Stage 2 | Subject outline | version control

Legal Studies Stage 2
Subject outline

Version 4.0
For teaching in Australian and SACE International schools from January 2023 to December 2023.
For teaching in SACE International schools only from May/June 2023 to March 2024 and from May/June 2024 to March 2025. Accredited in June 2020 for teaching at Stage 2 from 2021.
Accredited in June 2020 for teaching at Stage 2 from 2021. 

Stage 2 | Subject outline | Subject description

Subject description

Legal Studies is a 20-credit subject at Stage 2.

Law is intended to facilitate fairness, justice, and harmony within communities. Legal Studies enables an understanding of the operation of the Australian legal system, its principles and processes, and prepares students to be informed and articulate in matters of the law and society.

Central to Legal Studies is an exploration of the competing tensions that arise between rights and responsibilities, fairness and efficiency, the empowered and the disempowered, and certainty and flexibility. Laws must constantly evolve in order to resolve these tensions, while also responding to changes in community values and circumstances.

Legal Studies is explored through the mechanism of asking ‘big questions’. Big questions stimulate deep thinking and engagement, and the consideration of a range of perspectives. Students must develop an argument in response to these questions, by evaluating, analysing and applying contextually appropriate legal principles, processes, evidence, and cases. Students consider a range of perspectives to make recommendations for reforms to the legal system and laws.

Students explore rights and responsibilities, sources of law, and adversarial and inquisitorial dispute resolution processes. Through Legal Studies, students examine how people, governments and institutions shape the law and how law controls, shapes, and regulates interactions between people, institutions, and government. Students develop an understanding of the ways in which they can influence democratic processes, the importance of critical and conceptual thinking, and the significance of checks and balances in providing lawful mechanisms to control the exercise of power.

Legal Studies empowers students to evaluate evidence in order to make decisions and potentially substantiated recommendations about legal principles and processes. Conceptual understanding and analysis allow transference within and across disciplines and for future learning. This skill development enables students to approach new situations and contexts with an analytical and problem-solving mindset.

The capabilities are deeply embedded in the nature of thinking, learning, and engagement with others.