Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Student Reflection - Phoenix Mason

Learning the history of Australia in concurrence with learning about their legal system has helped me to understand why the country developed in certain ways. While at the museums, it was interesting to see how American history led to the founding and development of Australia. The presentations we attended were very helpful in understanding how their legal system functions. Because Australia is a relatively new country, most of their legal system was influenced by other pre-existing nations, especially Britain. The presentation I found the most enjoyable and informative was the one with Judge Zara. He was very methodical in explaining how a fraud case would be investigated and later proven in a courtroom. I was especially interested in how the roles of judges differs between the two countries. It seems that judges do not have the same persuasive authority in Australia that I am used to in the American Legal system. He said that he has had cases walk into his courtroom that he has presided over, and he had absolutely no prior knowledge about the facts of the case. One of the biggest differences in our legal systems seems to be the discovery process. In Australia, judges do not oversee discovery, which I think puts them at a disadvantage. Judges have to rely much more heavily on the attorneys to make objections when evidence being presented might not be relevant, because the Judge has no knowledge of where the case is going, and therefore does not know whether the evidence is relevant. From the way it was described, I think the U.S. has a better system for ensuring that the rules of evidence are protected.

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