Legislative proclamations

Aregar v Cox [2018] NTCA 3

When an Indonesian national was prosecuted for fishing in Australian waters, proof of boat location became critical.  This turned on a proclamation defining our ‘exclusive economic zone’.  As a legislative instrument, the proclamation was to be interpreted as if it was an Act of parliament5

This meant context and purpose were central and that every effort should be made to avoid invalidity.  It was also to be read to produce the ‘greatest harmony and the least inconsistency’6.  Applying these principles, the vessel was found to have been in Australian waters.  This case shows how context and harmony rules apply to legislative instruments7.

This case is from Episode 38 of interpretationNOW!


5 s 13(1) of the Legislation Act 2003, Agfa-Gevaert (1996) 186 CLR 389 (at 398).

6 Australian Alliance [1916] SR Qd 135 (at 161), Pearce & Geddes (at [2.26]).

7 cf Episodes 9, 13 & 28.