Getting Prepared for VCE Legal Studies in 2017 – LearnMate


This article has been written by Henry Ja, a Legal Studies tutor at LearnMate. If you’re interested in private tutoring from Henry, then please check out his page here.


Getting Ahead in VCE Legal Studies in 2017!

There isn’t much connection between Year 11 Legal Studies and Year 12 Legal Studies but there are some basic concepts that will be useful for you to know:

  • Difference between civil and criminal law
  • Court hierarchy
  • Methods of civil dispute resolution
  • Civil remedies

Unit 3 is concerned with looking at the institutions (Parliament and Courts) that make the laws that we are governed by. In this unit, you will look at both the Commonwealth and Victorian Parliament as supreme lawmaking bodies, and consider the strengths and weaknesses of law-making via parliament.

You will also look at why laws may need to be changed, and how individuals can influence changes to the law (formally and informally).

There will also be a brief look at the Commonwealth Constitution, which is the document that governs the law-making powers between the Commonwealth and the States.

Specific sections of the Constitution will be focussed on namely s.109 (inconsistency) and s.128 (referendum).

There will also be a focus on the role of the High Court in constitutional interpretation. 

In addition to that, you will need to know two High Court cases that involved interpretation of the Constitution, and their impact on the law-making powers between the States and Commonwealth, as well as one High Court case that relates to the Constitutional protection of rights in Australia.

To get you to think globally, you will look at how the Constitution in other countries protect rights compared to how Australia’s Constitution protects rights. Countries include Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and USA. You will only need to know about one country.

Lastly, you will look at how the courts make laws. You will look at the concept of the doctrine of precedent, why judges need to interpret the law before them and the effect of such interpretation. Furthermore, the strengths and weaknesses of courts as lawmakers will be looked at, as well as the relationship between the courts and parliament as law-makers.

This is a brief summary of what will await you in Unit 3 Legal Studies. The key to success in Legal Studies is not through rote-learning, but being able to apply what you learnt to different contexts. Using real-life examples to support your answers is a great way to answer a question.

Keep your eyes out in the news for examples that you can use in your answers!

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-06/victorian-government-to-legislate-assisted-dying/8097838 – Victoria’s proposal to change Euthanasia laws – an example of why laws may need to change due to changes in community values on the issue with Euthanasia.

For now, what you should be doing is the following:

  1. Get a copy of the study design from the VCAA website: http://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/Documents/vce/legalstudies/legalstudiessd-2011.pdf
  2. Read the first chapter of your textbook – this should deal with most of the topics listed in Unit 3 Area of Study 1.
  3. After reading the first chapter start making your notes that will help you revise for SACs and your exams. Your notes should be in a format that can easily be read.
  4. Start keeping up to date with what is happening in the media – ABC News and news.com.au are free websites that will provide you will up to date information on what is happening around the nation and in the world!

This article has been written by Henry Ja, a Legal Studies tutor at LearnMate. If you’re interested in private tutoring from Henry, then please check out his page here.


LearnMate is Australia’s leading tutoring agency offering private lessons in all primary & high school subjects including English, maths, science, humanities, foreign languages, and so much more. Our mission is simple: to provide professional, engaging and enthusiastic tutors to students, while also ensuring the student feels empowered and confident during their assessments! Ultimately, our goal is to empower students all over Australia to achieve amazing results and make their dreams come true!

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Getting Prepared for VCE Legal Studies in 2017 – LearnMate