Stage 1 | Subject outline | version control

Legal Studies Stage 1
Subject outline

Version 4.0 - For teaching in 2024.
Accredited in June 2020 for teaching at Stage 1 from 2021. 

Stage 1 | Subject outline | Concepts | Change


Change is a central concept in Legal Studies. As a society, we expect that the law will develop and progress to reflect our changing beliefs and values. Students analyse elements of our legal system that change through necessity, and the elements that must remain constant for our system to function effectively.

Students may examine the concept of change from the perspective of:

  • changes in societal values, and the impact of these changes on our laws
  • changes in case law and legislation over time
  • constitutional change (or the lack of change)
  • international influence.

Students may contrast these changes with elements of the Australian legal system that remain constant, or simply consider why these elements have not changed. For example:

  • features of the adversarial system
  • roles and structure of parliament
  • underlying principles of the adversarial and Westminster systems.

Students may consider the following big questions:

  • Is the ‘barometer of community sentiment’ the best catalyst for the creation of new laws?
  • How do the experiences of individuals and groups produce a desire for change?
  • How adequately do laws provide for the future?
  • Do our laws need changing?
  • Do our laws change too much?
  • Do interest groups hinder or promote change?
  • Does the media play too powerful a role in driving change?