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Chapter
one of ‘The Legal Maze’, written by Jim Ouliaris and Bianca Crawford (2017),
focuses on the idea of the legal system being analogous as a maze, and the idea
that to work our way through this maze, we need to understand our right and
responsibilities. This chapter also focuses on legal foundations including the
role of individuals, the role of laws and the role of the legal system in the
topic of social cohesion.

Individuals and Social CohesionAny
decisions made within the legal system can have quite severe consequences in
the real world. Because these decisions can be so powerful, it is important
that the right decisions are made when necessary, as they can assist in
ensuring social cohesion. Positive decisions have desired effects such as
minimising conflicts and a peaceful, functioning society. However, they can
only be made when we all have a basic understanding of our rights and
responsibilities. In our society, it is everyone’s responsibility to know and
abide by the laws that have relevance to their state and country. This is an
individual’s role in achieving social cohesion. Because Ignorance of the law is
not an excuse, behaviours and actions that interfere with the law, should not
be overlooked for the reason of lack of knowledgeThe Legal System and Social CohesionAlthough
it is not solely the responsibility of individuals to achieve social cohesion,
help from the laws and legal system are also required. In the case study shown,
there is an example of how the law is necessary to achieve social cohesion, and
the effects it has when it is not enforced. The Apex Gang are a group that are
mainly involved in carjacking’s and home invasions. In response to this attack
the Victorian government created carjacking and home invasion punishable by
maximum 25 years imprisonment. Yet residents are still left terrified, enough
to even start a patrol group. the issue presented here is the lack of police
resources. This demonstrates the importance of the legal system and law in
social cohesion. As evident here, when the legal system fails, and individuals
don’t decide to abide by our laws, there is an increase in conflicts, and a
decrease in the ability of social cohesion.The law and Social Cohesion

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The law is the reason we can live together, in a
relatively peaceful manner, as it defines our rights and responsibilities. There
are also guidelines and laws made to regulate behaviour. These are call codes
of behaviour and there are three main ways in which the law has established
codes of behaviour. These include; Laws
may demand that we behave in a certain way, Laws may place restrictions on our
behaviour and Laws may prohibit
certain types of behaviour. The laws not only represent community, social,
moral and economical values, but ultimately enable us act freely, whilst
limiting the actions of those who infringe upon the rights of others. The law not
only places restrictions on behaviour, but enables us to fairly resolve
disputes and provide for change. It is the job of courts and tribunals to
interpret and apply the law when disputes arise, with the assistance of the law
to describe how courts can execute their functions. .
Laws also need to have the ability to be modified
with time to needs our societies changing needs. Australia’s Legal Foundations  Established on January 1st, 1901, the
Australian legal system takes element from both the British Westminster system,
and the Washington system, and therefore is said to be the ‘Washminster
system’. The elements from the Washington system are a Federal system, House of
Representatives and Senate. Whereas the elements taken from the Westminster
system are Responsible Government and Government from the lower house.  Then there are elements that were taken from
both systems which are Courts and Common Law.

In
closing, this chapter of The Legal Maze focuses on the legal system being
parallel to a maze, functions of the law, our legal systems foundation, the
importance of social cohesion and the roles needed to maintain it. 

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