Course Title: Legal process

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2012

Course Code: LAW5187

Course Title: Legal process

School: 650T TAFE Business

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6106 - Advanced Diploma of Legal Practice

Course Contact : Doug Gourlay

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 5944

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Paul Ryan is likely to be the co-ordinator of this course.

Paul Ryan

Building 108; level 10; room 02.   Telephone 9925 5466.

Nominal Hours: 51

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites


Course Description

The purpose of the module is to provide detailed knowledge and skills of the Australian legal system as might be relevant for a person working in a legal office, or associated fields in the public or corporate sectors. Knowledge of the Australian legal system will enable analysis and evaluation of the institutions in the legal system, investigation and classification of the sources of Australian law and discussion and evaluation of the concepts underlying the application of law.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VU20111 Legal process

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course you will be able to:

Learning Outcome 1 - Report on the constitutional structure of government and the sources of law in Australia. Evaluate the functions of the three main institutions, parliament, governments and the courts.
Assessment criteria
1.1 Identify the structure of government in Australia:
• Main institutions of government
- Parliaments - Governments - Courts
• Commonwealth and State constitutions
• Federal system of government
1.2 Present diagrammatically and outline the hierarchal structure of government in Australia as noted in 1.1.
1.3 Outline and evaluate the functions of government, and provide an example of each.
1.4 Define and trace the developmental sources of Australian Law.
1.5 Assess rules for resolving conflicts of laws.

Learning Outcome 2 - Analyse and evaluate devision of the functions of government between the Commonwealth and the States in Australia, and determine the limits on the powers of each level of government.
Assessment criteria
2.1 Assess the reasons for and purposes of Federation.
2.2 Identify the legislative powers of the Commonwealth with reference to specific powers, exclusive powers and concurrent powers.
2.3 Determine the limits on the legislative powers of the Commonwealth with reference to implied limitations-specific powers, express prohibitions and referenda.
2.4 Analyse the extent and influence of the Legislative powers of States with reference to territorial limitations, concurrent powers and residual powers.
2.5 Evaluate the relationship between the legislative powers of the Commonwealth and States. Consider the following aspects:
• Exclusive powers of the Commonwealth
• Inconsistency between Commonwealth and State Law
• External affairs power and the role of the High Court

Learning Outcome 3 - Evaluate the differences in the law and procedure which distinguish civil and criminal proceedings, determine and outline which court(s) would hear particular cases.
Assessment criteria
3.1 Use a case study to evaluate Criminal Law with specific reference to:
• Summary offences
• Indictable offences
• Mens Rea
• Strict Liability
• Penalties
3.2 Evaluate Civil Law with specific reference to areas of law and remedies.
3.3 Analyse and distinguish between the aspects of Criminal and Civil actions.
3.4 Identify and present diagrammatically the jurisdictions of Victorian and federal courts.

Learning Outcome 4 - Evaluate the adversary system of trial used in Australian courts.
Assessment criteria
4.1 Identify the main features of the adversary system of trial and compare with the inquisitorial system used in civil law countries in relation to:
• Role of the parties
• Role of the judge
• Use of juries
4.2 Determine and outline the pre-trial procedures required in the adversary system.
4.3 Outline and evaluate the role of trial procedures with specific reference to a criminal trial and civil hearing.

Learning Outcome 5 - Determine evaluate and apply alternative dispute resolution procedures. Compare alternative dispute resolution procedures with the legal process of dispute resolution.
Assessment criteria
5.1 Determine reasons why a person may not wish to take legal action to resolve a dispute in a particular case study.
5.2 Propose ways of using alternative dispute resolution procedures in a particular example.
5.3 Evaluate alternative dispute resolution procedures and compare with legal actions in relation to:
• Costs
• Time involved
• Formality of procedures
• Likelihood of disputes being resolved to the satisfaction of all parties
• Confidentiality
5.4 Evaluate how alternative dispute resolutions are used within the court system. 

Learning Outcome 6 - Outline and evaluate the role of judicial law making. Analyse a precedent, identify the ratio decidendi and obiter dicta and apply to case study material.
Assessment criteria
6.1 Assess judicial law making with reference to:
• Sources of precedent
• Reporting of case law
• Binding precedent
• Ratio decidendi
• Obiter dicta
6.2 Outline the means by which precedent changes with reference to:
• Applying and extending
• Distinguishing
• Reversing
• Overruling
• Disapproving
• Abrogating and inconsistency with legislation
6.3 Analyse a precedent and identify and apply the ratio decidendi and obiter dicta in relation to case study material.
6.4 Outline and evaluate the process of judicial law making and list its advantages and disadvantages.

Learning Outcome 7 - Analyse outline and assess the process of enactment of legislation by Parliament and the making of delegated legislation.
Assessment criteria
7.1 Outline and present diagrammatically the passage of legislation through Parliament.
7.2 Identify and assess the elements of an Act of Parliament.
7.3 Determine the classifications of Acts of Parliament.
7.4 Analyse the process of making delegated legislation.

