Program of work - Consumers


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Program of Work for HSC topic Consumers

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Program of work - Consumers

  1. 1. Option 1: Consumers 25% of course time (7-8 weeks) Principal focus: Through the use of contemporary examples, students investigate the legal rights of consumers and the effectiveness of the law in achieving justice for consumer. Outcomes H1 identifies and applies legal concepts and terminology H3 analyses the operation of domestic and international legal systems H4 evaluates the effectiveness of the legal system in addressing issues H5 explains the role of law in encouraging cooperation and resolving conflict, as well as initiating and responding to change H6. assesses the nature of the interrelationship between the legal system and society H7. evaluates the effectiveness of the law in achieving justice H8. locates, selects, organises, synthesises and analyses legal information from a variety of sources including legislation, cases, media, international instruments and documents H9. communicates legal information using well-structured and logical arguments H10. analyses differing perspectives and interpretations of legal information and issues. Themes and challenges to be incorporated throughout the topic: • the role of the law in encouraging cooperation and resolving conflict in regard to consumers • issues of compliance and non-compliance • laws relating to consumers as a reflection of changing values and ethical standards • the role of law reform in recognising the rights of consumers • the effectiveness of legal and non-legal responses in achieving justice for consumers Assessment: Extended response General Resources: Legal Studies textbooks, newspapers, other media items, law journals, LSA journal and conference papers LIAC - Austlii – Law Society – ASIC –;; Office of Fair Trading – ACCC –
  2. 2. Themes and Students learn about: Students learn to: Suggested teaching and learning strategies challenges 1. Nature of consumer law • the developing need • outline the 1. Class discussion: what is a consumer? Define consumer • laws relating to for consumer developing (refer to Trade Practices Act (Cth); Fair Trading Act consumers as a protection need for (NSW)). reflection of • the definition of consumer changing values consumer protection 2. Develop an overview of the development of consumer law. and ethical Students summarise key developments. Resource: standards 3. Activity: How shopping has changed over time. Complete • the role of the law a web search and create a poster which demonstrates the in encouraging progression over time, comparing similarities and cooperation and differences in such things as packaging, opportunities for resolving inspection/testing, range of products etc. conflict in regard to consumers 4. Discuss implications of change: for consumers, the role of the state, laissez-faire, caveat emptor, the level of regulation 5. Activity: students share their own experiences of scams/rip-offs and what they did in response. Discuss well-known scams such as Nigerian scams, other online scams and mobile phone scams. Resource:
  3. 3. Themes and Students learn about: Students learn to: Suggested teaching and learning strategies challenges • objectives of • outline the 1. Activity: in small groups, write down 3 points which consumer laws objectives of describe the challenges facing consumers 150, 100, 50 consumer law years ago and today, then discuss as a class. 2. Compare the objectives of consumer laws to criminal law (eg, restoring to same position vs. punishment) 3. Role play: acting out a scenario of a consumer purchasing a faulty product in two different worlds – with consumer laws and without consumer laws. Where does the balance of power lie in each case? 4. contracts – types, • examine the 1. Class discussion or in pairs: students talk about the last • issues of elements, terms, nature, function time they entered into a contract. What made it a contract? compliance and exclusion clauses and regulation Class discussion to define a contract. non-compliance of contracts 2. Identify elements of a legally binding contract using textbook or other written resource. Represent this on a mindmap. Class discussion on the reasons for the inclusion of each element. Eg consideration, certainty. Examine case law such as Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Company [1893] 1 QB 256 3. Apply this knowledge by identifying and labelling each element in actual contracts. Resources: textbooks, sample contracts, online contracts. 4. Activity: in groups, students draft their own contract.
