How effective is the legislation

TASK DESCRIPTION

Choose an area of study, within the law, that is of interest to you.

The area of study you choose may be:

  • One of the suggested topics in the table below; or
  • A topic negotiated with your teacher (this must be an extension of some aspect of the legal studies course that has been of particular interest to you and must not overlap other assessment topics).

Suggested Areas of Study

The following topics and areas of study may be helpful for the initial selection of your topic. Highlight the issues below that are of interest to you. Finally, choose one topic only – you may negotiate another area of study with your teacher.

EDUCATION AND THE LAW
• Legal rights of teachers or Students
TECHNOLOGY AND THE LAW
• Computers and Crime: How does the law deal with this problem and what are the difficulties in policing this activity?
EMPLOYMENT AND THE LAW
• Sexual Harassment: How effective is the legislation?
• Examine the issue of sexual discrimination (either male or female) either in the workplace, recreational pursuits or education
• How effective is racial discrimination legislation?
WOMEN AND THE LAW
• Rape and Sexual Offences laws
• Domestic Violence: Does the law protect the victim?
MEDICINE AND THE LAW
• Euthanasia
• Blood Transfusions and the right to refuse
• Organ Donation
• Consent for Operations
JUSTICE AND THE LEGAL SYSTEM
• The cost of Justice in Australia
• Alternative Dispute Resolution

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW
• The impact of the Queensland Heritage Legislation
• Global Warming/Climate change
THE LAW AND MINORITY GROUPS
• Aboriginal Land Rights and the implication of the Mabo Case for the future
• Legal rights of mentally disabled people
• Animal Rights: How does the law protect animals?
SPORT AND LAW
• Drug Testing
• Sport Tribunals
• Violence in Sport
INTRODUCTION TO LAW
• Do we need a Bill of Rights?
CRIMINAL LAW
• Juvenile Crime! Is it out of control?
• The use of technology to catch criminals
• Criminal insanity! Can it be justified as a defense?

TASK PROCESS

  1. Research the area of law thoroughly, concentrating on the areas that are problematic. E.g. legislation that does not meet the immediate needs of, protect, or operate effectively in society.
  2. Prepare a thesis/hypothesis that will form the basis of your essay. Your thesis forms part of your introduction, announces the direction of your essay and makes an initial general evaluation of the legislation, legal principle, or topic. Create your thesis in the Independent Inquiry Essay Plan.
  3. Show evidence of your ideas and essay planning in the Independent Inquiry Essay Plan, and have this completed by the suggested date.
  4. Prepare a draft essay that effectively discusses, investigates, and evaluates your topic. Include in-text referencing and a reference list.
  5. Prepare a final essay that effectively discusses, investigates, and evaluates your topic. Include in-text referencing and a reference list.

CRITERIA GUIDELINES FOR THE TASK:
Knowing and Understanding the Law
• Define and describe the specific problem or issue that you are investigating.
• Outline the relevant laws/legal concepts which currently apply to this issue.
• Identify the main legal principles that relate to the topic (i.e. fairness, ethics or justice)
• Identify, summarise and compare the existing state of the law in comparison to previous laws, or the laws of other jurisdictions, including its sources, function, and purpose
• Communication should be sequential and fluent. Ensure language conventions are correctly used and legal terms are stated clearly, concisely and accurately. It is recommended that you include current case studies /cases in an appendix that may be referred to in your assignment. Utilize the report genre effectively.

Investigating Legal Issues
• Use sources that are applicable to the purpose to support your argument.
• Discuss on how effectively the current law deals with competing for social interests in our community.
• Analyze whether the current legal applications of the legal principles to the matters in dispute provide legally justifiable responses and solutions.

Responding to the Law: Evaluation
• Argue and justify, supported by a range of relevant legal sources, recommendations for improvements in the law that will serve the competing social interests in the fairest way in the future.
• What reforms do you envisage are essential?
• Are these reforms acceptable to our present society and the current legal system? Consider justice, fairness, ethics and the limitations of our legal system.

