Course Title: Judicial Studies

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Judicial Studies

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


365H Global Studies, Soc Sci & Plng


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 2 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 2 2011


City Campus


365H Global Studies, Soc Sci & Plng


Sem 2 2011

Course Coordinator: Michael Benes

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 99257797

Course Coordinator

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

What is this course about?
This course examines the role of the legal profession, judiciary and jury with the context of the adversary system of justice, and critically evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of judicial process. Particular attention is focussed on identifying major obstacles to fairness and efficiency in the dispensing of justice with the Australian criminal justice system. Students will be exposed to some specific issues in the adversary system such as history, structure, role and social composition of the legal profession; the judiciary, legal language and reasoning; judicial independence; prosecution, the function of the DPP; historical role, decision making, changing nature of and research into juries; philosophy and various theoretical aspects of sentencing and practices and guidance in sentencing process.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

What can I expect to learn by studying this course?
Students at the completion of this course will be expected to:

(1) Have an understanding of the nature, functions and related aspects of the adversary criminal trial.
(2) Be cognisant of a range of perspectives related to the legal profession, prosecution, judiciary and jury within the context of the adversarial system of justice;
(3) Have an understanding of the four primary philosophical reasons for sentencing offenders, sentencing hearing and the structure of sentencing, and the discretion in the sentencing process.
(4) Be able to critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the judicial process;
(5) Be able to articulate contemporary developments within the judicial process, and identify major obstacles to fairness and efficiency in the dispensation of justice.


Overview of Learning Activities

The course will be delivered in a face-to-face mode with a blend of learning activities, including tutorial, seminars, lectures, guest speakers presentations, videos and student lead discussions. However, students should be aware that they are expected to conduct their own research into the relevant topics and to closely analyse issues and problems raised in lectures. It will be necessary to adopt this approach if students wish to obtain good results in essays and assignments. Mere recapitulation of material delivered in lectures, as the sole content of essays or assignments will not be sufficient to obtain satisfactory assessment.

Overview of Learning Resources

There is no prescribed text for this course. The course itself is not structured around this one text, and a wide range of additional/alternative texts has been suggested on the Reading List provided in part B. Advice will be given on relevant readings throughout the course as various topics are addressed - the Reading List is designed as a resource, you are not expected to read everything

Overview of Assessment

Assessment is on the basis of assignment(s) and/or an exam. These assessment activities are based on the directed reading from the set text and the lecture and tutorial materials and are designed so that you can demonstrate your skills and understanding concepts and issues central to the study of terrorism and society. Details of your assessment tasks shall be provided in part B of the course guide.