How laws are made
3 lessons
Syllabus Outcomes:
5.1 applies consumer, financial, business, legal and employment concepts and terminology in a variety of contexts
5.2 researches and assesses commercial and legal information using a variety of sources
5.8 explains commercial and legal information using a variety of forms
works independently and collaboratively to meet individual and collective goals within specified timelines
Students learn about:
How laws are made
- Common law
- Statute law
- Constitutions
Students Learn to:
- investigate the difference between judge-made law and parliament-made law using cases
- examine how a bill becomes a law using a contemporary example
- distinguish between the role of the federal and State constitutions in guiding law-making
Indicators of learning – By the end of this lesson students will be able to...
- Distinguish between court made and parliament made law
- Explain the origins of the current legal structure
- Explain the use of precedent and name cases that set legal precedents
- Chronologically order the steps needed to pass a bill
- Examine the positives and negatives of a current bill (Queensland flood levy)
- Create a constitution
- Students participation during class discussion
- Students completed flow diagram
- Students completed constitution
Lesson Plan
10 min – Introduction
20 mins – Text review and activities
50 mins – Team teaching exercise
10 mins – legal precedent discussion
30 mins – Passing a bill activities
30 mins – Constitution activities
Text Page
Pg 82-85
Glossary of Terms:
Define the following in your glossary of terms in the back of your workbook
- Statute law
- Common law
- Precedent
In Australia there are two ways of making laws, those which are written down before they need to be used and those which are created to deal with new situations in court cases as they arise. This lesson we will look at the origins and characteristics of each, and the role of the Australian Constitution in resolving law disputes between states.

Text Review:
Read pages 82 – 85 of your text and complete the following activities.
1. Explain the differences between common law and statute law
2. Create a timeline showing the beginnings of parliament and common law (turn your workbook around and use a full page, ensure the timeline is to scale and includes all relevant information)
3. List a number of precedents that operate in your school. Explain how these ‘precedents’ were established and the advantages and disadvantages of having such precedents.
Team Teaching Exercise:
For this part of the lesson the class will be divided in half. For the first half of the lesson, one half of the class will be with Mr. Smith who will take you through how a bill is passed through Parliament to become statute law and the other half of the class will be with Mr. Horan and will use case studies to discuss legal precedent.
Legal Precedent:
As a class discuss the following statement: ‘Courts should determine all cases on their merits and should not have to follow legal precedent’.
Passing a Bill:
1. Create a flow diagram listing the seven steps undertaken for a new law to be made or an existing law changed.
2. Why is it so important for a bill to be debated so often? Write your answer in 6 – 8 lines in your workbook.
3. CURRENT ISSUE – The Gillard governments flood levy. Undertake internet research and create a list of arguments for and against the levy.
external image australiancourtsystemtool.jpg
Clickview Video:
Governing Australia: How laws are made - 22 mins
The Constitution:
1. Outline the importance of a constitution.
2. In pairs write a constitution for the operating of a sports team. (This may be completed and saved as a word document. Ensure both students have a copy)
3. Read the first page of the Australian Constitution (link available below), highlight the key terms and sentences on this page of the document.