Independent Inquiry – Authentication Timeline

Date Task to be completed
Week 3 Preliminary investigation of topics
Week 4 Hypothesis and working questions
Week 5 Research notes
Hypothesis review
Essay Plan Due
Week 6
Research notes and essay plan
Hypothesis review
Draft work
Week 7 Completed draft due
Week 8 Draft returned
Draft amendments
Teacher conferencing
Week 9 Final copy due

PART ONE – ESSAY PLAN

Due Date: Tuesday, 21 May 2019

  • Begin research on your chosen topic.
  • Complete the attached one-page Independent Inquiry Essay Plan.
  • Refer to the Independent Inquiry Essay Plan instructions for assistance.
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PART TWO – DRAFT ESSAY

Due Date: Tuesday, 4 June 2019

  • Prepare and submit your draft essay.
  • The draft essay must be within the word limit, size 12 font, and double spacing (2.0 line spacing).
  • Include the reference list.
  • Do not include Task Sheet.
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PART THREE – FINAL ESSAY

Due Date: Tuesday, 18 June 2019

  • Submit your final essay.
  • The final essay must be within the word limit, size 12 font, and double spacing (2.0 line spacing).
  • Include in order: Task Sheet, Final Essay with reference list, Draft Essay, and Essay Plan.
  • * *

CHECK SHEET

Task Due Date Teacher Initial
Part One
Essay plan
Tuesday, 21 May 2019 ?

Part Two
Draft essay
Tuesday, 4 June 2019?

Part Three
Task sheet, final essay, draft essay, and essay plan.
Tuesday, 18 June 2019?

 YEAR 12 LEGAL STUDIES

CRITERIA SHEET
Independent Inquiry – Extended Research Response: Written

Criteria Standard A Standard B Standard C Standard D Standard E
Knowing and understanding the law
The student work has the following characteristics:
appropriate definition and comprehensive description of facts showing discriminating use of legal terminology
thorough and effective explanation of a comprehensive range of legal concepts and processes
coherent and effective communication of meaning using well-chosen language conventions suited to purpose and audience The student work has the following characteristics:

appropriate definition and detailed description of facts using relevant legal terminology
detailed explanation of a range of legal concepts and processes
clear communication of meaning using appropriate language conventions suited to purpose and audience    The student work has the following characteristics:

definition and description of facts using legal terminology
explanation of legal concepts and processes
communication of meaning using language conventions suited to purpose and audience  The student work has the following characteristics:

partial definition or simple description of some facts using legal terminology
simple explanation of some legal concepts and processes
communication using language conventions suited to aspects of the purpose and audience  The student work has the following characteristics:

statement of facts using some legal terminology
statement of aspects of legal concepts and processes
communication using inconsistent language conventions

Investigating legal issues
The student work has the following characteristics:
discerning selection and organization of legal information from relevant and valid sources
thorough and discriminating analysis of legal situations to identify and examine relevant legal issues and stakeholders’ perspectives
discerning application of legal concepts and processes to legal issues to determine logical legal outcomes The student work has the following characteristics:
purposeful selection and organization of legal information from relevant sources
detailed and informed analysis of legal situations to identify and examine relevant legal issues and stakeholders’ perspectives
systematic application of legal concepts and processes to legal issues to determine logical legal outcomes The student work has the following characteristics:

selection and organisation of legal information from sources
analysis of legal situations to identify and examine legal issues and stakeholders’ perspectives
application of legal concepts and processes to legal issues to determine appropriate legal outcomes The student work has the following characteristics:

selection and organisation of aspects of legal information from some sources
simple analysis of legal situations to identify and examine some legal issues and/or stakeholder perspectives
partial application of some legal concepts and/or processes to legal issues to determine legal outcomes The student work has the following characteristics:

selection of obvious information
identification of some legal issues and/or stakeholder perspectives
identification of some legal concepts and/or processes relating to aspects of legal issues

Responding to the law
The student work has the following characteristics:
discerning evaluation of the law and stakeholder responses discerning decisions and insightful recommendations made about the suitability of legal outcomes and their implications convincing and reasoned justification of decisions and recommendations using evidence and legal reasoning. The student work has the following characteristics:
effective evaluation of the law and stakeholder responses relevant decisions and logical recommendations made about the suitability of legal outcomes and their implications valid and logical justification of decisions and recommendations using evidence and legal reasoning. The student work has the following characteristics:
evaluation of the law and stakeholder response decisions and recommendations made about the suitability of legal outcomes and their implications justification of decisions and recommendations using evidence and legal reasoning.
The student work has the following characteristics:
a simple evaluation of the aspects of the law and/or stakeholder responses
simple decisions and/or recommendations made about the suitability of legal outcomes and/or their implications
simple justification of decisions and/or recommendations. The student work has the following characteristics:

description of aspects of the law and/or stakeholder responses
statement of decisions and/or opinions
justification inconsistent with decisions and/or recommendations.

