The modern approach to interpretation takes legislation as ‘always speaking’. This dynamic method, in considering intervening things and the ‘life of the statute’, however, may raise issues about parliamentary sovereignty. There is a necessary tension between a requirement to progressively interpret legislation, against one which looks at meaning at the time of enactment. It is true that parliament knows that its statutes are read the new way, can make it clear if this is not to occur, and can change the law in the face of an undesirable decision. The most important thing, however, is that the ‘always speaking’ protocol is understood and applied properly. iTip – revisit Episode 2, and read Pearce & Geddes (at [4.9-4.12]).
John Milburn – barrister, QCAT & MHRT member, lecturer at Central Queensland University
See here for the official PDF of interpretationNOW! Episode 45
In this episode:
Writers – John Milburn & Gordon Brysland. Producer – Joseph Tranzillo