Event Title

Four Core Differences in US and Australian Law and Application to Schools, Teachers and Students

Document Type





Joy Cumming is a Professor of Education in the Faculty of Education and Arts at the Australian Catholic University, leading a research program on Assessment, Evaluation and Student Learning within the Learning Sciences Institute Australia. Originally a secondary school teacher in English and Mathematics, she has been involved in educational research for nearly 40 years.

The origins of Australian and US law from the English system should indicate that the systems are similar. Both have statute and common law, both make assumptions of innocence and pursue adversarial approaches to establishing guilt or liability. In practice, especially for education law, four core differences, three from Constitutional law and one from public law, frame the impact of both education praxis and legal challenges. This presentation will provide an overview of Australian law, and differences from US law, with examples of the impact of the differences on education law challenges: Individual rights; Reserve powers; the Establishment Clause, and the Briginshaw principle for burden of proof.