Essay: Justice, Human Rights, and Criminal Process

Task Description:

Students should select a case from the reports and critically examine aspects of procedural and substantive justice arising in the case.


The case selected should involve the death of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person in police custody, where the coroner made recommendations as part of their inquiry. It can be a death in custody in any Australian jurisdiction, although you may find it interesting to examine a Queensland case to see procedural aspects arising in our jurisdiction. Review the online video in the Assessment folder to see how to set up your search terms appropriately to find a relevant case.




Although each case will have different issues arising, your submission should be structured around the following content:



1.       A succinct overview of the key facts of the case – e.g. how did the person come into custody, what happened in custody, how did they die, what were the key recommendations made by the coroner.


Applicable criteria: Demonstration of knowledge and understanding of key issues arising from the case selected



10     marks


2.       A critical examination of the procedural aspects of the case – e.g. key issues with process re: the arrest or conditions of custody or other police interactions arising?


In this section, analyse the issues arising with respect to procedural aspects of the case to identify how/where problems or areas of weakness or injustice arise. You should incorporate appropriate sources to support your analysis. Critique the issues arising – do not simply describe the issues. Highlight aspects of legal process as relevant – e.g. arrest processes, custody procedures, policing powers etc.


Applicable criteria: Demonstration of ability to analyse and critique procedural aspects of criminal justice process




10     marks


3.       A critical examination of the case with a broader view of justice – what key issues/themes arise in terms of criminal process, human rights, and justice more broadly?


In this section, analyse the case to identify and critique broader issues of justice or injustice that are highlighted by the death in custody you have chosen. You will need to conduct research and use appropriate sources to support your analysis. Critique the issues arising – do not simply describe the issues. Highlight how legal and/or procedural aspects intersect with e.g. broader social, behavioural, or systemic issues or contexts in the case you’re examining.


Applicable criteria: Demonstration of ability to identify and critically examine criminal justice processes from a broader socio-legal perspective




15    marks


4.       Writing, research and referencing


You should draw on a range of good quality source materials to build and support your explanations, analyses, and critiques. Your submission should be correctly referenced using the Australian Guide to Legal Citation style. Your essay should be well structured, logical, well-written, and free of grammatical/spelling mistakes.


Applicable criteria: Demonstration of ability to use effective research and referencing skills to support analyses and argument and use of effective written communication skills to support analyses and argument.



5 marks




40 marks

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