Episode 48

Under the ‘modern approach’, objective discernment of statutory purpose is not only integral1 but also a requirement of the ‘unqualified statutory instruction’ in s 15AA2.  For constitutional reasons3, however, the starting point in all cases must be the text of the statute.  Context in the ‘widest sense’ is to be consulted as part of this process.   Whether this is expressed as ‘text-context-text’4 or ‘text-context-purpose’, the method involves repeated reconsideration of the text in light of what context, purpose, extrinsic materials or legislative history may reveal.  Calls to ‘begin with a consideration of the text itself’5 are not to be seen as some reversion to literalistic methods of the past.  iTip – As Edmonds J has said, those methods have passed into history6.

Philip Borrell – Law Interpretation

See here for the official PDF of interpretationNOW! Episode 48

In this episode:


Writers – Philip, Gordon, Oliver & Sarah.  Producer – Suna.

1 Thiess [2014] HCA 12 (at [22-23]).

2 SZTAL [2017] HCA 34 (at [38-39]).

3 Dossett [2003] HCA 69 (at [57]).

4 Episode 7.

5 Alcan [2009] HCA 41 (at [47]).

6 Edmonds J (2012) 12 AGSTJ 79 (at 79).