Presentation on theme: "AREA OF STUDY ONE: PARLIAMENT AND THE CITIZEN Legal Studies Unit 3."— Presentation transcript:
AREA OF STUDY ONE: PARLIAMENT AND THE CITIZEN Legal Studies Unit 3
DP 3: THE REASONS WHY LAWS MAY NEED TO CHANGE Describe the main aim of the law Describe the characteristics of an effective law
Answer The main aim of the law is to protect our society and keep it functioning. To be effective, laws need to be known by the community, easily understood and able to be changed. Laws must also keep up with the changing values and attitudes of society.
Reasons why laws may need to change Explain four main reasons why laws may need to change. Cite relevant examples in your response.
Answer: Changing community values and attitudes Laws may need to change to keep up with changing values and attitudes. In order for the law to remain acceptable to individuals in society it must change to keep up with these changing values. Eg: changes in views on defacto relationships prompted the Relationships Act 2008 (Vic.) which established a register for the registration of domestic relationships in Victoria.
Answer: changes in society Changes in society – consumption patterns, buying habits and behaviours – may prompt a change in the law. Eg: Summary Offences and Control of Weapons Acts Amendment Act 2009 (Vic.) was passed to reduce the incidence of youths carrying knives.
Answer: advances in technology Advances in technology means that the law must cover new situations to reduce the opportunity for individuals and groups to be harmed. Eg: Crimes Amendment (Identity Crime) Act 2009 (Vic.) aimed to prevent identity theft as a result of computer use.
Answer: protection of the community The community needs to be protected. As such, laws need to make unlawful those actions that may harm the community or individual members of the community. Eg: Crimes Legislation Amendment (Food and Drink Spiking) Act 2009 (Vic.) aimed to provide sanctions for those whose behaviour (spiking a drink) harmed another person.
Answer: protection of rights The law may change to protect peoples’ rights. When someone’s rights are infringed the law needs to change to deal with these injustices. Eg: The Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic.) has been passed to prevent a person from being discriminated against based on their gender, race, age.
Answer: generating changing values in society The law may need to change to encourage a change in society’s values. For example, the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities seeks to educate the community on rights and tolerance. This is one example of a law that has been made to drive new values and social norms in the community.
Answer: access to the law To assist people to seek a resolution of a dispute, the law has changed to provide alternative avenues of dispute resolution such as VCAT (as established under the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (Vic.)
Exam question Sally has just become an Australian citizen and is interested in learning more about the Australian legal system. She is particularly interested in the ways laws are changed. Explain one reason why laws may need to be changed. Provide an example to illustrate your answer. 2 marks (VCAA 2008)
CAN YOU… Explain at least four reasons (in detail) why the law may need to change WITH relevant legislation/examples? Explain the elements of an effective law (this is different from the elements of an effective legal system)?
DP 3: THE ROLE OF THE VICTORIAN LAW REFORM COMMISSION (VLRC) Describe the role of the VLRC
Answer The VLRC is an independent, government funded body which is responsible for conducting research and providing recommendations to parliament regarding specific areas of law. The VLRC can make recommendations for law reform on matters referred to it by the Attorney General (this involves conducting research, consulting with the community and reporting on law reform projects). The VRLC can also make recommendations on minor legal issues of general community concern not referred to it by the attorney general. The VLRC also monitors and coordinates law reform activity in Victoria. The VLRC also educates the community on areas of law relevant to the VLRC’s work.
METHODS/PROCESSES USED BY VLRC Describe some of the processes used by the VLRC to investigate a change in the law.
Answer After receiving a reference from the attorney general, the VLRC: Undertake initial research and consult with experts in the field to assess the need for change Publish a discussion paper which explains the key issues and asks the community questions Invites and considers written submissions on the issue from members of the public, organisations and legal bodies Undertake consultation with groups (public forums) Publish a report with recommendations for changes in the law. Table the report to the Victorian Parliament.
VLRC INVESTIGATIONS Discuss an area of law that has been investigated by the VLRC. Comment on what change in the law has taken place as a result of the VLRC investigation. Explain the methods used by the VLRC to assess the need for change in the law.
RELEVANT EXAMPLES Possible examples: Sexual Offences Supporting Young People in Police Interviews Decriminalising Abortion See your ‘case study’ handouts for more detail.
EFFECTIVENESS OF VLRC IN INFLUENCING A CHANGE IN THE LAW Evaluate the effectiveness of the VLRC in bringing about a change in the law.
Answer StrengthsWeaknesses The government has asked the VLRC to investigate a change in the law and therefore the government is more likely to act on its report The VLRC can gauge public opinion by receiving public submissions The VLRC are able to investigate an area of law comprehensively to the government can initiate a new law that covers a whole issue. Eg: Abortion Law Reform Act 2008 came out of the VLRC’s work on decriminalising abortion. The VLRC can only investigate areas of law referred to it by the government or minor issues without reference There is no obligation for the government to follow the recommendations listed in the report Investigations can be time consuming VLRC may have limited resources
CAN YOU… Explain what the VLRC is? Explain the role of the VLRC? Describe the methods used by the VLRC to prompt a change in the law? Describe one specific example of an area of law that has been investigated by the VLRC, the methods that they used to investigate a change in the law? Evaluate the effectiveness of the VLRC in influencing a change in the law?