hsc legal studies

With the Crime section of HSC Legal Studies, it is so crucial that you have a firm understanding of key legislation in order to answer multiple choice questions as well as give evidence in your short answer questions.

Luckily for you, we’ve collected all the key pieces of legislation for HSC Legal Studies: Crime!

We’ll cover their relevance, context, as well as how they contribute to the criminal justice system. Without further delay, here is the only list of HSC Legal Studies Legislation for ‘Crime’ you will ever need!

If you’re looking for some Crime case studies for HSC Legal Studies, just check out this article here!

If you’re ready to take on some Crime practice questions, make sure you head over here!

Let’s take a look!

1. The Nature of Crime
2. The Criminal Investigation Process
3. Criminal Trial Process
4. Sentencing and Punishment
5. Young Offenders
6. International Crime

1. The Nature of Crime


Crimes Act 1990 (NSW) & Crimes Act Commonwealth (1914)
  • Together, constitute most of the criminal law in New South Wales
  • Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
  • Australia is a signatory to this multilateral treaty

  • Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1966

  • Importantly, sets out "Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall have the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law."

  • Not enforceable in Australia but supports our domestic law
  • Offences against the sovereign

    National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014
  • Was a response to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security 'Report of the Inquiry into Potential Reforms of Australia’s National Security Legislation'

  • Amended the 'Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979'

  • Amongst other things, establishes ASIO's warrant-based intelligence collection powers and allows ASIS to collect intelligence on Australian persons
  • Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Act 2015
  • Implements recommendations of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security’s (PJCIS) 'Report of the Inquiry into Potential Reforms of Australia’s National Security Legislation'

  • Amends the 'Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979'

  • Requires telecommunications service providers to retain and to secure for two years telecommunications data (not content)
  • Anti-Terrorism Act (No. 2) 2005 (Cth)
  • Designed to control terrorist activity in Australia by (amongst other means):

  • - Preventative detention
    - Control orders
    - Restrictions on criticism of the sovereign
    - Police powers to request information
    - Providing funds to a terrorist or terrorist act
    - Charges for 'hoax offences'

    Economic offences

    Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)
  • Has been amended in the past, but remains active today

  • Outlines what constitutes as copyright, what it can be applied to, who can own it, etc
  • Drug offences

    Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW)
  • Defines use, possession, sale, supply and display, cultivation, manufacture as well as administration of prohibited drugs

  • Legislates for penalties for drug offences
  • Driving offences

    Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW)
  • Determines road rules, licensing, demerit point system, vehicle registration, defective vehicles, written-off vehicles, alcohol and drug-use, speeding, etc

  • Consolidated numerous Road Transport Acts
  • 2. The Criminal Investigation Process

    Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 (NSW) & Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Amendment Act 2014
  • Amendment after a review by The Department of Police and Justice

  • Outline discretionary role of the police regarding searches, sniffer dogs, warrants, detention, undercover police, etc.
  • Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act 2000 (NSW)
  • Establishes how forensic samples can be stored, destroyed, taken or tested

  • Under which suspects, volunteers and convicted criminals can be tested for DNA
  • Bail Act 2013 (NSW) & Bail Amendment Act 2014 (NSW)
  • Replaced the Bail Act 1978 after a series of reforms which gradually placed a presumption against bail

  • Amendment introduces provision for some offenders to show why they must be granted bail
  • 3. Criminal Trial Process

    Criminal Procedures Amendment (Indictable Offences) Act 1986
  • Splits indictable offences into three categories:

  • - Table One offences: summarily (unless prosecution or accused elects to have matter dealt with by judge and jury)
    - Table Two offences: summarily (unless prosecution decides to have offence dealt with by a judge and jury
    - Strictly indictable offences: most serious, must be dealt with by judge and jury
  • Discretion in whether a case is heard summarily or with a jury (Table One and Two)
  • Local Court Act 2007 (NSW)
  • Created Local Courts
  • Children's Court Act 1987 (NSW)
  • Created Children's Courts
  • Drug Court Act 1998 (NSW)
  • Created Drug Court of NSW
  • District Court Act 1973 (NSW)
  • Set up District Courts
  • Judicial Officers Act 1986 (NSW)
  • Allows functioning of Judicial Commission of New South Wales as an independent statutory corporation of the government that educates and examines complaints made against judicial officers in NSW
  • Evidence Act 1995 (NSW)
  • Outlines rules of evidence

