What makes an effective court?

Aim:

To discover the key features of an effective court, identifying:

  • the people involved
  • the space they work in
  • those who are essential or not essential in the process.

Resources:

A courtroom is the place where a dispute may be finalised. Courts in Australia have many common features, including their appearance and the range of people that work in them. For many of us, our impression of how a court might look and they should work is influenced by the media.

For learners in groups

  1. After observing a ‘live’ court session, or after viewing the virtual tour, reflect on the following:
  • How are disagreements resolved between two or more learners in school? [Consider the role of each participant, including their rights and responsibilities in conflict resolution.]
  • Who makes the final decision?
  • Discuss and record the advantages and disadvantages of this process using a PMI (Plus-Minus-Implications) Chart.
  1. In groups debate one of the statements that follow, then report back to the class:
  • The court system in Australia is fair.
  • Courts can run effectively without a judge or lawyer.
  • Members of the public should be able to view courts.

Use Fact sheets 2, 3, and 4 and the Structured debate process sheet to help prepare and run your debate.

Other activities

  1. You are responsible for designing a new court for your local area or town. What should it look like?
  2. Research how courts work in another country.

South Australian Law Courts Education Program