WRITING AN ESSAY

The most common mistakes students make when writing essays are:

  • A weak thesis or a thesis that is not reflected in the body paragraphs.
  • Poor essay structure (information that is out of place or difficult to find).
  • Incorrect paragraph structure (too long, too short, missing information).
  • Ineffective use of evidence and quotes.
  • Poor sentence structure and grammar.

Below is advice for addressing some of these common mistakes.

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ESSAY STRUCTURE

An essay must contain an introduction, body paragraphs, a conclusion, and a bibliography.

In Legal Studies, there are three criteria that you must address in assessments. These are:

  • Knowing and Understanding the Law
  • Investigating Legal Issues
  • Responding to the Law

The easiest way of successfully including all of the criteria requirements is in order.
Your Independent Inquiry Essay Plan follows this format and includes suggestions for what type of information is required for each criterion. Remember, information related to the Knowing and Understanding the Law criteria should continue to appear throughout the course of your essay, but generally, the most important information that is crucial to understanding and establishing the topic should be addressed at the start of your essay (after the introduction).

Be aware that this is not the only way of constructing a Legal Studies essay, but it is the easiest.

  • * *

PARAGRAPH STRUCTURE

Usually, the best structure to use for paragraphs is P.E.E.L.

P: point (or topic sentence)
E: an explanation of the point (fill in the details about this point thoroughly)
E: evidence (prove that your point is valid through statistics, quotes, cases, etc.)
L: link (this is usually a link back to your thesis demonstrating the importance of the link)

A linking sentence may link two paragraphs together rather than to the thesis. These types of linking sentences are best used between paragraphs that relate to the criteria Knowing and Understanding the Law and Responding to the Law. A linking sentence that connects back to your thesis is most effective in the Investigating Legal Issues criteria, and for your social value paragraph in the Responding to the Law criteria.

A P.E.E.L paragraph is the most effective way of investigating problems and issues with the legislation, legal principles, or general Legal Studies topics. Using the P.E.E.L structure ensures that you have a paragraph that is an appropriate length and contains all of the necessary information required to prove your thesis.

If you have several similar ideas that you wish to include in a single paragraph, an extended P.E.E.L paragraph can be very effective (P.E.E.E.E.L)

P: point (should be broad enough to introduce several ideas without too much detail)
E: explanation (specify your first idea and thoroughly explain)
E: evidence (prove that your point is valid through statistics, quotes, cases, etc.)
E: explanation (specify your second idea and thoroughly explain)
E: evidence (prove that your point is valid through statistics, quotes, cases, etc.)
L: link (both ideas together and then back to your thesis)

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USING EVIDENCE

Using evidence is crucial in Legal Studies essays, particularly in the Investigating Legal Issues criteria, and for your social value paragraph in the Responding to the Law criteria. It is usually not required in Knowing and Understanding the Law paragraphs, particularly when outlining laws and legal principles.

To use evidence effectively it should be integrated into the paragraph, rather than simply dumped at the end of an explanation. Good evidence, particularly quotes, does not repeat the previous sentence but adds value and depth to confirm that what you are saying is true.

These are examples of poorly integrated quotes.

eg The law in relation to euthanasia is often considered cruel and ineffective by modern Australian society, but there is a range of complex issues that are often not considered by advocates. “Euthanasia is a complex procedure rarely understood by the public.” (Newman, 2014)

eg The law in relation to euthanasia is often considered cruel and ineffective by modern Australian society, but there is a range of complex issues that are often not considered by advocates. According to Newman, “euthanasia is a complex procedure rarely understood by the public.” (2014)

The quotes in the above examples are poorly integrated into the paragraphs. They repeat the previous statements rather than adding a new idea or deeper explanation. The reader does not get a sense of the authority of the quote, and the initial point is not developed.

