• Publication Date: October 10, 2017
  • EAN: 9781760021528
  • 352 pages; 6" x 8⅝"
Filed Under: Public

Public Law and Statutory Interpretation

Principles and Practice


Product Description

This book is the first of its kind to provide a clearly written and comprehensive overview of public law principles, together with the principles and process of statutory interpretation. The former inform the fundamental nature of the Australian legal system; the latter is vital knowledge in a legal system in which statute law is so pervasive. This approach is consistent with the contemporary case law of the Australian High Court, emphasising that the principles of statutory interpretation reflect the constitutional relationship between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.

More particularly, the book provides:

an overview of the origins and key stages in the development of the Australian legal system;

an explanation of the concepts and ideals that form the foundation of Australian public law;

an introduction to the institutions, structures and powers of, and relationships between, the three branches of the Australian government; and

an explanation of how, in light of key public law principles, legislation is interpreted by Australia’s courts.

This book will be useful to scholars and practitioners seeking to understand the foundational principles of Australian public law, or statutory interpretation. The four authors, all experienced researchers and teachers in public law, designed it to be a complete resource for introductory public law units, before students move on to more advanced subjects such as Constitutional and Administrative Law.

The book adopts an engaging and approachable style with expository and analytical text, combined with carefully edited extracts of key cases and straightforward commentary on both foundational and advanced issues. It also includes:

several in-depth case studies, which provide an opportunity to engage with pressing public law issues in a practical context;

discussion questions, reflective exercises and other activities, to demonstrate the contemporary significance of the issues explored in the text.

Preface Acknowledgments Table of Cases Table of Statutes

1. Foundational Concepts

2. Relationships and Structures

3. The Origins and Evolutions of Australian Public Law

4. Parliaments and Legislative Power

5. The Executive and Executive Power

6. The Courts and Judicial Powers

7. Public Law in Practice: Executive Detention of Asylum Seekers

8. Public Law in Practice: Human Rights and Public Law

9. Our Statutory Universe

10. Principles of Statutory Interpretation: Text, Context and Purpose

11. Principles of Statutory Interpretation: Presumptions and Protecting Rights

12. Principles of Statutory Interpretation in Practice



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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