All Episodes

Rule of Law

episode 1 – THE RULE OF LAW

The Rule of Law is central to understanding legal systems in democracies. It all begins here.

Adversarial System

episode 2 – THE ADVERSARIAL SYSTEM

The adversarial system of justice came from the English common law and spread. It is contrasted with the inquisitorial system found in non-Anglo democracies.

Sources of Law image

episode 3 – where does law come from?

Parliaments make laws. But so do judges. International treaties may also be a source. And it gets even more complicated.

A stern-looking judge

episode 4 – JUDGES

How can we ensure that those who judge between government, citizens, or businesses are impartial?  All Rule of Law systems have protections for judicial independence, to promote impartiality.  But there are weak spots, as we explore in this episode.


The Jury

episode 5 – THE JURY

Juries make for great books and movies, but what really is their role in the adversarial system?  Do they lead to fair decisions?  Are they too expensive, leading to court backlogs?  Have they had their day?  In this episode we look at the jury, its history, and why it is mainly a feature of common law systems.


Law Courts

episode 6 – ACCESS TO JUSTICE

The Rule of Law may be a great ideal, but does it mean anything if in practical terms many people do not have access to legal advice and adjudication.  In this episode we look at the barriers to access to justice and some of the ways in which these barriers are at least partially overcome, including Alternative Dispute Resolution and the emerging Online Dispute Resolution.

Lawyers

episode 7 – LAWYERS

Lawyers have a very particular role in the adversarial system, and a corresponding set of ethical requirements.  In the 2000s in Victoria, Nicola Gobbo, a criminal defence barrister became a secret, registered informer with the police.  She arranged for some clients to give evidence against other clients, arguably framing them.  Eventually, the arrangement came to light and a Royal Commission was immediately established to investigate the facts of numerous cases.  In this episode, we speak to solicitor, Ruth Parker, who acted for the first person whose conviction was overturned, after serving 12 years in prison.

Corporations

episode 8 – CORPORATIONS

There is almost nothing we do in our everyday lives that does not involve corporations or companies.  From small family companies to global corporations which are larger than the economies of some countries, corporations dominate our lives.  In this episode we look at what a corporation is.  We focus on a subset of corporations; companies with a share capital which operate a business for profit.

In future episodes we will look at some of the issues surrounding “limited liability” and at businesses behaving badly.  This episode sets the scene for those, offering a legal primer on what corporations are.

To be released 17 June 2024

Do Not Enter Sign

episode 9 – Why do people obey the law?

Myths abound about crime rates and law-breaking.  In fact, some kinds of crime are going down and others are probably going up.  A more interesting question is why so many people obey the law most of the time.  In this episode we look at the main theories about legal obedience. 

Listen to the Two Steves agonise about all this, whilst having a dig at politicians, only to happily conclude that we might still be asking the wrong questions.

To be released 1 July 2024