  • *

eg The law in relation to euthanasia is often considered cruel and ineffective by modern Australian society, but there is a range of complex issues that are often not considered by advocates. According to Dr. Newman, legal advisor at the Swiss Centre for Euthanasia Practices, people rarely consider the many ways in which euthanasia can be corrupted or accessed by those who do not require euthanasia. “I have come across cases where family members have attempted to access euthanasia services for elderly members of their family without their knowledge. Usually, there has been a financial motivation of either money or property.” (Newman, 2014)

The quote in the above example is a much better example of evidence, as it enhances the initial statement with great depth. It contains a further paraphrased explanation of the initial point from the perspective of a person with authority, which is subsequently supported by a direct quote. Statistics or the integration of a court case would have also been effective evidence.

Other ways of integrating quotes and evidence include:

  • According to…
  • Statistics gathered by… demonstrate…
  • In relation to…
  • Subsequently, … reported that…
  • As stated by…
  • Current research by… confirms that…
  • Consistent with this perspective…

Remember to always check the date of the source (article, case, etc.) to ensure it is still relevant.
Many sources, such as articles and websites, may contain biased opinions or perspectives. If you are unsure of the source, check with your teacher.

Biased and out-of-date sources are not effective evidence.

  • * *

OTHER COMMON PROBLEMS

Sentence Structure
A good sentence is active, strong and concise, rather than weak and passive. It should state your idea with authority and avoid being overly long and complex.

Ensure that it does not contain too many points, or switch from point to point.

If in doubt, read the sentence aloud to yourself, a friend, or a parent. Alternatively, ask another person to read the sentence to check that it makes sense.

ESSAY PLAN

A good essay plan helps you arrange your ideas logically and stay on track during the writing process. Your plan ensures that you meet each of the criteria you are assessed on in Legal Studies.

The below planning template is connected to the three criteria and provides advice, tips, and examples of the type of information that is required for each criterion. It also provides you with a structure to use when writing your essay.

The essay plan sets out how many paragraphs you are expected to include in your essay.
A rough guide to follow is:

  • Introduction
  • Knowing and Understanding the Law: 1-2 paragraphs
  • Investigating Legal Issues: 2-3 paragraphs
  • Responding to the Law: 2-3 paragraphs
  • Conclusion
  • Reference list

Formulating a Thesis

When writing an essay, you need to set up a clear thesis in the introduction and develop it in the body of the essay. A thesis is your argument.

A good thesis uses academic and unemotional language, communicates why you think your arguments is right and is interesting and convincing.

Your first step in formulating a thesis is to begin reading about your topic and let the information guide your argument.

Regardless of your opinion on a topic, you must be open to different perspectives and arguments during your research. You must write an academic essay that proves your argument, but also acknowledges that legal matters are rarely simple and involve many different viewpoints and stakeholders.

INDEPENDENT INQUIRY ESSAY PLAN: DUE 21 May 2019
Essay Topic
E.g. Cybercrime

Specific Focus of Topic
E.g. Piracy and illegal downloading

Thesis
This will later be developed into your introduction (C-A-T)

Your argument

Background Information
Knowing and Understanding the Law

What your reader needs to know about the topic before they can read any further

  • Legislation
  • Elements of laws
  • Terms
  • Definitions
  • Facts This information is designed to provide background knowledge rather than to prove your thesis

Proving your Thesis
Investigating Legal Issues

Problems and issues with the specific law or laws in the context of your topic & evidence

  • 2-3 issues
  • Significant cases
  • Examples from other states or countries
  • Statistics
  • Newspaper articles Issue #1
    Each issue will form the point sentence for a
    para-graph &
    examples of evidence Issue #2
    Acknowledging Other Perspectives
    Responding to the Law (evaluating)

What is good about the current laws or ways of handling legal issues?

The social value to society in regards to the current laws or methods

Reforms & Improvements
Responding to the Law

How can the issues identified earlier be fixed or addressed?

May also include examples of how other states or countries dealt with this matter

Closing Idea
This will later be developed into your conclusion

Final thoughts for the reader
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