Students will develop their understanding of the principles of statutory interpretation, and hone their ability to apply those principles in practice. The interpretation of contracts, constitutions and treaties will also be explored, observing where the core principles of statutory interpretation (text, context and purpose/intent) also apply to those texts, as well as learning rules particular to contracts, constitutions and treaties. Interpretation is a day-to-day task of the lawyer but many practising lawyers (and other professionals who work with the law) do not have a background in the discipline. This unit will teach the principles of interpretation, with a particular focus on practical application through the use of real-world examples, in-class exercises, and 'how to' guides. The unit will cover topics in- (i) Statutory interpretation (7 lectures): Modern approach, text, context and purpose; Canons and presumptions; Overlap and boundaries with common law; Acts interpretation legislation; Regulations and other subordinate legislation; The role of extrinsic materials; Practical steps to take when construing a provision; Exercises in commercial, administrative, environmental, labour and tax statues; and Recent controversies and the approach of the current High Court (ii) Contract interpretation (2 lectures): A private instrument: similarities and differences to statutory interpretation; and Surrounding circumstances and status of Codelfa 'true rule' (iii) Constitutional interpretation (1.5 lectures) - Dynamic document or original intent; and Practical examples from Commonwealth and NSW constitutions and (iv) Treaty interpretation (1.5 lectures) - Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties; Treaty obligations and domestic legislation; and Exercises in international arbitration, immigration, environmental, insolvency and tax law. Two of the above lectures will be given by guest lecturers from the judiciary and senior bar. The final two lectures will involve revision and overview, additional problems and assessment preparation.
Oct 3-5 and 8, 9 (9-4)
assignment (30%) and take-home exam (70%)