Hayne & Gordon course notes
The authors, one a Royal Commissioner and the other a High Court judge, refer to ‘one of the complexities’ students face – being that canons of construction ‘can be used to justify almost any result that the user wishes to achieve’2. This is not a new idea3 – one observation being that they involve a ‘jumble of mutually contradictory directives’4.
Five points – (1) this ‘complexity’ confuses argument with interpretation. (2) the latter does not ‘wish’ for any particular result5. (3) s 15AA6 and courts require a purposive approach. (4) any choice between canons is directed by that approach. (5) s 15AA excludes canons to the extent of any inconsistency7.
This case is from Episode 41 of interpretationNOW!
2 Hayne & Gordon course notes – Statutes in the 21st Century (at 6).
3 Llewelyn (1950) 3 Vanderbilt LR 395 (at 401), for example.
6 s 15AA of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.
7 Plaintiff S10  HCA 31 (at ) illustrates.