session 1 introduction to Australian legal system

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Introduction to the Australian Legal System:

Introduction to the Australian Legal System Stuff happens – ‘ci mi jiak tok ’ (in Nuer as provided by Peter Pal)

Different types of law:

Different types of law Common Law Common law is made by judges in courts when they make decisions in court cases It is also referred to as case law

Different types of law:

Different types of law Statute Law Statute law is made by politicians in parliament (government)

Different types of law:

Different types of law Civil Law (which is part of common law) The laws used by individuals who have problems (disputes) with other individuals – often about money The person who starts the case is called the plaintiff

Different types of law:

Different types of law Examples of civil law Negligence- a failure to take reasonable care to avoid causing injury or loss to another person Defamation – attacking someone’s reputation More examples: http://au.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100519023246AAonRXF

Different types of law:

Different types of law Criminal law The law set out in the Crimes Act and enforced by the police who are an arm of the government. The government acts for everyone against (versus) an individual The person who police believe committed (did) the crime is called the accused

Different types of law:

Different types of law Examples of criminal law Dangerous driving Murder Theft

Different legal outcomes:

Different legal outcomes Civil Law Court orders e.g. to stop someone doing something like building a house that would block your view Compensation (also called damages) e.g. to pay you back for an injury they caused or destruction of property Mediation- sometimes in civil cases, a trained mediator helps people solve their disputes without going to court Criminal Law Prison sentences e.g. for murder or major theft Fines and/loss of licence e.g. for driving offences

A scenario – is this a civil or a criminal case?:

A scenario – is this a civil or a criminal case? You have just returned home after shopping at the local shopping centre. You were walking home but tripped and fell and much of the shopping fell on to the road and has been spoiled. You have hurt your back. Just before you fell, you were distracted by a dog that jumped up on you before it was called away by its owner (you are frightened of dogs). The footpath where you fell was uneven. You are not sure whether you fell because the footpath was uneven or because of the dog. You were probably carrying too much shopping given that you already have back problems.

Is this a civil or a criminal case? Answer:

Is this a civil or a criminal case? Answer It is a civil case – you might be able to sue (make a claim against) either the council for not looking after the footpath OR the dog owner for not controlling their dog

Some more differences - proof (information used to ‘win’ the case):

Some more differences - proof (information used to ‘win’ the case) Civil Law The burden of proof is on the plaintiff i.e. the plaintiff has to prove the case The standard of proof The plaintiff doesn’t have to prove their case for sure – they have to prove that it is ‘more likely than not’ Criminal Law The burden of proof is on the police/government The standard of proof The police have to prove their case 100% i.e. beyond reasonable doubt

Useful terms:

U seful terms Lawyers – you may need a solicitor or barrister, or both. The difference between barrister and solicitor can be found here http://www.foolkit.com.au/nsw/public/barristers Evidence is what you use to prove your claim or case e.g. in the scenario case, photos of the damaged footpath could be used as evidence to claim money for new groceries

Deciding to sue (make a claim against someone else):

Deciding to sue (make a claim against someone else) Questions to ask Why sue? To get a legal outcome Do you remember the legal outcomes for civil law? (slide 8) Will I be successful? Do you remember what is needed to win your case? (slide 11) Is it worth it? Even if you think you might win, it might cost you more money to pay your lawyers than you get back in compensation.

Why sue - Answer:

Why sue - Answer Court orders e.g. to stop someone doing something, like building a house that would block your view Compensation (also called damages) e.g. to pay you back for money lost – because of an injury or destruction of property: If you have a serious medical condition and need expensive medical attention you may need help paying for this.

Winning the case- Answer:

Winning the case- Answer You need good evidence- in this case for example: A doctor’s report after the accident A witness (someone who saw the incident) e.g maybe they saw the dog off the leash? Did you get the dog owner’s name? (evidence) A report of the uneven footpath to local government – maybe there had been other complaints?

The law as it is versus what the law should be:

The law as it is versus what the law should be Sometimes the law might not seem fair Not every person who commits a crime or who cheats on another person gets caught Not every person who should get compensated does get compensated e.g. People who do not understand the legal system or do not understand English often do not report their injuries It is because of this that many people have had bad experiences with the law and the legal system. It is because they expect the law to do what it cannot do Have you had a negative or frustrating experience with the legal system to report?

Legal Classifications:

Legal Classifications Classification systems are very important for how the legal system operates e.g. There are classifications of: Who can get student support benefits Who can make a contract according to the law Who can vote in the federal elections Who can get different visa categories These classifications can have big consequences for people

A quick test:

A quick test A criminal case Scenario You come home and find that someone has stolen $2000 from your bedroom cupboard Questions Who can help you with your case? What do you need to win your case? What are some examples? You can find answers here Remember, even if you win a criminal case, you might not get your money back! A civil case Scenario You lend someone $200 and they say that they do not owe you the money. Can you get it back? Questions Who can help you with your case? What do you need to win your case? What could be some examples? Suggested answers here

Quick test-Answers:

Quick test-Answers Criminal case The police. If the police are involved it is a criminal NOT a civil matter. The police could charge the person with theft. The government will provide lawyers as well. You need evidence e.g. a witness (someone who saw the money taken) Civil case You could pay lawyers to help you. You need evidence e.g. A receipt for the money A signed contract in which the other person agrees to pay you back Witnesses to the loan

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