  • Applies rules of evidence to all NSW court proceedings except sentencing proceedings

  • "Evidence which is relevant is generally admissible, and evidence which is irrelevant is inadmissible"
  • Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act 2000 (NSW)
  • Establishes how forensic samples can be stored, destroyed, taken or tested

  • Under which suspects, volunteers and convicted criminals can be tested for DNA
  • Section 23 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)
  • Partial defences to murder outlined
  • Jury Act 1977 (NSW) & Jury Amendments Verdicts Act 2006 (NSW)
  • Establishes framework for the use of juries

  • Amendment allows for 11 to 1 majority verdicts if unanimous verdicts can’t be reached after 8 hours
  • 4. Sentencing and Punishment

    NSW Court of Criminal Appeal with Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999
  • Allows NSW Court of Criminal Appeal to set judicial guidelines
  • The Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999
  • Governs way judges and magistrates determine sentences
  • Crimes Act NSW 1900
  • Stipulates the available penalty options and maximum penalties
  • Victims Rights and Support Act 2013
  • Created a victim's support division in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal

  • Also established a statute of limitations for those seeking compensation, a Commissioner of Victims Rights, restructuring payment schemes, counselling services and tailor-made packages for victims
  • Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Regulation 2014 (NSW)
  • Framework for admission for correctional centres, classification and placement of inmates, visits and communicaiton for inmates, home detention, drug-testing for inmates, and so on
  • 5. Young Offenders

    The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989
  • Human rights treaty

  • Australia is a party to this convention and thus, bound by international law

  • Compliance is continuously monitored by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

  • Outlines cultural, civil, political, health, economic and social rights of children
  • Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987 (NSW)
  • Establishes principal of doli incapax

  • Doli incapax: notion that children are not capable of being responsible for committing crimes (they cannot form mens rea)

  • Section 13: children have right to support person during police procedure

  • Section 11: offence to broadcast name or details of a child involved in legal proceedings

  • Outlines principles of sentencing children
  • Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 (NSW)
  • Provide extra protections to children when questioned or arrested
  • Young Offenders Act 1997 (NSW)
  • Section 22: parent/guardian must be notified when children is to be interviewed

  • Favours restorative justice and rehabilitations (warnings, official cautions and YJCs)
  • Children (Protection and Parental Responsibility) Act 1997 (NSW)
  • Section 19: young people may be asked to move on if they may engage in violent acts

  • Gives power to adjourn proceedings and direct parents to attend court
  • 6. International Crime

    Crimes Act 1914 (Cth)
  • Domestic measures for dealing with some foreign collaboration and offences
  • Crimes at Sea Act 2000 (Cth)
  • Applies criminal laws beyond Australia’s territorial waters to 370km
  • Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (1988)
  • A multilateral treaty which outlines punishment for crimes at sea
  • United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982)
  • Establishes responsibilities and rights of states regarding the use of maritime resources and business at sea
  • Geneva Conventions 1949
  • Defines international law regarding armed conflict with the aim of protecting non-combatants such as civilians or the wounded
  • Hague Conventions (1899 and 1907)
  • Defines what lawful war is
  • Criminal Code 1995 (Cth)
  • Makes crimes against humanity, genocide and torture offences
  • Crimes (Torture) Act 1998 (Cth)
  • Reflects UN Convention on Torture (1984) so that torture is to be punished no matter what the circumstances that surround it
  • United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime (2000)
  • Multilateral treaty against transnational organised crime

  • Australia is a party to this convention
  • And that wraps up our key pieces of Crime Legislation for HSC Legal Studies – good luck!

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    Sophia Zou considers it her mission to help students make the most of their final years at high school. Her interests include political science, Simon and Garfunkel, and pretending to be a tea aficionado. Alongside tutoring at Art of Smart Education, she spends her time playing the piano and studying Government & IR and Languages at the University of Sydney.