top of page

VCE Legal Studies


VCE Legal Studies examines the institutions and principles which are essential to Australia’s legal system. Students develop an understanding of the rule of law, law-makers, key legal institutions, rights protection in Australia, and the justice system. Through applying knowledge of legal concepts and principles students develop their ability to use legal reasoning to argue a case for or against a party in a civil or criminal matter.  

This study enables students to:

  • Understand and apply legal terminology, principles and concepts, apply legal principles to actual and/or hypothetical scenarios, explore solutions to legal problems, and form reasoned conclusions

  • Analyse the institutions that make laws and understand the way in which individuals can engage in and influence law reform. Understand legal rights and responsibilities, and the effectiveness of the protection of rights in Australia

  • Analyse the methods and institutions that determine criminal cases and resolve civil disputes and propose and analyse reforms to the legal system to enable the principles of justice to be achieved.

Prior Learning: There are no prerequisites for entry to Units 1, 2 and 3. Students must undertake Unit 3 prior to taking Unit 4.


Units 1 and 2:  Demonstration of achievement of outcomes and satisfactory completion of a unit is determined by evidence gained through the assessment of a range of learning activities and tasks.

Units 3 and 4: School assessed coursework (25% each semester)

End-of-year Examination (50%)

UNIT 1: Guilt and Liability

UNIT 2: Sanctions, Remedies & Rights

In this unit students develop an understanding of the different types and sources of law and the existence of a court hierarchy in Victoria. Students investigate key concepts of criminal law and civil law and apply these to actual and/or hypothetical scenarios to determine whether an accused may be found guilty of a crime, or liable in a civil dispute. In doing so, students develop an appreciation of the way in which legal principles and information are used in making reasoned judgments and conclusions about the culpability of an accused, and the liability of a party in a civil dispute. 

This unit focuses on the enforcement of criminal law and civil law, the methods and institutions that may be used to determine a criminal case or resolve a civil dispute, and the purposes and types of sanctions and remedies and their effectiveness. Students undertake a detailed investigation of two criminal cases and two civil cases from the past four years to form a judgment about the ability of sanctions and remedies to achieve the principles of justice. Students develop their understanding of the way rights are protected in Australia and in another country, and possible reforms to the protection of rights.

UNIT 3: Rights and Justice 

UNIT 4: The People and the Law 

In this unit students examine the methods and institutions in the justice system and consider their appropriateness in determining criminal cases and resolving civil disputes. They consider the Victorian court hierarchy and other Victorian legal institutions and bodies available to assist with cases. Students explore the rights available to an accused and to victims in the criminal justice system, the roles of the judge, jury, legal practitioners and the parties, and the ability of sanctions and remedies to achieve their purposes. Students discuss recent and recommended reforms to enhance the ability of the justice system to achieve the principles of justice. 

In this unit, students explore how the Australian Constitution establishes the law-making powers of the Commonwealth and state parliaments, and protects the Australian people through structures that act as a check on parliament in law-making. They develop an understanding of the significance of the High Court in protecting and interpreting the Australian Constitution. Students investigate parliament and the courts, the relationship between the two, and consider the roles of the individual, the media and law reform bodies in influencing law reform.  

bottom of page