Keeping up to date on legislation is crucial for Legal Studies. After all, legislation really are laws, and you won’t be able to evaluate nor make a comment on the legal system without explicitly referencing some legislation.
And as I explained, it’s uncommon in schools to be taught how to independently locate and analyse legislation.
And to add to the problem, sometimes textbook legislation is outdated.
As a Legal student, keeping abreast of legal developments throughout your HSC is vital (don’t just look on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald the eve of your exam!). So here are my 4 tips for Finding Legislation for HSC Legal Studies!
Optimising class material
Your teacher doesn’t hand out government reports and newspaper articles for fun. But it’s so common that students skim the material in class and throw it into a folder to be lost forever.
However, this is all extremely relevant and should not be wasted. Reading over it in class together, however, is not enough. To maximise its utility, highlight the following:
- All mentions of legislative change
- Mentioned legislation (e.g. actual names of laws in question)
- Legislative proposals (e.g. proposed legislation)
Whatever type of media outlets you use to keep up to date with the news, or whatever type of social media, there is always an opportunity to tap into the “legal news” world.
With some of these, you can do an RSS follow, or subscribe to their mailing list, or just check the website regularly (I recommend making one of these your homepage!):
- ABC News “Law Crime and Justice” Topic
- The Australian “Legal Affairs” Topic
- Australian Financial Review “Legal News” Topic
- Sydney Morning Herald – which has a fantastic login service where you can save your clippings
Apart from news outlets, you can click to follow them on facebook if that’s somewhere you check regularly. If you use Twitter, you can also follow similar webpages.
Of course this is not an exhaustive list. There are many more available. Although if you’re unsure of their credibility, perhaps check with your Legal Studies teacher.
Being organised with the huge amount of information in Legal Studies is half the struggle.
- With all the sheets and printouts in class, I would keep these sheets separate to the rest of your work in it’s own folder for ease of access later on (trust me!).
- For me, online content is copy and pasted in a word document for ease of access. A structure I recommend is: URL, relevant legislation and a brief outline. For example:
If you’re not already using it, Elizabeth is obsessed with Pocket. It is an offline reader where you can download articles and tag them. She is currently studying law, and with an emphasis upon international law, terrorism, and war law both current and historical. This is what her Pocket looks like:
The next step would be placing all your information into relevant headings. Using the headings of the syllabus would be the best idea. Organising stacks of legislative information this way means essay preparation is monumentally easier, you can cull irrelevant legislation, make sure you have no repeats etc.
Shown below, headings are circled in green and subheadings in blue.
Sophia Zou recently completed the HSC in 2013, so fortunately for AOS Community Blog-readers and perhaps less fortunately for her, the memories of Year 12 are still fresh in her head. Sophia considers it her mission here to help students make the most of their final years at high school. Her interests include political science, Simon and Garfunkel, and pretending to be a tea aficionado. Alongside tutoring at Art of Smart Education, she spends her time playing the piano and studying Government & IR and Languages at the University of Sydney.