  4. 4. Themes and Students learn about: Students learn to: Suggested teaching and learning strategies challenges 5. Use textbook/online research to write a short paragraph each on written, oral and implied contracts. Use case examples such as Balmain New Ferry Co Ltd v Robertson (1906) 4 GLR 379. 6. Role play: students act out shopping scenarios to demonstrate and discuss the nature of contractual terms – express and implied; conditions and warranties. 7. Define the nature and purpose of exclusion clauses; discuss legal protections in their application. (Thornton v Shoe Lane Parking Ltd [1971] 2 QB 163). Think of common examples of exclusion clauses. Discuss the circumstances in which exclusion clauses may be unfair. 8. Field study or in students’ own time: at local shopping centre, observe signs displaying refund/exchange policies or other terms of purchase or entry into store. Make note of any violations and exclusion clauses (see parking lot conditions). Resources:;;; • standards implied by 1. Before referring to the text, brainstorm the types of terms • the role of the law statutes that might be implied into consumer contracts, then use the in encouraging text to identify and describe such terms. Students think of cooperation and hypothetical situations where the implied standards come resolving into play. Students’ personal experiences can be discussed. conflict in regard to consumers
  5. 5. Themes and Students learn about: Students learn to: Suggested teaching and learning strategies challenges 2. Discuss the reasons for the development of implied terms. 3. Consider the role of courts in the development of implied terms, eg merchantable quality. 4. Examine the role of parliament with respect to implied terms – refer to Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) (TPA), Fair Trading Act 1987 (NSW) (FTA), and Sale of Goods Act 1923 (NSW). • unjust contracts: 1. Class discussion: The individual v the corporation. To • laws relating to common law and what extent is there an imbalance of power? Link to consumers as a statutory protection fairness, and the role of the law in redressing inequality. reflection of changing values 2. Common law and statutory protection. Use case examples and ethical such as Commercial Bank of Aust Ltd v Amadio (1983) standards 151 CLP 447; and legislation such as Contracts Review Act 1980 (NSW) and the TPA. Students could consider duress, undue influence, unconscionability and difficulties faced by vulnerable groups. 3. Guest speaker: Solicitor from Consumer Credit Legal Centre NSW to speak about unjust credit contracts and the national credit legislation commencing 1 July 2010. Resources:;;; 4. Debate: “Contracts entered into by private parties should
  6. 6. Themes and Students learn about: Students learn to: Suggested teaching and learning strategies challenges be free from state regulation.” 5. Essay: Investigate and evaluate the effectiveness of common law and legislation in achieving justice for disadvantaged groups in relation to unjust contracts. • the role of negligence 1. Examine the case of Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] AC • the role of law in consumer 562. Create comic strip summarising facts and judgment. reform in protection Examine the importance of the development of the law of recognising the negligence for consumer protection. Refer to rights of contemporary examples – media search. consumers 2. Consider the Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW) – initiate a debate or discussion on the balance between an individual’s rights to sue and the need to discourage overzealous litigation. 3. Evaluate the effectiveness of negligence law in protecting the consumer. Consider why statutory protection may also be required. • regulation of • evaluate the 1. Task: students find an article about advertising or • issues of marketing and effectiveness of marketing reviews or complaints and summarise key compliance and advertising: the regulation points. Resource: non-compliance statutory of marketing, and-marketing/; Class protection, non- advertising and discussion on issues examined in the articles and the statutory controls product increasing need for consumer protection in advertising and on advertising certification in marketing. achieving consumer 2. Examine statutory protection such as Trade Practices Act.
  7. 7. Themes and Students learn about: Students learn to: Suggested teaching and learning strategies challenges protection Mention the role of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). Refer to relevant cases such as Eveready Australia Pty Limited v Gillette Australia Pty Limited [1999] FCA 1824. 3. Examine non-statutory controls such as Advertising • the effectiveness Standards Bureau. Find current examples. of legal and non- legal responses 4. Writing task: ‘Evaluate the effectiveness of the regulation in achieving of marketing and advertising in achieving consumer justice for protection’. Ensure students integrate relevant examples consumers into their response. Resources: • occupational • examine the role 1. Define occupational licensing. What is its purpose? licensing of occupational (Consider different types of regulation). Brainstorm a list licensing in of occupations which require licensing, and why. achieving consumer 2. Discuss advantages and disadvantages of occupational protection licensing. Develop a table and refer to specific examples 3. Investigate the requirements (referring to the relevant regulating bodies) that need to be satisfied to become a solicitor in NSW. Assess the effectiveness of these requirements in protecting consumers.
