Critics’ Reviews

I know of no better text to introduce Australian law students to this critical topic … This book should be an essential text in all first year law courses. Further, its sound structure and clear expression repay reading by those of us who received no formal grounding in this vital aspect of public law, but struggle with statutes on a daily basis. – The Hon Justice John Basten, Judge of Appeal, NSW Court of Appeal, Australian Law Journal, 2019, 93

This book marries two well-known areas of law – public law and statutory interpretation. The justification, which is well-founded, is that statutory interpretation is a branch of public law and is regulated by public law principles. The authors – all academics at Monash University – discuss various topics over 12 chapters. Australian public law takes up the first eight chapters. The principles discussed include the rule of law, democracy, federalism, separation of powers, responsible government, parliamentary sovereignty and judicial power. The origins and evolution of Australian public law, the structure and processes of parliament, the institutions of the executive and the sources of executive power, and the Australian judicial system and judicial independence are also discussed. Statutory interpretation is surveyed over the remaining four chapters. Topics covered include the intention of parliament, “text, context and purpose”, syntactical presumptions, rights protecting presumptions in common law, and interpretative clauses in charters of rights. The authors have not set out to provide a comprehensive analysis of statutory interpretation, but to give an overview of the main topics and a public law perspective. The authors relate the material to the public law topics that were introduced in earlier chapters. Extracts of cases enable the reader to test the commentary against the primary source of law provided. The book makes few assumptions of the reader’s knowledge, and is primarily directed to law students. However, it should appeal to practitioners seeking a brief and readable account of public law and statutory interpretation. – Jeffrey Barnes, InPrint, Law Institute Journal Victoria, July 2018

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