Given that over 50% of your marks solely come from writing essays in legal studies, it is really important to ace your essay writing!
First up, know how much to write in each of the essays.
Do note that the structure of both the 15 marker and 25 markers remains the same. So then, what should be the structure of the essays? It is summarised as follows:
Picking & Finding your Media Articles, International Instruments, Legislation & Cases (MILC)
This is in the marking criteria and hence you need to include these to ensure higher marks. You should aim to include at least one of each of the MILC. But one exception may apply where topic doesn’t have an international document related to it.
You don’t need to go into too much detail about these. Just make sure to remember when choosing your MILC, they need to support your point and the argument you are asserting. Think of it as evidence for your point. The case or media article chosen should strengthen your argument by illustrating or giving an example of your point.
In regard to finding your appropriate MILC for an essay:
Short Answer Questions
These are composed from only the human rights content you learn. This section accounts for 15 marks. Generally, it starts off with 2-3 questions worth no more than 4-5 marks, and then the short answer section will usually conclude with a question worth more marks (commonly 6-8 marks).
Remember there is no need to structure your answers for short answers – you should rather focus on getting straight to the point. A good strategy is to aim to get one of the total marks of the question within the first or/and second line of your answer.
Although, with the larger question at the end, it may be useful to structure your question a bit more. Again, not like an essay, but just have some clarity to your response. For instance, for a question on the Bill of Rights could be structured like this:
'Discuss whether Australia should have a charter of rights. (6 marks)
A charter of rights is a document which sets out human rights of a country or people, within the nation state. There are many for and against of whether Australia should have a charter of rights.
A legislative charter of rights is one which can be changed, which means, the human rights stated in the charter can be changed with changing social values, to suit and adapt well to the new values. For example, In USA – the right to bear arms, is no longer seen as very important, however the right is so entrenched that is nearly impossible and very difficult to change. Thus, it does not meet current society values, creating controversy. Whilst a legislative bill of rights will be appropriate in meeting society’s values, it also means human rights can be changed at any time, thus not providing the greatest protection for human rights of all persons, which defeats the main purpose of having a bill of rights.
Although an entrenched bill of rights will provide a very strong protection of individuals’ human rights, as it is extremely difficult to change. This would also ensure rights are put above politics, so the charter of rights would preserve individuals and minorities from possible oppressive laws. It would further allow judges to protect human rights more effectively by interpreting a consistent charter of rights. Contradictory to this is, however, an entrenched bill of rights will mean governments can do very little about society’s changes in values. They could try to hold a referendum, but this is very time consuming, costly and is not always successful. Thus, Australia does not need a charter of rights because of the major disadvantages, as it protects individuals’ human rights quite sufficiently.'