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Tasmanian Law Handbook

Your online guide to the law in Tasmania

The Handbook is a teaching and learning resource accessible to everyone interested in the law, and anyone who is looking for information about a legal issue.

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Search the handbook

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How to Use This Handbook

The Tasmanian Law Handbook is intended to be accessible to everyone. There are two ways of navigating the information it contains. The search function allows you to look up mentions of specific words and phrases. This is located at the top right hand corner of your screen or on the title page of the Law […]


The Handbook should not be used as a substitute for legal advice.

No responsibility is accepted for any loss, damage or injury, financial or otherwise, suffered by any person acting or relying on the information contained in this Handbook or omitted from it.

Accidents and Insurance

This section covers negligence, motor vehicles and insurance. These are complex areas of law, and remember: legal advice is always important.

Appearing in Court

What are the penalties for a crime or offence? This chapter outlines the main penalties for crimes and the rules surrounding appealing a court’s decision as well as the process of laying a charge, the type of evidence that can be used in court, how the court reaches a verdict and what happens where there is a guilty plea.

Community – taking care at home, on the road and online

This section covers a large range of community and environmental topics, from neighbourhood disputes, immigration and citizenship and road rules for cyclists and skaters. See the headings for information on the specific issue you are seeking to learn about.

Consumers, Money, and Debts

This section covers some basics of the Australian Consumer Law (e.g. guarantees and remedies, misleading and deceptive conduct, consumer protections), the legal framework of contract law (what is a contract and what does it mean if a person signs?), debt and bankruptcy.

The Court System

Why are some crimes heard before a judge only and others before a judge and jury? This chapter explores how the courts are structured, the roles of different actors in the process and the law that governs how the courts operate.

Crime and Punishment

This chapter explains the difference between a crime and an offence, the difference between criminal and civil wrongs and which court will hear a matter. Also considered here are the rights of a person charged and the process, procedure and outcomes of court.

Criminal Offences and Penalties

In this section, you will find information on some of the main areas of criminal law; police process of search, arrest, what happens after arrest as well as information on some of the main areas of criminal law.


This chapter explores environmental law in Tasmania, provides information on the Environmental Defenders’ Office (EDO) and industry codes of practice as well as explaining the environmental and planning framework and management of pollution law. In addition, information on assessing environmental impacts and local government issues (rates).

Family Law

It is advisable to promptly seek legal advice when your family structure changes due a relationship breakdown. Family structure changes impact on various aspects of your life, including Centrelink payments.

Government, Administration and Justice

This section provides information on public law; the role of and areas covered by the Ombudsman, the right to information, privacy and appealing/challenging a government decision.

Government Assistance and Income

This section explores the law and obligations of superannuation and taxation as well as detailing the social policy and requirements to receive financial assistance from both the Commonwealth government and Tasmanian government.

Housing – Renting and Buying

This section provides information on public housing, planning and development laws, selling and buying a house, and information on residential tenancy.

Immigration Law

This chapter explores the migration regulations and citizenship information in Australia. This includes types of Australian visas, the status of unlawful non-citizens, how decisions are reviewed by the Department, useful contacts and other available resources.

The Law in Tasmania and Australia

The law in Tasmania can be imagined as a set of four babushka dolls. The smallest doll is Tasmanian law – bylaws, regulations, legislation and such like. These include council regulations and bylaws, driving laws, criminal offences, and many other aspects of law that affect our lives. The patterns on this smallest doll are made […]

Legal Assistance

This chapter explores how a person can obtain legal advice or representation, the work that lawyers do and whether an alternative to court is available (e.g. mediation, conciliation or arbitration). An overview of the Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania and Community Services specialising in legal advice and representation is also provided.

Legal Glossary / Dictionary

Law speak can seem like a foreign language. See this glossary for an explanation of terms that have a particular meaning at law.

The Legal Profession

What is the role of a lawyer? This chapter explains the different types of lawyers and their obligations to clients as well as the rules and qualifications required to practice as a lawyer. The role of the Legal Profession Board (governing lawyers’ conduct), how a lawyer is dealt with if a complaint is made and the remedies available is also explained.

Medical and Mental Health

This section covers two significant areas: medical and mental health. This is a large area of law, ranging from medical products through to committal orders for mental health issues.

Neighbourhood Disputes

This chapter provides information on boundary disputes and environmental issues that occur between neighbours as well as detailing some practical tips to assist resolving any issue that has already arisen.

Rights in Society – from discrimination to intellectual property

These chapters look at rights and equitable access in law. These rights include intellectual property, rights of recognition and anti-discrimination, and legal protection.


In what circumstances can a person represent themselves in civil and criminal proceedings? This chapter details the circumstances where a person can seek representation or advice from the Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania as well as how self-representation operates in criminal and civil matters.

Wills, Estates and Funerals

This section provides practical information on many of the major matters involved in wills and funeral expenses. Also explored is guardianship laws in Tasmania.

Work and Workers

This chapter of the Handbook looks briefly at the rights and obligations of employers and employees, workplace health and safety law, and workers compensation. See the Work Safe Tasmania website for comprehensive information. Disclaimer