Michael Kirby has described interpretation as ‘an art not a science’1. As readers of statutes, we may forget that the exercise cannot be reduced to a scientific calculation or mechanistic formula2. It is not something a robot can do … yet. Interpretation involves a sympathetic quest for meaning, where context in the widest sense is consulted at the outset and in parallel. Sometimes the investigation of context may seem like a saga. Alley v Gillespie is a recent example3. To determine who had the call on who was eligible to sit in parliament, the High Court took a deep dive into historical developments and extrinsic materials. This case shows that, invariably, it is context which lights the path to reliable answers. iTip – recall our mantra, ‘text > context > text’4.
Joseph Tranzillo – Tax Counsel Network
See here for the official PDF of interpretationNOW! Episode 35
In this episode:
Writers – Joseph Tranzillo, Gordon, Ellis, Suna & Marcus.
3 Alley v Gillespie  HCA 11.