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AOS 3: REASONS FOR THE INTERPRETATION OF STATUTES BY JUDGES EFFECTS OF STATUTORY INTERPRETATION BY JUDGES Unit 3 Legal Studies Revision.

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Presentation on theme: "AOS 3: REASONS FOR THE INTERPRETATION OF STATUTES BY JUDGES EFFECTS OF STATUTORY INTERPRETATION BY JUDGES Unit 3 Legal Studies Revision."— Presentation transcript:

1 AOS 3: REASONS FOR THE INTERPRETATION OF STATUTES BY JUDGES EFFECTS OF STATUTORY INTERPRETATION BY JUDGES Unit 3 Legal Studies Revision

2 Statutory interpretation What is statutory interpretation? In your answer, explain the need for statutory interpretation. 2 marks

3 Answer Statutory interpretation involves a judge or judges who are presiding over a legal dispute examining and interpreting the meaning of words, phrases or sections contained in a relevant statute, before applying these to the facts of the case before them. The need for statutory interpretation arises when a court needs to interpret the words or phrases in a statute to determine their application to a case currently before the court. Eg: In the case of Deing v. Tarola, the Supreme Court of Victoria had to interpret the phrase ‘regulated weapon’ in the Control of Weapons Regulations 1990 (Vic) to determine whether a belt with raised studs was considered to be a weapon when worn as an item of clothing.

4 Question Give two reasons for when an Act of Parliament may need to be interpreted by a court. 2 marks.

5 Answer Mistakes in drafting the bill – due to a lapse in communication or a misunderstanding of parliament’s intention, the parliamentary draftsperson may have drafted a flawed bill. Courts then need to interpret the legislation according to the intention of parliament when they passed the act and decide on its meaning. Changing nature of words – the meaning and application of words can change over time as society changes, and the legislation needs to be interpreted to clarify the meaning of words and give the Act current meaning. Words within the act may be ambiguous – due to an attempt to make legislation cover a broad range of situations, this may result in some confusion about the wording used in the Act. Future and changing circumstances – the wording of an act may not encompass future circumstances, which could arise due to changes in technology and new developments.

6 Aids used in interpreting statutes Describe four guides or rules that judges could use to help them determine the meaning or purpose of words in a statute. In your answer, make sure that you include a discussion of intrinsic materials, extrinsic materials. 4 marks. 2 marks for each of the two sources of assistance, with each source requiring an explanation and example… SEE.

7 Answer The guiding principle to be followed is to determine the purpose of the legislation, as intended by parliament and to interpret the words in light of that purpose. There are three main sources of assistance: Intrinsic materials are those materials contained within the Act that is being interpreted and can be used to assist in the interpretation of other words or phrases in the act. Eg: subheadings, footnotes, definitions section. Extrinsic materials are those materials found outside of the Act that is being interpreted that can be used to assist in the interpretation of the meaning of words or phrases within the Act. For example: parliamentary debates (especially the second reading speech…why?), legal dictionaries.

8 Question Explain how judges set a precedent through statutory interpretation. 4 marks.

9 Answer When judges interpret the words with a statute, then the meaning that they will give to the words is read together with the actual statute to determine the law. The interpretation given by the courts will form precedent – a statement of law – that is binding on all courts lower in the same court hierarchy and could be influential or persuasive to other courts (eg: higher courts or courts in different hierarchies) in interpreting that same section of the act.

10 Examples… With the use of examples, analyse the effect of statutory interpretation by judges. 6 marks.

11 Answer NOTE: statutory interpretation by judges givens meaning to the words of the statute but does not change the words themselves. Statutory interpretation is a form of law making by creating a precedent to be followed in other cases. Eg: Tasmanian Dam Courts could extend the application of the law by giving the word a wide interpretation eg: Tas Dam expanded the definition of ‘external affairs’. Courts could restrict the application of by giving a word a narrow interpretation. Eg: Deing v. Tarola restricted the definition of a regulated weapon to something being used as a weapon. 1 mark for stating the effect 1 mark for the discussion (more than just what is above) Need to include example of each effect.

12 Explain the effects of interpretation by judges Words or phrases in the legislation are given meaning Statutory interpretation by courts creates a new precedent A wide interpretation of a word or phrase in a statute may extend the law A narrow interpretation of a word in a statute may restrict the law to cover only certain situations.

13 Explain the process by which courts make law. 8 marks.

14 Answer Courts make law in two ways: 1. Through the operation of the doctrine of precedent - a discussion of when it will arise; - what precedent is; - binding precedent, persuasive precedent; - ways in which judges can avoid precedent; - example (Donoghue v. Stevenson). 2. Statutory interpretation - when it is required; - what it is; - how is creates a law to be followed (the interpretation will remain law and be applied to other cases until it is either reversed or overrules by a superior court or abrogated by parliament. KEY POINT: Statutory interpretation can form precedent that can be either binding or persuasive.

15 Question To what extent does the decision of a court on an area of law represent the final statement of law? 6 marks.

16 Answer Need to address ‘to what extent’ through discussing the situations or times when court-made law is final, and no longer final. Courts are able to make law through doctrine of precedent, where the decisions made by judges form a statement of law. This may arise due to judges ruling on a case before them for which there is no existing law on the dispute; or, through judges applying legislation to cases before them and giving meaning to words or phrases in the statute (statutory interpretation). Any statement of law is binding on the parties to the case, and is binding on all courts lower in the court hierarchy. Thus, precedent will become the final statement of law at this time, but only until it is changed. It may be reversed in a higher court if the case in which the precedent is established goes to trial. The precedent may be overruled by a decision of a higher court (in a different case). Parliament can also cancel the precedent through passing legislation that is contrary to the precedent. As parliament is the supreme law-making body, it can create legislation when it is sitting (assuming that it has law making power in that area) that can override court made law. What was the structure of this response?

17 Putting it all together… mind map of this AoS so far…

18 Can you… Explain what statutory interpretation is? Explain the effects of statutory interpretation and give an example of each effect? Explain how judges set a precedent through statutory interpretation? Explain the materials that are used to interpret a statute? Discuss illustrative case studies of statutory interpretation.


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