  8. 8. Themes and Students learn about: Students learn to: Suggested teaching and learning strategies challenges Resources: (corruption risks in occupational licensing) 2. Consumer redress and remedies • awareness and self- • recognise the 1. Determine the meaning of redress and remedies. • the role of the law help importance of in encouraging • state government awareness and 2. Research: In groups, describe the functions and remedies cooperation and organisations self help provided by different organisations, listed below. Create an resolving • federal government informative poster/brochure. conflict in regard organisations • examine the to consumers • industry range of – state bodies such as the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) organisations different and the NSW Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal • issues of remedies (CTTT) compliance and • the role of tribunals available to – federal bodies such as the Australian Competition and non-compliance and courts • the role of non- consumers Consumer Commission; the Banking and Financial Services and the Telecommunications Ombudsman; • laws relating to government the Australian Securities and Investment Commission consumers as a organisations (ASIC) reflection of • the role of the media changing values • evaluate the – non-government organisations such as the Australian effectiveness of Consumers Association, (and Choice magazine); the and ethical non-legal and NRMA, Arts Law Centre for Australia standards legal measures – the courts at State and Federal level. • the role of law in achieving reform in justice for 3. In response to a given scenario, consider the order in which each strategy might be employed and distinguish recognising the
  9. 9. Themes and Students learn about: Students learn to: Suggested teaching and learning strategies challenges consumers between legal and non-legal responses. Consider which rights of type of response might be more effective. consumers 4. Collect and summarise key points from news articles • the effectiveness which refer to one of the above organisations in relation to of legal and non- assisting consumers. legal responses in achieving 5. Evaluate the effectiveness of media programs reporting on justice for consumer issues in achieving redress, eg A Current Affair. consumers Resources: Youtube, current affair programs DVDs • the role of the law 6. Through the use of scenarios, illustrate typical consumer in encouraging • consumer remedies: problems. Investigate how best to resolve the problem. For cooperation and individual and society example: resolving conflict in regard Jane wanted a special gift for her father’s birthday. As he was to consumers. a keen fan, she purchased a supporter’s jersey from the club for $150. Unfortunately, after only a few washes, the colours faded and some of the stitching began to come loose. Investigate the effectiveness of the remedies and methods of redress that are available to consumers such as Jane who believe their rights have been infringed by either • laws relating to manufacturers or suppliers of goods or services. consumers as a reflection of Students should include: changing values - an outline of the various avenues of redress, both legal and and ethical non-legal standards. - details about the different remedies available to consumers - a judgement as to the effectiveness of both legal and non- legal responses in dealing with the matter.
  10. 10. Themes and Students learn about: Students learn to: Suggested teaching and learning strategies challenges 7. Prepare a table of types of remedies setting out advantages and disadvantages. 8. Examine the two-tiered nature of consumer protection – redress for the individual and the role of the law in protecting all consumers / society in general. Investigate the function of the ACCC in this area. Resources: (a consumer redress study). 3. Contemporary issues concerning consumers Issues that must be studied include: • credit • identify and 1. Define credit and discuss features and terminology such as • the role of the law investigate interest rate, term, default, security etc. Discuss examples in encouraging these of credit. Consider why credit might be problematic for cooperation and contemporary consumers. resolving issues involving conflict in regard the protection 2. This topic can be covered at the same time as unjust to consumers of consumers contracts, mentioned above. Guest speaker from Consumer • issues of and evaluate the Credit Legal Centre NSW to speak about credit contracts, compliance and effectiveness of the Uniform Consumer Credit Code, Credit Act 1984, and non-compliance legal and non- the national credit legislation commencing 1 July 2010. • laws relating to
  11. 11. Themes and Students learn about: Students learn to: Suggested teaching and learning strategies challenges legal responses Guest speaker to discuss legal and non-legal avenues of consumers as a to these issues. redress, for example, complaining to the Ombudsman, reflection of local court, CTTT, financial counsellor etc. changing values Resources:;; and ethical; standards • Effectiveness of legal and non- 3. Media search: collect articles on consumer credit issues, legal responses particularly in the GFC, and summarise key points, in achieving including legal and non-legal responses. justice for consumers 4. In response to different scenarios, consider legal and non- legal avenues of redress and evaluate their effectiveness. • product certification 1. Define product certification and discuss the reasons for its development. 2. Bring in items from home or think of examples of goods that are subject to certification and discuss why that is the case. 3. Oral presentation evaluating the effectiveness of product • the effectiveness certification in protecting consumers. of legal and non- legal responses 4. Online research: investigate examples of laws which in achieving impose product certification/product standards. Research justice for non-legal responses. consumers
  12. 12. Themes and Students learn about: Students learn to: Suggested teaching and learning strategies challenges Resources: • marketing This dot point can be addressed at the same time as innovations regulation of marketing and advertising (above). 1. Brainstorm range of marketing innovations. Find examples. Explain the need for consumer protection in this area. 2. Investigate examples of the regulation of new methods of marketing and evaluate the effectiveness of legal and non- legal responses. Consider direct marketing regulations as a focus study (amendments to the Fair Trading Act). 3. Case study: Do Not Call Register. Evaluate the effectiveness of the Register in protecting consumers. Refer to media articles in response. 4. Consider the need for further law reform in this area. • technology 1. Brainstorm ways in which technology affects consumers. Investigate changes over the last 100 years. Explain the growing need for consumer protection in this area. 2. Activity: students identify one issue concerning
  13. 13. Themes and Students learn about: Students learn to: Suggested teaching and learning strategies challenges technology and consumers (eg online shopping) and prepare a report outlining the challenges facing consumers in that area, then discussing the strengths and weaknesses of legal and non-legal responses. Resource: • the role of law reform in recognising the 3. Debate the relevance of caveat emptor in the contemporary rights of global world. consumers 4. What further reform may be needed to meet future challenges posed by technological change?
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