Single process

Edelman J Implications [2022] Spigelman Oration

In his Spigelman Oration, Edelman J stresses that interpretation involves a ‘single process’, not a two-step one.  This derives from statements in CIC Insurance (and other cases) that context and purpose are to be considered at the same time as the text.

The judge says (at 9) that it is ‘emphatically, not a two-step process of identifying a range of possible semantic meanings of words and then choosing the best of those meanings’.  The task involves a concurrent investigation of context and purpose.  We are to consider all viable meanings – not just literal and ordinary ones – and select the one which is open and best achieves the statutory purpose.

This principle is from Episode 90 of interpretation NOW!