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 | Focus areas | Optional focus area | Example 2

Example 2: Law-making

Students develop a critical understanding of the legislative process, the making of subordinate legislation, and the processes used by judges to develop case law, including the interpretation of statutes. A consideration of how these processes affect people should be included. Students are encouraged to participate in the democratic process through activities that foster the growth of civic literacy, such as a mock parliament, a youth parliament, debates, and role plays.

In providing a response to the big questions, students make one or more connections to the concepts of rights, fairness and justice, power, and change.

Students may consider the following elements of Optional focus area: Law-making as a basis for their inquiry.

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

Current relevant structures and processes:

  • parliament
  • the court hierarchy
  • legislative process
  • process of making delegated legislation
  • how judges make law.

Big questions:

  • Should judges make law?
  • Should juries be abolished?
  • Is delegated legislation a violation of democracy?
  • Do laws change enough, or too much?
  • Why do we have the laws that we do?
  • Is the ‘barometer of community sentiment’ the best catalyst for creating new laws?
  • How do the experiences of individuals and groups produce a desire for change?
  • How adequately do laws provide for the future?
  • Are some laws no longer necessary? How do we know when this is the case?

Through developing their response to these big questions, students should understand and evaluate the Australian legal system’s approach to law-making, explore current legislation and any relevant cases, and make recommendations for change as appropriate.

Possible inquiry questions:

  • Who makes law?
  • What is a Bill?
  • How does a Bill become an Act?
  • What is a parent/enabling Act and what role does it play in law-making?
  • What role does the Executive have in law-making?
  • How do judges make law?
  • What are influences or influencers that cause laws to be made or changed?
  • How does each branch of government supervise law-making?
  • What responsibilities do Australians have in the law-making process?
  • How have recent changes to the law in Australia affected you?