Year 12 Court Visit

Year 12 Legal Studies students have experienced the Justice System first hand through their recent visits to the Dandenong Magistrates’ Court. Each class visited the Court on a different day which really enabled them to gain a true perspective on the wide variety of cases that are dealt with over the course of a day. The students commented on the effectiveness of the legal process in dealing with issues quickly as well as the extensive knowledge of the law that is required by a Magistrate to ensure they make decisions that are fair and equitable for all concerned.

The range in the jurisdiction of the Magistrates’ Court also became evident as students were able to witness cases from simple summary decisions to the more complicated committal procedures, where in some cases the defendant was in custody in the courtroom. One of the groups was also privy to the operation of the Family Violence Division of the Magistrates’ Court, while the other observed references made to the Drug Court Division. There was one case that was even referred to a Diversion Program, which was rare and very insightful.

The students were also privileged to be able to act out the court room procedure for a trial. The Magistrate closed the court and allocated the students and teachers to take on the various roles in the courtroom. Lucas Athanassiou really enjoyed sitting in Magistrates’ chair, especially while the teachers were in the Dock as prisoners who were guarded by the students.

Both visits were educationally rewarding. They should provide the students with a broader range of understanding of the court system and its very extensive jurisdiction. We are thankful to the court and Magistrates for providing us with this valuable experience.

Marianne Marshall
Yr 12 Legal Studies Teacher