Episode 35

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.

1 Kirby (2011) 35 MULR 113 (at 132), Episode 10

2 cf Middleton J (2016) 40 MULR 626 (at 632), Episode 22.

3 Alley v Gillespie [2018] HCA 11.

4 Episodes 4 and 7.