended response:

‘To argue that one should not have preventative detention for suspected terrorists is to avoid the real issues that must be faced involving, among other factors, weighing the risk of wrongful incarceration of one person against the risk of a preventable terrorist attack occurring. The risk of mass destruction and loss of life is clearly a highly relevant consideration. The government claims to have found the appropriate balance’ – David Bennett


QC AC.

Discuss this statement.




  • the development of law as a reflection of society



  • the effectiveness of legal and non-legal mechanisms in achieving justice for individuals and society

The research and investigation process

The development of students’ research and investigative skills is encouraged throughout the course, particularly in Preliminary Part III The law in practice. This unit is designed to provide opportunities for students to deepen their understanding of the principles of law covered in Parts I and II of the Preliminary course. Students will develop the research, analytical and communication skills that underpin the process of investigation. They should learn to locate, evaluate and synthesise information from a range of sources, including cases, legislation, the media, legal documents and international instruments to support a legal argument. They learn to evaluate websites and determine which websites are the most relevant and reliable for their topics.

The process of research and investigation may include:


  • planning and conducting legal investigations

  • comprehending written sources

  • locating, selecting and organising relevant information from a variety of sources

  • summarising and synthesising main ideas to develop and support a legal argument

  • using a variety of sources to develop a view about legal issues

  • identifying legal debates, problems and issues relevant to the topic

  • analysing sources for their usefulness, relevance and reliability

  • identifying different legal perspectives and interpretations evident in sources

  • formulating relevant research questions and hypotheses relevant to the

    investigation



  • using legal terms and concepts appropriately

  • refining the argument – revisiting the original question/hypothesis and reviewing it in light of new material, eg the introduction of new sources may change conclusions drawn

  • presenting and communicating the findings of the investigation using appropriate and well-structured oral and/or written and/or multimedia forms, including ICT.



Communication/presentation

A variety of modes of presentation may be used including:



  • extended responses

  • a legal report or brief

  • PowerPoint or other ICT format

  • oral presentation

  • group work.

The following proforma may be useful for students in planning their legal investigation.





Student notes


Date

  1. Choosing my issue

(an issue is something which is contentious or problematic

and which can be seen from a variety of viewpoints)

  • What am I interested in?

  • What will be my focus?

  • Is it contemporary?

  • What do I already know about my issue?

  • Is there a specific event, case or situation which
    highlights my issue?

  • Have I checked the syllabus?

  • Have I submitted my issue for checking by the teacher?







2 Locating my information







  • Where do I start?

  • What sources could I use?

  • Have I used a variety of sources? (sources could
    include websites, media, case reports, legislation,
    documents, international instruments)







3 Selecting and organising my information







  • Have I made a list of useful sources of information?

  • Can I identify the most useful/reliable sources,
    including websites, from this list?

  • Do I have a diverse and balanced range of sources?

  • Do these sources represent a range of perspectives,

    facts and opinions?


  • Am I recording details for my bibliography as I go?







4 Analysing and synthesising my information







  • Does my information address the issue?

  • Which legal and non-legal responses am I going to

  • address?

  • What judgement(s) am I going to make about the

effectiveness of these responses in relation to my issue?

  • What criteria am I going to use to make those

judgements (ie to evaluate the effectiveness)?

  • Have I checked the syllabus?







5 Planning my response







  • How will I present my response?

  • Does my response meet the requirements of the marking criteria?

  • Is my response logical and well structured?

  • Have I included appropriate legal terminology?

  • Have I included relevant legal information and ideas?

  • Have I included a bibliography?







6 Self-evaluation







  • Have I answered the question?
  • Have I clearly identified and addressed the issue?


  • Have I done a final edit of my work? (hint – read it

aloud, have another person review it before submission)

  • What did I learn from this process?








Analysing a website

The internet contains an enormous amount of useful information. It can provide access to libraries, databases and legal experts from around the world. The internet also contains irrelevant material that students often use indiscriminately. Students need to be aware that each site is constructed by an individual or an organisation for a purpose. There is little, if any, editing, quality control or censorship of websites. Students of Legal Studies need to evaluate a website to know whether the information it contains is useful and reliable.


