Course Title: Legal process

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2015

Course Code: LAW5187

Course Title: Legal process

School: 650T Vocational Business Education

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

Andrew Webster - Course Coordinator

Location;  Building 80 (SAB), Level 5
Phone:  9925-5458

Contact hours:  Mondays, 2.30pm-4.30pm

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

A range of learning experiences are planned for this course including class and online activities, group problem solving and group debates.  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

Prior to training commencement a program level induction session will be conducted that comprises the following:

  • Program overview and requirements
  • MyRMIT/Blackboard
  • Overview of assessment requirements
  • Pre-Training Review including: Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfers and   o Assessment of current skills and knowledge
  • Competency/Grading Criteria
  • Plagiarism
  • Appeals
  • Extensions
  • Feedback
  • Privacy
  • Submission requirements
  • Resubmission policy
  • Where to get support
  • Student responsibilities

The nominal hours associated with this course are a guide only and represent the total teaching time and student effort required to successfully complete the course. This may include not only scheduled classes but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.




Assessment Tasks

1 9th Feb

Introduction to the Course including:
Course requirements
Course support documents
Course Blackboard access
Accuracy of enrolment
Assessment requirements/Cover Sheets

 Submission requirements
Feedback in this course
Getting help

 Overview of the course

2 16th Feb Sources of Legal Information, Sources of law 
3 23rd Feb

 Sources of Law, Australian Constitution


4 2nd Mar

Australian Constitution, Criminal versus Civil

Distribution of Assessment Task 1 - Court Visit and Report - (25%) - Learning outcomes 3 & 4

 Assessment Task 1 - 25% - to be distributed. Court visit and report, due to be submitted and presented in week 7
5 9th MarCriminal versus Civil, Court jurisdiction and Hierarchy, Alternative Dispute resolution 
616th Mar

 Court Jursidiction and Hierarchy, Alternative dispute resolution


7 23rd Mar Court visit (Assessment Task 1 - 25%) 
830th Mar

 Court jurisdiction and hierarchy presentations and reports (25%) to be conducted during class

 Distribution of Assessment Task 2 - Moot Court cases (30%)- Learning outcomes 3,4,6,7,8 &9

Assessment task 1 - 25% -  to be submitted, oral presentations to be conducted.

Assessment task 2 - 30% - to be distributed. Moot Court Cases, due to be conducted in week 14.

   Mid-semester break (2-8 April)  
913th Apr Alternative dispute resolution, The doctrine of precedent application


10 20th Apr

 The doctrine of precedent application, The parliamentary process


11 27th Apr

The parliamentary process, Understanding Legislation


12 4th May

 Understanding legislation, Interpretation of Legislation


13 11th May

 Preparation of Moot Court Cases

14 18th May

 Mock Court Cases

 Assessment task 2 - 30% -  Moot Court cases to be conducted
15 25th May Open book test (45% - 2 hours) - all learning outcomes - Open Book Test - 45% - all learning outcomes to be assessed.
16 1st June Outcome of Mock Court cases, Feedback, deferred assessments, and assessment review 

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

M. L. Barron,  Fundamentals of Business Law , (McGraw Hill, 7 edition, 2012) Peter Butt (ed) Butterworths,  Concise Australian Legal Dictionary, (Butterworths 4 edition,  2010)

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


Other Resources

It is recommended that you have access to a mobile computing device to allow greater flexibility in terms of where you can work on campus outside class times.

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 (

Federal Circuit Court of Australia formally known as 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 demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes in this course the following evidence is essential:

  • Knowledge of the Australian legal system
  • Analysis and evaluation of the institutions in the legal system
  • Investigation and classification of the sources of Australian law
  • Evaluation of the concepts underlying the application of law

To pass this course you need to demonstrate you are competent to the industry standard as required of a paralegal. To achieve this, you must complete all assessments to an acceptable industry standard.

You will be assessed against your skills and knowledge and will receive feedback on each assessment task that will inform you whether you have performed to industry standard or not and how well you are performing.

Assessment Task 1 - Court visit and report
Due Date:  Week 7 - Week commencing 23rd March

Submission Procedure:

Written report to be lodged through turnitin

Group oral presentations to be conducted in class

The purpose of this assessment is to firstly develop students basic understanding of the legal system in Victoria by viewing a court case in a real life setting and to then in groups to present a report of their court experience both orally and in writing. The written report is also include an individual research aspect with each student to review a current legal article appearing in the media and to identify the legal issues appearing in the article.

Assessment Task 2 - Moot Court case hearings

Due Date: - Week 14 - Week commencing 18th May

Submission Procedure: 

Written report to be submitted through turnitin

Court hearings to be undertaken by way of oral presentations

The purpose of this assessment is for students to replicate their real life court experience gained in court in assessment task 1 with actively participating in a simulated moot court case, the facts of which are provided to the students in the assessment task. Students are allocated the role of either judge, counsel or solicitor and as well as "appearing" in the moot court, are also required to present a written report according to their particular role.

Assessment Task 3 -
Due Date:

Week 15 - week commencing 25th May

Submission Procedure:  

Open book test

The purpose of this assessment is to assess the body of learning for the course by assessing all learning outcomes.


Feedback will be provided throughout the semester in class and/or online discussions.  You are encouraged to ask and answer questions during class time and online sessions so that you can obtain feedback on your understanding of the concepts and issues being discussed.  Finally, you can email or arrange an appointment with your teacher to gain more feedback on your progress.

You should take note of all feedback received and use this information to improve your learning outcomes and final performance in the course.

Assessment Matrix

Marking Guide:

Grades received throughout semester are only indicative of your performance. These grades will only contribute to your final grade if you complete all assessments to an acceptable industry standard. If students cannot demonstrate competency across all learning outcomes or elements of the course the maximum grade they can achieve is NN or NYC. If students fail to submit one or more pieces of assessment, the maximum grade available is DNS.

Please refer to the Final Grades table below:

80-100HDHigh Distinction
DNSDNSDid Not Submit for assessment

Further information regarding the application of the grading criteria will be provided by your teacher.

Other Information

Submission Requirements

You should:

  • Ensure that you submit assessments on or before the due date:
  • Always retain a copy of your assessment tasks (hard copy and soft copy).
  • When you submit work for assessment at RMIT University you need to use a cover sheet that includes a declaratio and statement of authorship. You must complete, sign and submit a cover sheet with all work you submit fo
  • assessment, whether individual or group work. On the cover sheet you declare that the work you are presenting for assessment is your own work. An assignment cover sheet for submission of work for assessment is available on Blackboard.
  • Each page of your assessment should include a footer with your name, student number, the title of the assessment, unit code and title and page numbers.

Late Submission Procedures

If you are prevented from submitting an assessment on time, by circumstances outside your control, you must apply in advance for an extension to the due date of up to seven calendar days.
  More Information:
  Form to use:

Where an extension of greater than seven days is needed, you must apply for special consideration. Applications for special consideration must be submitted no later than two working days after the assessment task deadline or scheduled examination.
More Information:;ID=g43abm17hc9w
Form to use:

Reassessment policy
Students who achieve an indicative grade of greater than 50%, yet have not demonstrated competency across all learning outcomes will be given the opportunity to undertake an oral questioning with the assessor in which they will be required to demonstrate competence in the elements or learning outcomes not yet demonstrated. If students cannot demonstrate competency across all learning outcomes or elements of the course the maximum grade they can achieve is NN.

Adjustments to Assessment
In certain circumstances students may be eligible for an assessment adjustment.  For more information about the circumstances under which the assessment arrangements might be granted please access the following website:
More Information:;ID=kehn9bz22r41

Course Overview: Access Course Overview