VCE Legal Studies Units 3&4

VCE Legal Studies adjusted Study Design for 2020 only

Below is a list of specific changes to the study design, in terms of deletions and changes to assessment, as well as a list of the Key knowledge for each Outcome.

Unit 4: The people and the law

Descriptor now reads:

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. Students apply legal reasoning and information to actual scenarios.

Deleted text: “...Throughout this unit,...”.

Area of Study 1 – The people and the Australian Constitution

Please note: No change has been made to the descriptor for this Area of Study.

Outcome 1 now reads:

On completion of this unit the student should be able to evaluate the ways in which the Australian Constitution acts as a check on parliament in law-making.

Deleted text: “...discuss the significance of High Court cases involving the interpretation of the Australian Constitution and..."

Marks allocated for Outcome 1 – 20 marks (previously 40 marks)

Please note:  changes have been made to both the key knowledge and key skills related to this Area of Study.

Key knowledge

  • the roles of the Crown and the Houses of Parliament (Victorian and Commonwealth) in law-making
  • the division of constitutional law-making powers of the state and Commonwealth parliaments, including exclusive, concurrent and residual powers
  • the significance of section 109 of the Australian Constitution
  • the means by which the Australian Constitution acts as a check on parliament in law-making, including:

            - the bicameral structure of the Commonwealth parliament

            - the separation of the legislative, executive and judicial powers

            - the express protection of rights

            - the role of the High Court in interpreting the Australian Constitution

            - the requirement for a double majority in a referendum

Key skills

  • define and use legal terminology
  • discuss, interpret and analyse legal principles and information
  • compare the constitutional law-making powers of the state and Commonwealth parliaments, using examples
  • discuss the significance of section 109 of the Australian Constitution
  • evaluate the ways in which the Australian Constitution acts as a check on parliament in law-making
  • analyse the ability of the Australian people to protect or change the Australian Constitution
  • synthesise and apply legal principles to actual scenarios.

This chart sets out the Key knowledge dot points still required for Unit 4, Area of Study 1 of the adjusted study design and the relevant pages in Cambridge Making & Breaking the Law VCE Units 3&2 2nd Edition textbook.

Key knowledge

Textbook pages

the roles of the Crown and the Houses of Parliament (Victorian and Commonwealth) in law-making

pp. 216–233

the division of constitutional law-making powers of the state and Commonwealth parliaments, including exclusive, concurrent and residual powers

pp. 234–242

 

the significance of section 109 of the Australian Constitution

pp. 242–244

the means by which the Australian Constitution acts as a check on parliament in law-making, including:

- the bicameral structure of the Commonwealth parliament

- the separation of the legislative, executive and judicial powers

- the express protection of rights

- the role of the High Court in interpreting the Australian Constitution

 

- the requirement for a double majority in a referendum

 

 

 

pp. 244–245

pp. 245–248

pp. 249–255

pp. 255–256; 266; 272–274

pp. 256–261; 262–266

pp. 281–283 (summary and questions)

Area of Study 2 – The people, the parliament and the courts

Please note: No change has been made to the descriptor for this Area of Study.

Outcome 2

Please note: No change has been made to the outcome statement for this Area of Study.

Please note: No change has been made to either the key knowledge or key skills related to this Area of Study.

Marks allocated – 60 marks (remains unchanged)

This chart sets out the Key knowledge dot points still required for Unit 4, Area of Study 2 of the adjusted study design and the relevant pages in Cambridge Making & Breaking the Law VCE Units 3&2 2nd Edition textbook.

Key knowledge

Textbook pages

factors that affect the ability of parliament to make law, including:

- the roles of the houses of parliament

- the representative nature of parliament

- political pressures

- restrictions on the law-making powers of parliament

pp. 284–291

pp. 291–292

pp. 292–293

pp. 293–295

pp. 295

pp. 296–297 (summary and questions)

the roles of the Victorian courts and the High Court in law-making

pp. 298–312

the reasons for, and effects of, statutory interpretation

pp. 313–319

factors that affect the ability of courts to make law, including:

- the doctrine of precedent

- judicial conservatism

- judicial activism

- costs and time in bringing a case to court

- the requirement for standing

 

pp. 320

pp. 320–321

pp. 320–321

pp. 322–323

pp. 323–325

features of the relationship between courts and parliament in law-making, including:

- the supremacy of parliament

- the ability of courts to influence parliament

- the interpretation of statutes by courts

- the codification of common law

- the abrogation of common law

 

 

pp. 326–327

pp. 328–331

pp. 313–319

pp. 326

pp. 326–327

pp. 332–335 (summary and questions)

reasons for law reform

pp. 336–346

the ability and means by which individuals can influence law reform including through petitions, demonstrations and the use of the courts

pp. 346–356; 361–365

the role of the media, including social media, in law reform

pp. 356–360

the role of the Victorian Law Reform Commission and its ability to influence law reform

pp. 366–370

one recent example of the Victorian Law Reform Commission recommending law reform

pp. 368–370

the role of one parliamentary committee or one Royal Commission, and its ability to influence law reform

pp. 371–381

one recent example of a recommendation for law reform by one parliamentary committee or one Royal Commission

pp. 375–376; 378–381

pp. 382–383 (summary and questions on this and previous six key knowledge points)

the ability of parliament and the courts to respond to the need for law reform.

pp. 384–395

Contribution to final assessment

School-assessed Coursework for Unit 3 will contribute 30 percent to the study score. (Total marks 100)

School-assessed Coursework for Unit 4 will contribute 20 percent to the study score. (Total marks 80)

External assessment – End-of-year examination will contribute 50 percent to the study score.