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What is law all about - information for schools, TAFE and students

Areas of law

The legal profession comprises many different practice areas.

Criminal law involves offences against society's rules. The police (or the Crown) take action against the accused on behalf of society. Legal practitioners can both prosecute and defend the accused.

Civil law embraces all other forms of law that are not criminal.

Common areas of civil law

Administrative law Related to government planning, social security and other decisions made by government
Banking and finance Transactional (financial activities within banks and financial institutions) and non-transactional (advisory work regarding banking and finance regulations)
Commercial law Applies to the rights, relations and conduct of individuals and businesses involved in commercial trade
Constitutional law Related to the interpretation of laws and rights contained in the Commonwealth and state constitutions
Construction law Regulation of construction and engineering activity in terms of contractual negotiations and management of disputes
Contract law Regulation of the roles, relationships and obligations of parties engaging in the negotiation of a legal agreement
Corporation law Governing the law of corporations whether as a business, virtual or fictitious persons
Employment law [see labour law]
Energy and resources law Regulating the environmental impact of development, in line with national and international environmental law
Family law Regulation of human relationships and dealings (including marriage, divorce, adoption)
Film and entertainment law Dealing with the commercial issues attached to production, finance and distribution of film/television
Human rights law A system of laws, both domestic and international, which is intended to promote human rights. Includes a number of treaties which are intended to punish some violations of human rights such as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide
Insolvency litigation Regulation of banking and debt recovery issues
Intellectual property law Related to patents, trademarks and copyright for intellectual property
International law Governing negotiation between countries
Labour law Regulation of industrial and workplace relations
Law of succession [see wills and estates]
Law of torts Responds to cases of conflict between people and/or legal entities and governs compensation for wrongful acts (negligence, nuisance, defamation, trespass)
Native title Concerns the legal rights and interests of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders. Involves traditional native laws and customs related to land and waters, as recognised by Australian law
Personal injury law Related to workplace health and safety
Property law Administers property purchases and sales
Sports law Regulation of the structure and management of sports entities
Taxation law Regulation of the tax obligations for individuals and businesses
Wills and estates Concerns the distribution of property following death (execution of wills, estate planning, etc)
University career guides

Victorian university law schools publish careers guides containing profiles of various law firms and organisations, career guidance information and testimonials from members of the legal profession. Hardcopies are usually available through the corresponding law students' societies (LSS). Softcopies may also be available on their websites.

Two other valuable online sources are: