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  • 03 The Justice System
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The Justice System


This section is useful for readers who are unfamiliar with key legal concepts (such as; legislation, common law and platforms to access legal information). In particular, this section looks at the many aspects of the criminal law, from courts to representation.

This section provides the foundation to understanding all areas of the law and is useful for readers who are unfamiliar with key legal concepts (such as; legislation, common law and platforms to access legal information). The section also covers; the court system and how different courts operate, the criminal justice system, process and procedure and outcomes of appearing in court, appealing a decision, accessing legal representation and the role of a lawyer.


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 pattern...

Aspects of 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

Page last updated 27/02/2022

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