2nd Edition

Law in Australian Society An Introduction to Principles and Process

By Keiran Hardy Copyright 2025
    22 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    22 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    What is 'the rule of law'? How do laws get made? Does our legal and political system achieve justice for all Australians equally? Designed for beginners as well as non-law students, this textbook provides a comprehensive and accessible guide to understanding Australia's system of law and government.

    Law in Australian Society explains legislation and case law, courts, and the doctrine of precedent. Keiran Hardy examines the roles played by parliaments, politics and the media. He explains founding principles, including democracy, liberalism, the separation of powers and federalism. Human rights and justice are highlighted, with an emphasis on First Nations Peoples and the law. The book explains criminal responsibility and the justice system, including police powers and the criminal trial. It concludes with case studies of cybercrime and counter-terrorism laws to illustrate law reform in action. This second edition has been fully updated throughout, including recent legislation, cases, and topical issues from Australian law and politics, including from the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent referendum on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament. Each chapter features practical examples, chapter summaries and review questions together with a glossary of key terms. 

    Concise, accessible and up-to-the-minute, this is a vital guide for anyone seeking to understand Australian law and government.

    Introduction Part 1: Law and its Influences 1. What is Law? 2. Legislation 3. Case Law 4. Politics 5. The Media Part 2: Rights & Justice 6. Founding Principles 7. Justice 8. First Nations Peoples & The Law 9. International Law & Human Rights Part 3: Criminal Justice 10. Criminal Responsibility 11. Investigation & Trial 12. Sentencing & Appeals 13. Cybercrime 14. Counter-Terrorism. Glossary of Key Terms. Index


    Keiran Hardy is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University and a member of the highly respected Griffith Criminology Institute. He is a recognised expert on counter-terrorism and national security laws and contributes regularly to public inquiries and the media.

    Law in Australian Society provides an invaluable entry point for new students and all those seeking to understand the institutions and laws under which we live. In accessible prose, Keiran Hardy demystifies the law and explains its role in contemporary Australia, drawing on recent issues and live debates. A terrific book!”

    Andrew Lynch, Professor & Dean, UNSW Faculty of Law & Justice.

    “This highly readable book provides a comprehensive introduction to the law, setting out key concepts using contemporary and engaging examples.”

    Elaine Pearson, Asia Director, Human Rights Watch.

     “There is a special lauded place in academia for those who possess the skills to distil the complex into the palatable—and this book does exactly that … I commend this book for all those who seek to understand our legal system and strive to study it without undue complexity.”

    David Heilpern, Associate Professor and former Magistrate, Dean and Chair of Discipline (Law), University of Southern Queensland.