Intermediate Law Law And You Worksheet 3: Australian Law - Home Affairs

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Intermediate Law Law and You Worksheet 3: Australian law

Copyright With the exception of the images contained in this document, this work is Commonwealth of Australia 2011. You may download, display, print and reproduce this material in unaltered form only for your personal, noncommercial use or use within your organisation for the purposes of the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP). Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, all other rights are reserved. Use of all or part of this material must include the following attribution: Commonwealth of Australia 2011 This document must be attributed as [Intermediate Law Law and You – Worksheet 3: Australian law]. Any enquiries concerning the use of this material should be directed to: The Copyright Officer Department of Education and Training Location code C50MA10 GPO Box 9880 Canberra ACT 2601 or emailed to copyright@education.gov.au. Images 2011 Photos.com, a division of Getty Images. All rights reserved. Images reproduced with permission. Acknowledgements The AMEP is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training. Disclaimer While the Department of Education and Training and its contributors have attempted to ensure the material in this booklet is accurate at the time of release, the booklet contains material on a range of matters that are subject to regular change. No liability for negligence or otherwise is assumed by the department or its contributors should anyone suffer a loss or damage as a result of relying on the information provided in this booklet. References to external websites are provided for the reader’s convenience and do not constitute endorsement of the information at those sites or any associated organisation, product or service. The Department of Education and Training accepts no responsibility for the accuracy, completeness or currency of material contained on any external website that is referred to in this booklet. 2

Intermediate Law Law and You Worksheet 3: Australian law Worksheet 3: Australian law A. Read the article. 1. Laws affect every area of your life. For example, there are laws about immigration. There are laws about how much you are paid at your job and about how you can rent a place to live. Laws also affect our private lives. 2. Laws are not just to punish people who commit crimes. Laws also protect ordinary people. For example, there is a law which says that nobody can discriminate against you in any way because of your colour, race or sex. There are other laws that protect you from being cheated when you buy something and that set safety standards at work. 3. Everyone has to obey the law — that includes the politicians, the judges, the police and members of the military. If you are a visitor to Australia, or if you have not yet become an Australian citizen, the laws still apply to you. 4. There are different kinds of law to deal with different kinds of problems. Four important kinds of law are civil law, criminal law, family law and administrative law. Civil law deals with disputes between individuals; for example, if someone sells you goods that are faulty, or that cause you injury or damage, you can take that person to court. Criminal law deals with disputes between the state and individuals. A crime is seen as an offence not just against the person who is the victim, but against the whole society, the state. Crimes can be very serious — murder and sexual assault are examples. And crimes can be less serious, such as traffic offences. If a police officer charges you with a crime, remember that, in Australia, you are innocent until you are proved guilty in a court. Family law deals with disputes between people who are married or living in a de facto relationship. It deals with separation and divorce. It also deals with what should happen to the children of the couple and to any property the couple may own. Administrative law deals with government decisions; for example, government officials decide who should receive Social Security benefits and who should not. This kind of law gives ordinary people the right to question the decisions made by public administrators. You do that in a tribunal or a court. 5. In our legal system, you have two sides which oppose each other. Each opposing side has to put forward the very best argument it can, to bring out all the facts. This system is called an adversary system because there are two opposing sides. The idea is that after each side has presented its arguments, the judge will decide whose case is the stronger. Usually each side gets a lawyer to present its case in court. 6. If the police think that you have committed a crime, they may want to ask you questions. You do not have to answer any questions. It’s a good idea to be polite, but you do not have to say anything. If the police say “You are under arrest”, you have to go with them to the police station. But you have the right not to say anything. There are a few other things to remember about the police. The police are not connected in any way with the military. They are two completely different things in Australia. The police have to obey the law just like everyone else. If you have a complaint about a police officer, get some legal advice. Never offer a police officer money. 3

Intermediate Law Law and You Worksheet 3: Australian law 7. If you have a dispute with somebody 9. A summons is a document that says you which involves the law, you can go to court have to go to court. It tells you where the to protect your rights. There are different court is and what day you have to be kinds of courts for different kinds of there. problems. As well as courts there are tribunals. Never ignore a summons. Get some legal advice and make sure you go to the right 8. The local court is the most common court. court on the right day. If you don’t go to Local courts deal with the less serious court, you won’t have a chance to explain crimes. They also deal with civil disputes your side of the story. between individuals. B. 10. If you have a legal problem you may need a solicitor. A solicitor is a lawyer. Solicitors are specially trained in the law. A solicitor can advise you about your rights, and tell you if it’s a good idea to go to court. He or she can prepare the documents you need to begin your case in court. And a solicitor can go to court to present your case for you. The article is divided into 10 sections. Below is a list of headings that give the main idea for each of the sections. Match the heading to the section number. Heading Section number Heading a. The courts and tribunals f. b. There are different kinds of laws g. Solicitors c. If the police want to question you h. The laws apply to everyone d. Introduction i. Laws give rights and protections e. Never ignore a summons j. Local courts Section number Adversary system 4

Intermediate Law Law and You Worksheet 3: Australian law C. Answer the questions. 1. Why do we have laws? 2. Who has to obey the laws in Australia? 3. Name four different types of law. 4. Explain what the adversary system is. 5. What is a summons? 6. If you receive a summons, what should you do? 7. What is a solicitor? What do solicitors do? 5

Intermediate Law Law and You Worksheet 3: Australian law D. Write ‘True’ or ‘False’ to these statements. True/False 1. Judges are the only people who don’t have to obey the law in Australia. 2. It’s okay to offer money to an Australian police officer. 3. A solicitor is a type of lawyer. 4. Visitors to Australia have to obey Australian laws. 5. Local courts deal with serious crimes. 6. If the police arrest you, you must go with them to the police station. 7. In Australia you are innocent until proven guilty. 6

4. There are different kinds of law to deal with different kinds of problems. Four important kinds of law are civil law, criminal law, family law and administrative law. Civil law deals with disputes between individuals; for example, if someone sells you goods that are faulty, or that cause you injury or damage, you can take that person to court.

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