The Library is open on the King's Birthday public holiday, Monday 12 June 2023. View the public holiday opening hours.

Hot Topics: Australian legal system

An overview of the elements of our system and how it developed, covering how law is made, what the law deals with and the roles of the legislature, judiciary and executive. 

About the author

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) is an independent, non-profit legal and policy centre. PIAC works for a fair, just and democratic society. It empowers individuals and groups, particularly those who are disadvantaged and marginalised. Using legal, policy, communication and training initiatives, PIAC makes strategic interventions in public interest matters.

Find more Hot Topics.



Chapter six


Federal Parliament - statute law - delegated legislation.

Chapter seven


The executive's involvement in making laws - the executive's role in law reform - the executive and the legal system.

Chapter eight


The judiciary's role in making law - alternative dispute resolution - courts and tribunals - precedent - appeals.

Chapter nine

The legal profession

Barristers - solicitors - Who pays for solicitors and barristers?


Hot Topics 79: Australian legal system. Hot Topics is intended as an introductory guide only and should not be interpreted as legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information, the Legal Information Access Centre does not assume responsibility for any errors or omissions.

© Library Council of New South Wales 2011. All rights reserved. Copyright in Hot Topics is owned by the Library Council of New South Wales (the governing body of the State Library of New South Wales). Apart from any use permitted by the Copyright Act (including fair dealing for research or study) this publication may not be reproduced without written permission from the Legal Information Access Centre.