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Connections between legal studies and other senior subjects

Legal studies is a discipline within the social sciences learning area of The New Zealand Curriculum. It provides schools with opportunities to make cross-curriculum connections using a social inquiry approach to engage students and develop key competencies.

There are a number of ways that legal studies can be connected to other senior subjects. For instance, a school in which legal studies is taught as a commerce subject may find that business related contexts are more significant to their students, whilst a school where legal studies is taught as a social science may prefer political or legal contexts. Many schools may prefer a broad mixture.

Social science subjects

For example, history, economics, social studies.

Students of legal studies are encouraged to develop their understanding of New Zealand society and the global community. They are empowered to participate as critical, active, informed, and responsible citizens in their communities. They explore the development of law in New Zealand and the influence of the Treaty of Waitangi on New Zealand law. They learn about the importance of law in economic activities and their rights and responsibilities as consumers and citizens.


Students of legal studies need to gather and process information from a variety of sources, including the media. They need to use written and oral language effectively to identify and describe issues; recognize and analyse problems; think objectively, critically, creatively, and reflectively; and evaluate processes and systems.


Students of legal studies need to recognize, analyse and respond to mathematical information such as trends in crime in New Zealand. They need to gather, process, and present statistical information, analyse, and interpret statistical evidence, and draw conclusions from data.

Using ICT in legal studies

Students need to understand the changing nature of the relationship between technology and various aspects of the law and the legal system.

They also need to develop their skills in information and communication technology for gathering, collating, and presenting research data; presenting assignments and projects, for example, by using desktop publishing tools to present pamphlets and fact sheets; and taking full advantage of the internet to further their research and understanding of New Zealand and other legal systems.

Foundation learning in literacy and numeracy can be supported from relevant content taught in legal studies.

Cross-curricular collaborative planning and assessment, integrating legal studies with other senior subjects, can take place in different ways (see learning programme design).

Teachers of legal studies could join with teachers from many curriculum areas to integrate learning across the learning areas or to teach appropriate content relating to legal studies within the other subject areas.

Last updated August 12, 2013