The following criteria are useful for evaluating websites. After applying the criteria, the material contained in the site can be more closely evaluated using the criteria for analysing legal sources.


1 Decode the URL


The first step in evaluating a site is to decode its uniform resource locator or URL. This indicates what type of site it is, such as government, commercial or educational.


Example

URL

Type of site

Site

hsc.csu.edu.au

edu

education

HSC Online

lawlink.gov.nsw.au


gov

government agency

Attorney-General’s Department

abc.net.au

net

network related

Australian Broadcasting Commission

smh.com.au

com

commercial

Sydney Morning Herald

greenpeace.org

org

non-profit and research organisations

Greenpeace


2 Identify the author or creator of the site


  • Does the site show the author or creator?

  • Does the site show the author’s qualifications or experience?

  • Does the site include an email address for contacting the author?

Most legitimate and reliable sites include details of the author or creator.




3 Links


  • Is the site linked to other sites related to the topic?

Most quality sites link to other related sites.




4 Purpose


  • Why does the site exist?

Is it to provide information, to sell something, to persuade you to think a particular way, to promote a particular cause? Identifying the site purpose is an important step in the evaluation process.




5 Currency


  • Are there dates on the page to indicate when the page was written or last updated?

Site reliability checklist



Could be unreliable


Should be reliable

Site produced by private individual(s) but no

information is given about them, eg Wikipedia



Site produced by well-qualified individuals, eg from

universities or respected journalists



Site where no information is given about the

author or agency



Public organisation which has a clear ethical charter,
eg Amnesty International

Site where no author or agency is shown

Government site, educational site, non-profit research organisation site

Site which uses racist, sexist or violent language

to get its message across



Site which presents information objectively rather than emotionally

Site which is biased or features stereotypes,

distortions and exaggerations



Site which provides a statement of intent which will help

you detect a point of view and bias



Site which takes extreme viewpoints without

providing verifiable evidence



Site which provides both sides of a discussion, supported

by verifiable evidence



Site which is not dated

Site which is dated and recently updated

4 Sample Preliminary course assessment tasks

The sample assessment programs and tasks provided in this document have been developed using advice provided in the Board of Studies publication HSC Assessment in a Standards-referenced Framework: a Guide to Best Practice, published in November 2003, and The New Higher School Certificate Assessment Support Document which assists teachers to incorporate the key features of standards-referenced assessment into their assessment planning. Teachers are strongly advised to consult these documents in designing their assessment programs and individual tasks.

The tasks provided on the following pages has been developed from Sample Program 1. They have been designed using the steps outlined in the assessment support document. The tasks provide:


  • a clear indication of outcomes to be assessed

  • clear instructions to students

  • explicit advice to the students about the criteria to be used for assessing their performance

  • a marking scheme related to the criteria.



4.1 Preliminary course: Sample Assessment Task 1



Law reform webquest

Nature of task: ICT investigation, report submission and extended response.
Weighting: 25% Marks: 25
Outcomes to be assessed

P3. describes the operation of domestic and international legal systems

P5. describes the role of law in encouraging cooperation and resolving conflict, as well as initiating and responding to change

P6. explains the nature of the interrelationship between the legal system and society

P8. locates, select and organises legal information from a variety of sources including legislation, cases, media, international instruments and documents

P9. communicates legal information using well-structured responses



Task description

The task has two parts:


  • Complete the attached webquest and submit a report of no more than 1500 words of your research findings. (15 marks)

    Please note the importance of the implications of ‘All My Own Work’ and problems of plagiarism. This is individual work and your teacher must be satisfied that you completed all the work yourself.


  • Using some of your research findings, write an extended response in class time on the topic:

    ‘Domestic and international legal systems are highly effective in initiating and responding to change.’ Discuss this statement with reference to:



    • the conditions that give rise to law reform

    • the agencies of reform

    • the mechanisms of reform. (10 marks)


Procedure

  1. Students will have TWO lessons in class to complete the webquest.

  2. On the date specified by your teacher you will be required to submit the webquest report.

  3. After class discussion of the findings of the webquest research, at a date specified by your teacher, you will be required to complete the extended response in class time.


