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Level 7 legal studies


Indicators are adjuncts to the objectives – their purpose is to provide greater clarity in terms of expected depth and scope by providing examples of the kinds of behaviours and capabilities that a teacher might expect to observe in a student who is achieving at the appropriate level. Teachers can add further indicators if they wish.

Students can use the indicators as a guide when assessing their own progress; teachers can use them as a guide when reporting to parents, whānau, or the next teacher.

Context elaborations

Context elaborations are possible contexts for learning, with an indication of how they might be used in relation to the learning objectives concerned.

The listed context elaborations are examples only. Teachers can select and use entirely different contexts in response to local situation, community relevance, and students’ interests and needs.

Assessment for qualifications

The legal studies unit standards will be reviewed in the next cycle. When the standards for this subject have been finalised, this guide will link them to the relevant learning objectives.

For information about the standards and access to the present legal studies unit standards go to the NZQA website. At present only level 2 and 3 legal studies unit standards available.

Learning objective 7.1: Legal concepts and principles

Students will gain knowledge, skills, and experience to:

  • describe and explain legal concepts and principles.


  • Describes and explains concepts of law.
  • Describes and explains concepts of democracy and government.
  • Describes and explains concepts of justice.

Possible context elaborations

  • Sovereignty from the Magna Carta to the Bill of Rights (1689).
  • Establishment of sovereignty in New Zealand: through Treaty of Waitangi or through discovery and occupation?
  • The features of parliamentary sovereignty:
    • Parliament is the supreme law-making body.
    • Statute is the highest form of law.
    • Parliament can delegate power.
    • No body or person can invalidate parliamentary law.
    • Parliament cannot bind its successors.
  • Types of justice: distributive, as seen in the proper allocation of such things as wealth, power, reward, respect between different peoples and so on; retributive; restorative.
  • Social justice: a world which affords individuals and groups fair treatment and an impartial share of the benefits of society; civil rights movements, Te Tino Rangatiratanga, Amnesty International, affirmative action, and so on.

Learning objective 7.2: Legal systems and processes

Students will gain knowledge, skills, and experience to:

  • describe and explain legal systems and processes.


  • Describes and explains systems of government and their formation.
  • Describes and explains law making processes.
  • Describes and explains litigation and dispute resolution processes.

Possible context elaborations

  • Comparison of proportional representation with first past the post (FFP): New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
  • Characteristics of liberal democracy: New Zealand, as exemplified in the election process, civil liberties, an uncensored media, constraints on executive power, rule of law, freedom for minorities, and so on.
  • The law reform process: needs, key features, agents, processes, influence on/by values, effects.
  • The judicial law-making process: precedent, statutory interpretation.
  • The adversarial system: the role of the parties, the role of the judge, the status of the accused, rules of evidence/procedure, burden/standard of proof, legal representation.
  • Comparison of the adversarial and inquisitorial systems: investigation, roles of the parties, composition of the courts, procedural rules, case resolution (for example, New Zealand compared to France).

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Last updated August 15, 2012