Drafting Statutes and Statutory Interpretation: Express or Assumed Rules?
journal contributionposted on 2020-01-24, 22:22 authored by Jacinta Dharmananda
The High Court describes legislative intent as the outcome of 'accepted' rules of statutory interpretation 'assumed' by the judiciary, Parliament and the executive. The drafters of statutes, the parliamentary counsel, have been included as key players who work on the basis of these 'accepted' rules. But their work proceeds on explicit, not assumed, rules. At the federal level at least, there is publicly available material revealing principles actually adopted by the Commonwealth parliamentary counsel when drafting statutes. This article examines these materials and argues for the merit in considering them as an extrinsic interpretive aid. Knowing and understanding them will have implications for the 'accepted' rules of statutory interpretation and the notion of legislative intent.