Task rubric

You will be assessed on your ability to:



  • complete all aspects of the webquest research in report form

  • locate, select and organise legal information from a variety of sources including legislation, cases, media, international instruments and documents

  • discuss the role of domestic and international legal systems in initiating and responding to change

  • demonstrate an understanding of the conditions that give rise to law reform, and the agencies and mechanisms of law reform

  • communicate legal information using a well-structured response.


Marking guidelines


Criteria

Marks

  • comprehensively answers all aspects of the webquest
  • comprehensively uses relevant legal information from a variety of sources


  • demonstrates extensive knowledge of the role of domestic and international legal systems in initiating and responding to change

  • demonstrates detailed understanding of the conditions that give rise to law reform, the agencies and mechanisms of law reform

  • communicates information in a balanced and well-structured response

21–25


  • answers most aspects of the webquest

  • uses relevant legal information from a variety of sources

  • demonstrates detailed knowledge of the role of domestic and international legal systems in initiating and responding to change

  • demonstrates an understanding of the conditions that give rise to law reform, the agencies and mechanisms of law reform

  • communicates information in a structured response

16–20


  • answers most aspects of the webquest

  • uses legal information from sources

  • demonstrates knowledge of the role of domestic and/or international legal systems in initiating and/or responding to change

  • demonstrates a limited understanding of the conditions that give rise to law reform, the agencies and mechanisms of law reform

  • communicates some relevant information

11–15


  • answers some aspects of the webquest

  • uses legal information
  • demonstrates limited understanding of the role of domestic and international legal systems in initiating and/or responding to change


  • may show some understanding of the conditions that give rise to law reform and/or the agencies and/or mechanisms of law reform

  • communicates information

6–10


  • answers some aspects of the webquest

  • makes general statements about law reform

1–5



WEbquest

Using your own knowledge and the internet, complete the following webquest. Compile your answers in a word document as you go. Give your document a heading and add your name and your teacher’s name. Remember to save your work regularly.

Law reform is the process of changing the law. It is done for many reasons and considered by a number of agencies of reform. It is then up to mechanisms such as courts and parliaments to instigate the change.

1. Conditions that give rise to lAw reform
Go to www.hsc.csu.edu.au/legal_studies/crime/


  • Using examples, outline the following conditions that give rise to law reform:

  • changing social values

  • new concepts of justice

  • new technology.



2. Agencies of Reform


a) Go to www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/lrc


  • Outline the roles of courts and parliaments in law reform and describe their limitations.

  • Outline the role of the NSW Law Reform Commission.

  • Identify and outline the features of the NSW Law Reform Commission.
  • Identify FOUR current projects that the NSW Law Reform Commission is working on.


  • Construct a flow diagram to illustrate the steps in the law reform process in NSW.

  • Identify and describe the other organisations which are also ‘catalysts of change’ in NSW.

b) Go to www.alrc.gov.au/





  • When and why was the Australian Law Reform Commission established?

  • Outline the accountability of the Australian Law Reform Commission.

  • Why is it one of the most effective and influential agents of change in Australia?

  • Identify the aims of the Australian Law Reform Commission.

  • List FOUR areas that the Australian Law Reform Commission is currently working on.

  • Construct a flow diagram of a ‘typical inquiry’.

  • Find and read a current case study. Name the case study and provide a brief outline of the case.



c) Go to: www.redcross.org.au
Australia

  • Outline the mission of the Australian Red Cross as a non-governmental organisation.

  • Watch the video on ‘Our Principles’ and list the fundamental principles of the organisation.


International

  • When was the International Red Cross established and why?

  • Outline the role of the International Red Cross today.

d) Go to any Australian newspaper website.




  • Identify THREE articles in the newspaper that are highlighting law reform.

