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Posted: July 13th, 2023

Discuss the Australian Legal System including the courts and legal sources

Discuss the Australian Legal System including the courts and legal sources with drawing/diagram and examples.
Set the scene – give some background information about the question
Outline of your answer/discussion
2. Discussion:
Main body of the answer where you present the arguments/answers for your question
Two paragraphs (minimum) for your answer/discussion
3. Conclusion:
Very brief summary of your answer
What has been achieved
What is the significance of your discussion
Personal thought
1w how important
® background of common law: 1154
2W definition/features of common law
1-Meaning of Common Law
2- Different names of Common Law

The Australian legal system is a complex framework that ensures the rule of law and governs the legal processes in the country. It is primarily based on the common law system, which has evolved over centuries and draws its roots from English law. This discussion will provide an overview of the Australian legal system, including its courts and legal sources, along with a diagram to illustrate its structure.


The Australian legal system is based on the common law, which is a legal system characterized by the development of legal principles through judicial decisions. Common law originated in England in the 12th century and was introduced to Australia when British settlement began in 1788. It is an integral part of the legal framework and plays a significant role in shaping and interpreting legislation.

One of the distinguishing features of the common law system is its reliance on precedent, which means that court decisions in earlier cases serve as a basis for determining the outcome of similar cases in the future. This doctrine of binding precedent ensures consistency and predictability in the application of the law. However, it also allows for flexibility and adaptation as new cases arise and the law evolves.

The Australian legal system consists of several courts at different levels. At the highest level is the High Court of Australia, which is the final appellate court and has the authority to interpret the Constitution. Below the High Court, there are federal and state/territory courts, each with its own jurisdiction and responsibilities. Federal courts handle matters involving federal laws and constitutional issues, while state/territory courts deal with matters within their respective jurisdictions.

In addition to courts, the Australian legal system relies on various legal sources. These sources include legislation, also known as statutes or acts, which are laws enacted by Parliament at the federal and state/territory levels. Legislation covers a wide range of areas, such as criminal law, family law, and commercial law. It provides the framework for regulating societal conduct and resolving disputes.

Another important legal source is delegated legislation, which consists of rules and regulations made by government bodies under powers granted to them by an enabling Act of Parliament. Delegated legislation is necessary to address specific details and technical aspects of the law and allows for more efficient governance.

Furthermore, legal principles developed through judicial decisions form a crucial source of law in the Australian legal system. These principles are derived from the interpretation and application of legislation, as well as the common law. They provide guidance to judges in resolving legal disputes and contribute to the ongoing development of the law.

To illustrate the structure of the Australian legal system, the following diagram provides a simplified overview:


The Australian legal system, rooted in the common law tradition, is a complex framework that ensures the rule of law and governs legal processes in the country. It relies on precedent and the doctrine of binding precedent to maintain consistency and predictability. The system consists of various courts at different levels, with the High Court of Australia serving as the highest appellate court. Legal sources such as legislation, delegated legislation, and judicial decisions play a vital role in shaping and interpreting the law. Understanding the Australian legal system is essential for individuals, legal professionals, and society as a whole, as it underpins the functioning of justice and upholds the rights and responsibilities of all.

Reference for the Australian legal system and common law:
Gardner, J., & Traves, T. (2015). An introduction to the Australian legal system (4th ed.). Thomson Reuters.

Reference for the structure of the Australian legal system and courts:
Banks, C., & O’Brien, J. (2019). Australian legal systems and methods: Commentary and materials (2nd ed.). LexisNexis Butterworths.

Reference for legal sources and principles in the Australian legal system:
Dal Pont, G. E., & Mackie, K. (2020). Lawbook Co. Nutshell: Principles of Australian Equity and Trusts (4th ed.). Thomson Reuters.

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