Episode 57

Episode 55 observes a ‘certain stability of the law’ on interpretation.  But, given that stability, why is the task so hard, and why do so many cases still turn on a complicated application of the rules?  A few points can be made.  The first is that interpretation is first and always an objective exercise.  Absent objectivity, it becomes too easy to fall into the trap of searching for factors that support a desired outcome (consciously or unconsciously)1.  The second is that interpretation is a process to be followed, not some revelation to be awaited.  We must have the discipline to follow the steps the High Court tells us to take and not jump to easy or convenient conclusions.  The third is that it is the principles which are important, not any rigid application of granular rules2.  Keeping these things in mind will make us all better at statutory interpretation.

Jeremy Geale – Acting Second Commissioner, Law Design & Practice

See here for the official PDF of Episode 57 of interpretation NOW!

In this episode:

Writers – Jeremy Geale, Gordon, Oliver & Phillip.  Producer – Oliver.


1 Certain Lloyd’s [2012] HCA 56 (at [26]), Williams [2019] HCA 4 (at [79]).

2 Taylor [2014] HCA 9 (at [37]), Li [2018] SASCFC 52 (at [96]).