  • Provide:

    • the headline

    • the source and date

    • a brief description of each.




3. Mechanisms of Reform
a) Go to: www.liac.sl.nsw.gov.au
Go to Hot Topics online: The Australian legal system, No. 60, 2007.


  • Outline the role of the mechanisms of law reform

     legislature

     judiciary

     executive





  • Outline the impact of international law on Australian law.




b) Go to: www.un.org/Pubs/CyberSchoolBus
Go to ‘The UN: An Introduction for Students. The UN System.’


  • Outline the limitations the UN has as a mechanism of change.

  • Identify ONE area of law reform in Australia where international law has had an impact.

c) Go to: europa.eu/abc/12lessons/index_en.htm




  • Why was there a need for the European Union?

  • How does the EU work and how many nationalities does it involve?

  • Identify FOUR policy areas that the EU is working for on behalf of its member states.

  • Outline the limitations the EU has as a mechanism of change.



4.2 Preliminary course: Sample Assessment Task 2



Law in practice: Investigating a contemporary issue
Nature of task: Research and report
Weighting: 25% Marks: 25

Outcomes to be assessed

P6: explains the nature of the interrelationship between the legal system and society

P7: evaluates the effectiveness of the law in achieving justice

P8: locates, selects and organises legal information from a variety of sources including legislation, cases, media, international instruments and documents

P9: communicates legal information using well-structured responses

P10: accounts for differing perspectives and interpretations of legal information and issues


Task description

In order to complete this task you will be required to:



  • select a contemporary issue

  • research the legal and non-legal responses to this issue

  • using criteria, evaluate the effectiveness of the legal and non-legal responses in achieving justice in relation to this issue

  • present your findings in the form of a report of no more than 1000 words.



Procedure

Using the research investigation proforma provided (see page 41) it is important to plan the allocation of time so as to complete all the steps within the required time frame.

Complete all of Step 1 and then check the proposed issue with your teacher before moving on to complete the rest of the steps.
Task rubric

You will be assessed on your ability to:



  • identify a contemporary issue

  • describe the legal and non-legal responses to this issue

  • evaluate the effectiveness of these responses using criteria (some criteria are outlined in the syllabus)

  • present a logical, well-structured response using relevant legal information and ideas

  • integrate a variety of sources and accounts for differing perspectives in the course of the evaluation.



Marking guidelines


Criteria

Marks

  • clearly identifies a contemporary issue

  • provides a detailed overview of the characteristics and features of legal and non-legal responses to the issue
  • makes a sound judgement, using criteria, as to the effectiveness of the legal and non-legal responses in achieving justice in relation to the issue


  • presents a sustained, logical and well-structured response in report format using relevant legal information and ideas

  • integrates a variety of sources and accounts for differing perspectives

21–25

  • identifies a contemporary issue

  • provides a discussion of the characteristics and features of legal and non-legal responses to the issue

  • makes a judgement, using criteria, as to the effectiveness of the legal and non-legal responses in achieving justice in relation to the issue

  • presents a logical and well-structured response in report format using relevant legal information and ideas

  • integrates sources and accounts for differing perspectives

16–20

  • identifies a contemporary issue

  • provides some characteristics and features of legal and non-legal responses to the issue

  • includes some discussion as to the effectiveness of the legal and non-legal responses in achieving justice in relation to the issue

  • presents a response in report format using relevant legal information and ideas

  • makes reference to some sources and/or some differing perspectives

11–15

  • identifies a contemporary issue and/or provides some characteristics and features of legal and non-legal responses to the issue

  • makes reference to the effectiveness of the law in achieving justice

  • uses some relevant legal information and/or ideas

  • makes limited reference to sources and/or differing perspectives


6–10

  • makes a general statement about the law and/or justice in relation the issue

  • makes limited use of legal information and/or ideas

  • may make limited reference to sources and/or differing perspectives

1–5

________________________ __________

Teacher’s signature Date
Student’s self-reflection:

What did I do well? _______________________________________________________________


What can I improve? ________________________________________________________________

5 Sample HSC course program






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