Learning Outcome 8 - Evaluate the approaches to the interpretation of legislation applied by the courts.
Assessment criteria
8.1 Determine and outline the reasons why interpretation of legislation is required.
8.2 Evaluate the approaches to the interpretation of legislation applied by the courts.
8.3 Illustrate the application of the approaches to the interpretation of legislation in relation to particular provisions of legislation and case study material.
8.4 Outline and evaluate the role interpretation of legislation in the content of judicial law making.

Learning Outcome 9 - Outline sources of legal information, search primary sources of law and identify an Act of Parliament and a reported case.
Assessment criteria
9.1 Determine and outline the primary sources of law.
9.2 Identify secondary sources of law.
9.3 Search primary sources of law and identify given examples of laws with reference to Act of Parliament, regulation and reported decision.

Details of Learning Activities

Students will study Legal Process skills and theory in class sessions and through prescribed exercises and assessment work. These concepts will also be explored through the investigation of appropriate real world and simulated environments.

Teaching Schedule

Week Beginning  - Full Time Students  Topic Assessment
Week 1 – 6 Feb  Overview of Course (Orientation Sessions) 
Week 2 – 13 Feb

 Sources of Legal Information


Week 3 – 20 Feb

  Sources of Law


Week 4 – 27 Feb 

  Australian Constitution


Week 5 – 5 Mar

  Criminal versus Civil

Week 6 - 12 Mar

 Court Jursidiction and Hierarchy (court visit)

Week 7 - 19 March

  Alternative Dispute Resolution

Week 8 – 26 Mar

Court Jurisdiction and Hierarchy. Court Presentations and Reports (20%) to be conducted during class

 Court Presentations and Reports (20%)

Week 9.1 –  2 April

 The Doctrine of Precedent Application 

 Mock Court Cases to be assigned.
Week 9.2 - 9 April

 Mid Semester Break 

Week 10 – 16 April

 The Parliamentary Process


Week 11 – 23 April

 Understanding Legislation 
Week 12 – 30 April

 Interpretation of Legislation


Assignments due (30%)
Week 13 – 7 May  Preparation of Cases
  See Class Participation
Week 14 – 14 May   Mock Court Cases 
Mock Case hearings (20%)
Week 15 – 21 May


Week 16 – 28 May

 Open book Test (2 hours)

 Class Test -open book (30%)
Week 17 – 4 June

  Outcome of Mock Court Cases, Feedback and Assessment Review





Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

Andy Gibson and Douglas Fraser Business Law  (Pearson, 6ed,2011)

Peter Butt (ed) Butterworths ConciseAustralian Legal Dictionary (Butterworths 4ed, 2010)

Sara Dehm and David Heaton (eds) Australian Guide to Legal Citation (Melbourne University Law Review Association, 3ed,2010)


Cook, et al. Laying Down the Law ( Aust:Butterworths:most recent edition)
Carvan J Understanding the Australian Legal System, 2nd Edition  (Law Book Company 1994)
Campbell, et. Al. Legal Research Materials and Methods (Law Book Company) 
Chisholm and Nettheim, Understanding Law (Australia:Butterworths:2007)
Gifford and Gifford How to Understand and Act of Parliament (Law Book Comp)
Harvey C Cornerstones of Australian Law 2ed (Aust: Tilde University Press 2007)
Hall, K Legislation(Australia; Butterworths: most recent edition)
Pearce D C Statutory interpretation in Australia (Aust: Butterworths most recent edition)
Vermeesch and Lingren Business Law of Australia (Butterworths)
Vickery and Pendleton Australian Business Law (Australia: Pearson Education:most recent edition)

Marantelli and Tikotin The Australian Legal Dictionary (Edward Arnold, Australia)
John Burkie Osborn’s Concise Law Dictionary (Sweet and Maxwell)
The CCH Macquarie Concise Dictionary of Modern Law

Other Resources

Australian Legal Sites (

Australasian Legal Information Institute (

CCH Online (To access this database RMIT University students should go to the RMIT library’s Search it page at, click on the Databases link and logon with their student login.)

ComLaw (

Lawbook Online (To access this database RMIT University students should go to the RMIT library’s Search it page at, click on the Databases link and logon with their student login.)

LexisNexis AU (To access this database RMIT University students should go to the RMIT library’s Search it page at, click on the Databases link and logon with their student login.)

Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents (

High Court of Australia (

Federal Court of Australia (

Family Court (

Federal Magistrates Court (

Supreme Court of Victoria (

County Court of Victoria (

Magistrates’ Court of Victoria (

Administrative Appeals Tribunal (

Victorian Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal (

Overview of Assessment

To pass, a student must demonstrate the achievement of all the learning outcomes. Assessment will be by various methods and is stated against each learning outcome. Assessment methods are designed to measure satisfactory achievement of all of the learning outcomes and may include:

• Case study analysis

• Short answers questions

• Written assignment/reports

• Oral presentations

• Project (s)

Students are advised that they are likely to be asked to personally demonstrate their assessment work to their teacher to ensure that the relevant competency standards are being met.

Assessment Tasks

To pass this course students must satisfactorily complete all assessment and have a total mark of not less than 50%.
Assessment will be by means of: 

1. Court Report & Presentation 20% in week 8
2. Written assignment 30% in week 12.  

3. Mock Court Case 20% in week 14
4. Class Test  (open book) 30% in week 16. 

Assessment Matrix

Course Overview: Access Course Overview