3.3.3 Reasons for interpreting statutes Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in 3.3.3 Reasons for interpreting statutes Deck (13)
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1

Statutory Interpretation:

Involves judges interpreting the meaning of the words in a statute in order to apply the Act to the case in order to resolve the dispute.

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Reason 1:

The meaning of the words may be ambigious

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Ambiguous:

The meaning of the words may be ambigious, that means it might have more than one meaning and the court has to determine what Parliament intended in this context.

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Example 1:

Davies v Waldron 1989, the phrase 'start to drive; in the Road Safety Act 1986 Vic had to be interpreted. Thus the court held that accused who sat in the car with the engine running had an intent to drive.

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Reason 2:

Changing nature of words

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Changing nature of words:

The meaning of words changes over time as society changes, thus the legislation needs to be interpreted to clarify the meaning of the words to give the Act its current meaning.

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Example 2:

Kevin's Case 2003, the Family court interpreted the Marriage Act 1961 Cth, and held that the word 'man' includes a person born a female who undergone a gender change.

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Reason 3:

Mistakes in the legislation

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Mistakes in the legislation:

Parliamentary counsel may make mistakes when drafting a Bill

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Example 3:

S.51 of the Crimes Act 1958 Vic deals with sexual exploitation of people with impaired mental functioning. A witness was required to prosecute offenders, a clear oversight.

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Reason 4:

Difficult in foreseeing future applications of the Act

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Difficult in foreseeing future applications of the Act:

Parliament might not have foreseen all possible circumstances, so the courts may have to determine the scope of a statute to see whether it applies to a particular situation.

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Example 4:

Studded Belt Case
Supreme Court interpreted word 'Weapon' in the Control of Weapons Act Vic 1990, and held that a belt used to hold up trousers was not a weapon.

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