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University of New South Wales

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Notes on Statutory Interpretation
Page 1/7

Notes on Statutory Interpretation

LAWS1141 - Principles of Public Law

7 Pages University of New South Wales Partial Study Notes Year: Pre-2016

There are 2 steps in statutory interpretation 1. Court Identifies that ambiguity exists 2. Resolving the ambiguity so that a clear meaning can be given to the particular words or phrases in dispute Step 1: Identifying ambiguity The meaning of words will generally not be clear if: - The words are capable of MORE than one meaning - The words are located next to other words or in a context that makes their meaning unclear - The literal meaning of the words produces an unreasonable or unjust result (by identify effect) - Consideration of the purpose behind the legislation throws doubt upon the intended meaning of the words (by identify the purpose) Step 2: Resolving ambiguity 2.1 If the meaning of words is not clear, it will be the court’s role to resolve any ambiguity by considering the words in the CONTEXT of the legislation as a whole 2.2 And in light of the PURPOSE that underlies the legislation. - The courts will look for Indications of the legislative purpose in the terms of the legislation itself, and - Where appropriate, in other relevant documents (extrinsic materials) - The courts may also use Secondary Guidelines to interpretation (such as common law presumptions, dictionaries etc) Step 1: Identifying Ambiguity Ambiguity arising from

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