Critics’ Reviews

[Despite] theoretical inadequacies, it must be acknowledged that there is a great deal in this book that lawyers, judges and law thinkers generally will find of interest and use. …

… practitioners in employment law, family law, criminal law and others, will benefit from the essays dealing specifically with those areas.

This book is an excellent beginning. It offers hope for the future of a coherent theory of statutory interpretation in Australia. – Max Leskiewicz, (2006) 26 Qld Lawyer

Aside from a good legal dictionary, about the only book of common application to every legal practice is a good book on statutory interpretation.

Corcoran and Bottomley’s work, Interpreting Statutes takes a different approach to the several other Australian texts on statutory interpretation. Rather than approaching its subject on a holistic basis, the book presents a series of essays, each directed at explaining a theoretical premise of interpretation, or the application of interpretative theories to a particular area of law. …

… [E]ach chapter is interesting in its own right, and the first part of the book is of general academic interest… – Stewart Maiden, Victorian Bar News, Autumn 2006

The rationale of the book is the consideration of the fundamental importance of statutes and their interpretation across various fields of regulation. Importantly, the book does not seek to duplicate the work of text books on statutory interpretation such the excellent Pearce and Geddes, Statutory Interpretation in Australia, now in at least its fifth edition. Rather, it seeks to explore the big theoretical questions as to the role of legislation in Australian society, particularly, its system of legal regulation. Inevitably, constitutional questions arise …

The book is divided into part 1, a general section which considers statutory interpretation in a general context and part 2 which contains essays dealing with the topic in the context of particular subject areas. Of the essays in part 1, Corcoran’s own contributions dealing with theories of interpretation, generally, and with her preferred approach of dynamic statutory interpretation are of particular interest. …

The essays in part 2 address subject areas as diverse as codification of the criminal law; human rights law; native title; employment law and discrimination. Professor Stephen Bottomley’s essay, which looks at the interpretation of corporate regulatory provisions, provides insights which can be applied to many other areas of regulation. He takes the proposition that law takes its meaning and effectiveness from the parliaments that write it and the courts which interpret it and turns it on its head.

First, Professor Bottomley lists the large number of sources of corporate regulation which extend to ASIC policy statements and ASX listing rules. More importantly and more surprisingly, he points out that this large body of law takes it meaning from and is interpreted by every person who uses it including company directors, corporate advisers, regulators, even persons seeking to evade its provisions. While courts and their decisions are both authoritative and influential, courts only get to make such interpretations, relatively infrequently, compared to the acts of interpretation of regulators or persons advising company directors and the very many other users. Bottomley points out that, if attention is only focussed on the way in which courts interpret statutes, much of the process by which statutes are interpreted (and obtain their force and effectiveness in society) will be missed.

Each of the essays in this collection provides valuable insights for the working lawyer who seeks to understand his or her craft and the context in which it is practised. It is yet another valuable little contribution to legal scholarship from the Federation Press. – Stephen Keim, Queensland Bar News, December 2005

This is a book containing many interesting thoughts but not one that is likely to be carried around by practitioners for instant inspiration in court as it is more a work dealing with the philosophy of interpretation rather than its actual practice. – Australian Law Journal (Nov 2005) Vol 79

Scroll to Top