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1

Background to laws

1. Law has a social context
2. Early laws based on a moral code derived from
Christianity (eg. The 10 Commandments)
3. Alternative views & philosophies
• Emphasise an individualistic perspective
• Separation of Church & State
• Right & wrong determined by what law says

2

Clashes between views on la

Examples where conflict arises:
➢ Abortion
➢ Euthanasia
➢ Same sex marriage
➢ Genetic manipulation

3

What types of law exist?

Statute Law
• Common Law =

4

Statute Law

= law made by the Commonwealth,
State and Territory Parliaments
• Also called legislation consisting of Acts and
delegated legislation (regulations)

5

Common Law

law made by judges
• Accumulated body of law from judge’s
decisions
• Also known as case law

6

Common law and statutory law

have a
symbiotic relationship (ie. do not exist
independently)

7

Principles of Law

Natural Justice
Rule of Law
Presumption of Innocence (in criminal law)
Principles of Law
Balance of probabilities
Doctrine of Precedent

8

Natural Justice

 Not denied liberty/property/livelihood without
being warned & heard in own defence
 None may sit in judgement of another if have a
vested interest in the case

9

Presumption of Innocence (in criminal law)

 Only guilty if action was an offence at the time
 Government is not above the law
 Must be proved guilty (eg. news reports refer
to “alleged”)

10

Balance of probabilities

➢ Civil law / administrative law

11

Doctrine of Precedent

➢ Means that judges are bound to follow
interpretations of the law made by judges in
higher courts, in cases with similar facts or
involving similar legal principles