Key skills and knowledge


Unit 2 – A summary of key skills and knowledge

Area of Study One

Chapter 8

 Understand key terms and can explain them, for example, binding and persuasive precedent; ratio decidendi; remedy; case law and statute law

 Explain the key differences between civil law and criminal law; for example, the purpose of the laws, standard and burden of proof, decision and outcomes – refer to the table on page 229 for a summary

 Explain how judges and courts can also make law through the doctrine of precedent. Note that common law, case law and judge-made law all mean the same thing! For a judge’s decision to become part of the common law, it must state a new legal principle or extend an existing one.

 Understand the role of key cases like Donoghue v Stevenson and Grant v

Australian Knitting Mills. Explain how these cases show the operation of precedent and its impact on our society.

 Distinguish between binding and persuasive precedent and explain how precedents can change, e.g. reversing, overruling, distinguishing and disapproving (RODD!)

Chapter 9

 Understand key terms and can explain them, for example, battery, negligence, defamation, nuisance, tort and trespass

 Explain the elements of the tort of negligence, defamation and to a lesser extent, trespass and nuisance (as these two are generally covered by criminal law) and their purpose. Make sure you can apply the law to the facts given!

 E.g. the law of negligence deals with careless actions (by the defendant) that result in loss to another person (plaintiff). The elements of negligence are

1)…2)…3)… In this case, the first element is met because there is a clear relationship between the defendant and the plaintiff. The plaintiff was a customer at the defendant’s restaurant…and so on.

 Understand the defences specific to negligence, defamation etc and apply them to the facts. Don’t just say that the defendant has a defence, explain


 To protect some groups and individuals in the community from being sued, such as good Samaritans and volunteers, the law has imposed limitations on liability for negligence.

 There are also limitations on who can sue for defamation.

Area of Study Two

Chapter 10 (see also notes on the wikispace, under ‘Class notes and materials’)

 Understand key terms and can explain them, for example, arbitration, remedies, damages, injunction etc.

 Understand the original and appellate jurisdiction of the courts in the

Victorian court hierarchy (see page 276). Practise with examples so that you are familiar with the types of cases that can be heard by each court.

 Understand the parties involved in a civil action and the pre-hearing procedures and their purpose

 A remedy restores the plaintiff to the original position (before the loss or damage caused by the defendant)

 Understand the different remedies available to a plaintiff (remember to read the facts carefully because the remedy will depend on what’s right for the plaintiff) and their purpose. Note, if the remedy sought is damages exceeding

$100,000 then the case cannot be heard in the Magistrates’ Court.

 Specific performance is for CONTRACT LAW – when a plaintiff wants the defendant to perform their obligations under the contract

 Rescission is for CONTRACT LAW – when the plaintiff wants to get out of the contract and return to their original position

Damages is the most general and popular remedy. It is a sum of money to compensate for the loss or injury suffered.

 Make sure you understand the different types of damages (special, general, nominal, exemplary, contemptuous) – use the following mnemonic to help you remember: “Some Guys Never Eat Chocolate”

 Explain the different methods of alternative dispute resolution (instead of going to court). Which would you recommend to the plaintiff and why?

Consider both the advantages and disadvantages of each method.

 Since judicial determination (going to court) can be time consuming and costly, tribunals have been established to provide an alternative.

 Explain the purpose and jurisdiction of VCAT – the Victorian Civil and

Administrative Tribunal

 Understand the many difficulties people may experience in accessing the legal system and some of the ways that legal services such as Legal Aid, Law

Aid and other agencies attempt to address these.

Area of Study Three

Chapter 11

 Understand and explain key terms such as acceptance, consideration, contract, offer and terms and conditions.

 Explain the elements of a simple contract and be able to apply it to the facts.

For example, Mike says to Brandon “I’ll see you my car for $10,000” – this may be construed as an offer.

Note: agreements between friends and relatives are generally not contracts unless all the elements are present. Minors generally cannot enter into a contract – but there are exceptions, e.g. where the contract relates necessaries. These legal rules help to protect minors.

 The law protects people in general from misrepresentations (false information to persuade a party to enter into a contract)

 Understand the difference between express and implied terms, guarantees and warranties

 Understand current issues in contract law

Chapter 12

 Understand and explain key terms such as divorce, marriage, domestic partners, mandatory reporting

 Understand the changing nature of families and how society has recognised

(or failed to recognise) this. Especially focus on same sex marriages.

 Explain the difference between domestic partners and those who are married – what rights does the law recognise in relation to children, wills, property, maintenance, unemployment benefits

 Explain the elements of a marriage and how the law applies to a fact situation. For example, the common law and the Marriage Act defines marriage as “….” This is a valid marriage because it meets all the requirements of a marriage by…

 Explain what is required before a divorce is granted

 Explain the rights of couples upon separation, e.g. maintenance and property settlements

 Explain the role and jurisdiction of the Family Court of Australia

 Explain the purpose and function of the family dispute resolution system (we know that courts are costly and time consuming so this aims to help couples resolve their disputes).

 Understand current issues in family law

 Explain child abuse and family violence (they are NOT the same thing!)

 Explain how the law addresses child abuse (through mandatory reporting) and family violence (intervention orders and injunctions).

 In particular, this is one area of the law that has changed in response to the deaths of children like Cody Hutchings (page 75) and others (see page 354)

Area of Study Four

 Understand key terms such as human rights, test case

 Explain the role of the United Nations, the Charter of Human Rights, the ICJ,

Human Rights Council, Human Rights Committee, ICCPR and ICESCR

 Explain the key facts, issues, outcomes and impact of a case studied, e.g.

Mabo or asylum seekers

 Explain how it shows the role of individuals/groups in changing the law

 Explain how it is related to human rights