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Mar 12, 2024

Assignment Task


The objectives of the Commission Report are:

a) To expose students to the ‘law in action

b) To encourage students to critically observe, understand and reflect on legal hearings and law reform processes.

c) To allow students to analyse the workings, purpose and effectiveness of commission hearings.

d) To encourage students to contemplate the role of legal representatives and commissioners in commission hearings.

e) To allow students to conduct some legal research to support their analyses.

1. Basic information

Using information from the Commission website: briefly outline the nature of the Commission, the legislative basis for the Commission (i.e. which legislation authorised it) and 2 where the Commission is up to in its process(for example, is it recently established, underway or has it reported to the government). This section is descriptive.

2. Overview of the hearing

In this section, you need to enable your reader to understand the nature and the essence of the hearing you observed. Your overview must be succinct, yet detailed enough to cover the essential features of the hearing. This section requires you to describe certain aspects of the hearing. In particular, consider:

  1. How many people presided over the hearing and what was their role?

  2. How many witnesses appeared during the hearing, their names and positions (if they were appearing on behalf of an organisation)?

  3. Who else was involved in the hearing?

  4. What were the objectives of this hearing?

  5. How did this hearing fit within the broader Commission at the stage it was up to?

3. Hearing atmosphere In this section, you should describe and analyse the atmosphere in the location where the hearing took place. In particular, consider:

  • The level of formality in proceedings, the architecture of the location, and the effect of these (if any) on the hearing and the people involved.
  • Any cultural or language factors which may have affected the hearing.
  • Any other attributes of the witnesses that may have affected the accessibility of the hearing.

4. The role of lawyers

In this section, you should describe and evaluate the role of legal counsel assisting the Commission in the hearing you observed, and any legal representatives of witnesses. In particular, consider:

  • How did legal counsel interact with the commissioner/s and witnesses?
  • Did legal counsel and representatives behave professionally and ethically?
  • How effective was legal counsel at getting information from the witness(es)?
  • How was documentary evidence used during the hearing?

5. The role of the Commissioner(s)

In this section, you should describe and analyse the role of the Commissioner(s) in the hearing you observed. Consider:

  • The conduct of the Commissioner(s) during the hearing (for example, active or passive, their treatment of people present in the hearing room, their control over the hearing) and their role more generally.

6. Issue raised in the hearing

In this section, you should provide a brief overview of one issue relating to the criminal justice system that was raised in the hearing. The criminal justice system includes policing, bail, criminal lawyers, courts and tribunals, and penalties, such as prison.

Remember that you only have words for the whole report, so this section should be as concise as possible. This means defining the issue narrowly. For example, you should not attempt to tackle an issue as broad as ‘the impact of the criminal justice system on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’. Instead, you should focus on a specific issue, such as the impact of court formality on persons with a cognitive disability or the lack of representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on criminal juries, etc.


  • What was the issue? 
  • Who raised the issue (a witness, a Commissioner, a lawyer)? Did their expertise or lived experience inform their knowledge of the issue?
  • Was a solution to the issue proposed?
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