This foundation unit introduces students to the 'nuts and bolts' of the Australian Legal system and legal reasoning. In addition, it offers a selection of socio-political contexts within which to situate and critically evaluate the contemporary Australian legal system.  This unit provides a foundation for the study of law at Victoria University and, as such, successful completion is a pre-requisite for progression through the Law course.

This unit:
  • Provides students with a working foundation in the technical structure of Australian legal systems and legal reasoning, using applied practical teaching and learning methods;

  • Exposes students to ways of making sense of Australian legal systems and legal process in a legal academic way, using selected contexts from criminal and private law;
  • Introduces students to the broader contexts in which legal issues may arise, including the political, social, historical, philosophical and economic contexts; and
  • Inducts students in the ways of the lawyer, including and legal reasoning and appropriate language use and structure
  • using reflective, applied and theory-based teaching and learning methods.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Analyse the components of Australian legal systems, and elaborate how these components intersect and interact, and how lawyers use these systems;  
  2. Communicate using appropriate professional legal language and express ideas and perspectives;  
  3. Situate and analyse Australian legal systems within broader contemporary social and political contexts;  
  4. Articulate and write about law in a coherent and professional way; and  
  5. Work collaboratively and independently to use legal reasoning, (including statutory interpretation and application of case law) to create and present logical structured answers to problem-style legal questions.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Test Quiz 1 10%
Assignment Research assignment 30%
Assignment Critical Reflection and Legal Reasoning Task 50%
Test Final Quiz 10%

Required reading

Foundations of Law in Australia 2nd
(compilation text), 2018

Australian Guide to Legal Citation 3rd
Melbourne University Law Review Association
Available in hard copy or online:

Additional readings as listed in Unit of Study Guide and/or unit's VU Collaborate space.

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

Study a single unit

This unit can be studied on its own, without enrolling in a full degree. Learn more about single units of study at VU.

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