High Court Judge Michael Kirby (retired) once said, ‘don’t forget the justice bit’. In Unit 3 we explore this comment to the nth degree. This thinking featured strongly in the 2018 VCAA examination and is a common thread throughout our course.
Welcome to VCE Legal Studies in 2019. Our focus in Unit 3 concerns the principles of justice. Remember them. They are fairness, equality and access. Our new study design clearly focuses on the need to understand the direction of the law in Victoria in 2019. It is not by any means new thinking, after all, we must remember that the law is conservative and moves slowly. (Rooij, Meene, 2008) said, ‘Indeed, reforms to improve poor people’s access to justice and to promote their legal empowerment comprise the latest trend in legal development cooperation.’
Rooje and Meene focus on academics and policy makers in their journal written 10 years ago. It is from a Dutch university. How, therefore, can that type of thinking assist a young Australian indigenous woman who is being held on remand in the Victorian correctional system in 2019? Quite simply, there is a trend in international law that Retired Justice Michael Kirby reminded us of on his last day as a High Court of Australia justice. In 2019 VCE Legal Studies we would be hard pressed to forget it (the justice part that is!)
There are groups of Victorians that face barriers to our legal system. These same peoples are often living in remote areas or they are unemployed. Law reform in these areas is happening now but each time a government changes, so do the policy makers that empower that reform.
I hope you have an enjoyable start to your studies in 2019. Please try and visit one of our courts this year. Ask to hear a speaker from a community legal aid office in your area. Studying the law is a wonderful thing and I hope it becomes your favourite subject.
Peter F Hughes
The Mallee 2018