Coming of Age

Gageler J in a new book ‘Dynamic and Principled’

Ch 1 in a book about Sir Anthony Mason is titled The Coming of Age of Australian Law7.  Gageler J calls out 2 developments in interpretation as contributing to this ‘coming of age’.  The first was federal legislation ‘mandating attention to legislative purpose and facilitating recourse to extrinsic materials’8.  Second was the 1974 book Statutory Interpretation in Australia by Dennis Pearce9.  To these may be added judgments of Mason J in several influential cases10

All of these signal an independence leading up to the Twin Pillars of our well-settled method – CIC Insurance 1997 and Project Blue Sky 1998.  Those cases are also significant ‘coming of age’ events in our legal history.

This principle is from Episode 92 of interpretation NOW!


7 McDonald, Chen & Gordon Dynamic and Principled Federation Press.

8 ss 15AA and 15AB of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 respectively.

9 Now in its 9th edition, the 2nd to 8th being co-authored with Harry Geddes.

10 Cooper 147 CLR 297 with Wilson J, K & S Lake 157 CLR 309 dissenting.