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Sources of australian contemporary law 1


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  • 1. Sources of Australian Contemporary Law
  • 2. Australia’s legal system is based on an adversarial system of trial
    in an adversarial system, the parties to a court case are opponents who must prove their version of events to ‘win’ the case - the judge is only an impartial observer
    Adversarial and Inquisitorial Systems
  • 3. in an inquisitorial system, the judge is actively involved in asking questions, calling evidence and determining the case
    Wood Royal commission used an inquisitorial system
  • 4. Australia imported common law from England when the country was settled by British colonists
    over time, Australia developed its own system of courts and law as it became independent from Britain
    Common Law
  • 5. ‘Precedent’ is the basis of Australia’s system of common law
    when a court decides a case, the reason for the decision can become a precedent for future cases
    in this way the law develops a body of case law that is applied in future judgments
    this is sometimes known as ‘judge-made law’
    The Doctrine of Precedent
  • 6. courts are bound by precedents, and lower courts will be bound by the decisions of higher courts – this is known as binding precedent
    when a court is not bound by another court’s judgment it can still be influential – this is known as persuasive precedent
  • 7. Two important terms
    RatioDecidendi– the legal reason why a judge came to a particular decision
    Obiter Dicta – comments from a judge in a case that are not directly relevant to the case (there not legally binding)
    Judge making a decision
  • 8. Go to my website for extensive information
    Court Hierarchy
  • 9.
  • 10. Local Court (Magistrates Court)
    most criminal cases begin here
    presided over by magistrate (no jury)
    deals with summary matters
    no appellate jurisdiction
    committal proceedings regarding serious matters to determine whether a prima facie case exists
  • 11. coroner ensures all deaths, suspected deaths, fires and explosions which come under the his/her jurisdiction are properly investigated
    inquisitorial approach
    Coroner’s Court
  • 12. is a closed court
    presided over by Magistrate (no jury)
    rehabilitation is the primary purpose of sentencing
    Children’s Court
  • 13. Specialised court enforcing environmental law
    Concerned with environmental planning and offences
    Land and Environment court
  • 14. has appellate jurisdiction from Local Court –
    presided over by a judge
    trial by jury or judge along
    deals with serious criminal (Indictable) offences
    District Court
  • 15. has appellate jurisdiction from District Court and Local Court
    highest court in NSW (deals with most serious criminal offences e.g. murder, attempted murder
    hears bail applications presided over by judge
    trial by jury
    The Supreme Court of NSW
  • 16. has appellate jurisdiction from District Court and Supreme Court
    Grounds for appeal include:
    challenging a conviction involving a question of law
    questions of fact, mixed questions regarding sentence severity or adequacy
    The court of Criminal Appeal
  • 17. To Relieve press on other federal courts
    It does not deal with criminal matters
    This court has been dissolved
    The Federal Magistrates Court
  • 18. Deals with industrial matters and bankruptcy
    Deals with civil matters (except family matters)
    The Federal Court of Australia
  • 19. Complex family matters – Divorce, parenting orders, division of property
    The Family Court of Australia
  • 20. Deals with appeals from the federal courts and state supreme courts
    Cases involving the interpretation of the Australian constitution
    The High Court of Australia