Legal Studies


Students learn about the structures of the Australian legal system and how it responds and contributes to social change while acknowledging tradition

Course Details

  • ATAR: Yes
  • NTCET Points: 
  • Cost: No

About the Subject

Stage 2 Legal Studies consists of the following four topics:

Topic 1: The Australian Legal System

A study of this topic develops an understanding that the Australian legal system strives to reflect and protect the fundamental values and beliefs of the community. The aim of the Australian legal system is to support the development of a cohesive and harmonious, yet dynamic, society. Legal systems also confer rights and obligations through laws. Such laws can be classified according to their sources and purposes.

A study of this topic also develops an understanding that there is a legal heritage that includes religious beliefs, customary law, and received law, and that the current structures and operations of the Australian legal system reflect, in the main, the heritage and culture of the white Australian experience.

Topic 2: Constitutional Government

A study of this topic develops an appreciation of the basic principles and features of constitutional government. The motives for federation and the process leading to it are important in understanding Australia’s system of constitutional government.

There are constitutional limits to the legislative powers of parliaments in Australia. Students should explore and evaluate these limits and consider the issue of federalism, particularly in the context of Australia’s global links. Such constitutional limits have had an impact on Indigenous Australians.

Topic 3: Law-making

A study of this topic develops an appreciation that law originates from two fundamental sources — parliament and the courts — but that parliament can delegate some law‑making powers to the executive.

Topic 4: Justice Systems.

A study of this topic develops an appreciation of the variety of lawful mechanisms designed to achieve just outcomes in disputes. Such mechanisms range from the more informal alternative dispute resolution methods, where courts are not involved, to a variety of formal court proceedings. This leads to an exploration of the adversary system of trial. Students evaluate the Australian criminal and civil justice systems and compare them with alternatives available in the global community.


Students demonstrate evidence of their learning through the following assessment types:

School-based AssessmentWeighting
External Assessment 

External Assessment

Students undertake a 190-minute external examination that is divided into two parts:

Part A: Short Responses

Part B: Extended Responses

Part A consists of a number of compulsory questions. Students may be required to respond to short-answer questions, analyse a media article, respond to a stimulus, or analyse a legal process. All topics are examined in this part.

Part B requires students to answer two questions, including at least one essay question.

The Compass App

Students and their families are encouraged to download the Darwin High School Compass app to their smart phone/tablet device. Compass app allows you to stay up to date with announcements and events, complete a range of e-forms for student absences and excursions and easily contact us via phone or email direct from the app.

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