Minogue v Victoria [2018] HCA 27

Retrospectivity describes a law that changes legal rights linked to past events7.  Gordon J (at [111]) noted it is ‘somewhat distasteful’, more so when it takes away accrued rights8.  It was held, however, that parole rules9 were not retrospective.  Also, parole is a privilege not a right10.  There was nothing the prisoner could rely on, therefore, nor could those rules ‘upset otherwise settled expectations’11

This case shows the subtle difference between a law which is retrospective and one which merely takes account of past events as the basis for how a future law applies.  iTip – in all retrospectivity situations, first refresh your understanding of the concept12.

This case is from Episode 39 of interpretationNOW!


7 Episodes 7 & 14, AEU [2015] FCA 1196 (at [237-262]).

8 Quoting Hill J in Boral Windows (1998) 83 FCR 215 (at 221).

9 ss 74AAA and 127A of the Corrections Act 1986 (Vic).

10 Crump [2012] HCA 20 (at [60]), Knight [2017] HCA 29 (at [27]).

11 Carlton 512 US 26 (at 37) (1994), Connolly 475 US 211 (at 229) (1986) cited.

12 Pearce & Geddes (at [10.1-10.10]) is the best place to start.