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Understanding Legal Language and Legislation Introductory remarks.

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1 Understanding Legal Language and Legislation Introductory remarks

2 MARCH 2011 UNDERSTANDING LEGAL LANGUAGE AND LEGISLATION TIME: Three Hours This paper consists of THREE questions. Candidates are required to attempt ALL THREE questions. Question One is worth 50%; Questions 2 and 3 are worth 25% each. All questions may be answered in one examination booklet. Each page of each answer must be numbered with the appropriate question number. Candidates must indicate which questions they have answered on the front cover of the first examination booklet. Candidates must write their answers clearly. Lack of legibility may lead to a delay in the candidate’s results being given. Permitted Material: This is an open book exam. Candidates may refer to any books and any printed or handwritten material they have brought with them. As some instances of cheating and of bringing unauthorised material into the examination room have come to the attention of the Admission Board, candidates are warned that such conduct will result in instant expulsion from the examination and may result in exclusion from all further examinations. This examination should not be relied on as a guide to the form or content of future examinations in this subject.

3 Question One Multi-issue statutory interpretation problem – Similar to assignment question – Similar to question we will practice today – 50 marks – 1.5 hours to complete – Open book, BUT – not expected to have any particular sources with you (eg dictionaries.)

4 Question Two Essay Question E.g. Are the common law assumptions re statutory interpretation a sufficient protection of our fundamental rights? E.g. What are the principles which govern the use of extrinsic material, and how can it be used? 25 marks – 45 minutes Answer should be supported by examples/case law etc

5 Question Three 3 short answer questions 25 marks in total (about 8 marks each) 45 minutes in total – 15 minutes each question Examples follow

6 Example One Section 7 of the Official Secrets Act 1980 (Cth) provided: Any person who aids or abets and does any act preparatory to the commission of an offence under the Act shall be guilty of a felony. Jeremy was charged with doing an act preparatory to the commission of an offence contrary to the section. He raised the preliminary point that this was not an offence under s7. Could this contention be upheld?

7 Example Two Section 12 of the Licensing Act 1872 (NSW) provided that: Every person who in any highway or other public place, whether a building or not, is guilty while drunk of riotous or disorderly behaviour, or who is drunk while in charge on any highway or other public place or any carriage, horse, cattle or steam engine, or who is drunk when in possession of any loaded firearms, may be apprehended, and shall be liable to a penalty Ross, who was found pushing his bicycle along the road while in a drunken state, was charged with an offence under s12. Could he be convicted?

8 An editorial in the Sydney Daily Chronicle in July 2008 bemoaned the increasing amount of litter in public spaces. In part, it trumpeted: We have become a city of litter bugs, dropping our mess wherever we choose. We don’t even bother to put our rubbish into the numerous bins which are provided. If we consistently refuse to take responsibility for our own actions, then sadly, the Government must step in. We need sanctions against public littering to bring this problem under control. As a response to the problem identified by the Sydney Daily Chronicle the NSW Government introduced the Control of Public Rubbish Bill. When introducing the Bill to the Legislative Assembly, the Minister noted: This beautiful State is being besmirched by the actions of irresponsible litterers. We need to remind our citizens of their responsibilities with respect to rubbish. This bill introduces a two pronged response – public education and severe sanctions. We need to achieve cultural change so that people no longer throw rubbish carelessly in the general direction of a bin, but that they place it carefully where it belongs. This Bill is a step towards achieving this cultural change. The Bill passed both houses and received the Royal Assent on 1 January It provided, in part, as follows: 3. Defintions In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears: ‘deposit’ means place rubbish wholly within a designated rubbish receptacle; ‘designated rubbish receptacle’ means any bin with the word ‘rubbish’ located on it in a prominent position; ‘litter’ means any rubbish which is lying on any surface outside a designated rubbish receptacle; ‘rubbish’ means any wrapper, covering, paper or other item used in connection with food, but which is not part of the food to be consumed; 10. Littering (1) All persons shall deposit all rubbish in a designated rubbish receptacle. (2) Any person whose rubbish is found as litter is guilty of an offence. (3) Penalty for breach of this section: fine not exceeding $500. Jeremy and Daniel are walking through the park on 1 February 2009 on their way home from basketball. Jeremy is eating an iceblock and Daniel is munching on an apple. When they are finished eating, Jeremy drops his iceblock stick in the general direction of the marked rubbish bin, but misses and it lands on the ground. Daniel tries to slam dunk his apple core. He makes the bin, where it rebounds inside and then bounces out of the bin and lands on the grass. A park ranger, noticing this behaviour, arrests both boys. Using the rules of statutory interpretation, advise Jeremy and Daniel.

9 The Royal Astronomical Society of NSW wrote to the Premier in March 2009 urging government action about the problems caused by growing development in NSW. The escalating number of light sources they claimed was polluting the night sky and making astronomical observations almost impossible. “Soon the Southern Cross will become the Southern Pin Point” they argued. In response, the NSW government enacted the Light Pollution Control Act 2009 (NSW) to deal with the problem of light pollution. It provides, in part: S2 Purpose The purpose of this Act is to preserve the beauty of the physical environment of NSW from pollution by light or from any other source. S6 Pollution control Light application to any surface in NSW without permission is an offence. (a)Timon is a world famous artist who believes in the democratisation of art. He eschews private galleries and likes to give his art to the people. Timon uses a series of lasers to project a light portrait of the NSW cabinet on the sails of the Opera House. Public opinion is divided, with some commentators labelling it as unauthorised visual pollution. However the artistic community universally hails the work as a wonderful addition to NSW. (b)Jason is a graffiti artist. He likes to acknowledge the work of other graffiti artists and so paints over their work, but uses a light application of paint so that the earlier work can also be seen. He paints a new work, over an existing mural on the approaches to the Harbour BridgearH, using his light application technique. Both Timon and Jason are charged with a breach of s6 of the Act. Assuming the Act was in force at all relevant times, and stating and applying the rules of statutory interpretation, advise Timon and Jason.


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