A Method for Interpreting Statutes

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The skill of interpreting a statute is important for one good reason – the outcome of a case commonly enough depends on how a court interprets an ambiguous provision in a statute. Yet despite the importance of interpreting statutes there have been no serious attempts so far to describe an effective method for performing the task.
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Description

by Christopher Enright

The skill of interpreting a statute is important for one good reason – the outcome of a case commonly enough depends on how a court interprets an ambiguous provision in a statute. Yet despite the importance of interpreting statutes there have been no serious attempts so far to describe an effective method for performing the task. The reason for this is probably that one of the common characteristics of Australian lawyers is that to a substantial extent they are skills averse.

In Australia the dominant rule of interpretation is that a court or an official must interpret a statute by choosing the meaning that will best achieve the purpose and object of the statute. This book explains how to interpret in this fashion by setting forth and explaining a model that has
six steps:

Step 1. Rule. Organise the Rule
Step 2. Identify the Issues
Step 3. Identify the Meanings and Effects
Step 4 Identify the Purpose and Object
Step 5 Identify the Correct Meaning
Step 6 Write the Opinion

This book explains each step of the model. It also set out a worked example by way of illustration. 

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464 pages softcover

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About the Author
Christopher Enright is a chartered accountant, barrister and solicitor. He has lectured in law at several universities. He specialises in legal method.