CQUniversity Unit Profile
LAWS11059 Statutory Interpretation
Statutory Interpretation
All details in this unit profile for LAWS11059 have been officially approved by CQUniversity and represent a learning partnership between the University and you (our student).
The information will not be changed unless absolutely necessary and any change will be clearly indicated by an approved correction included in the profile.
General Information

Overview

LAWS11059 Statutory interpretation has a specific focus on locating and using legislation, aids to interpretation, and deployment of interpretative techniques. In this unit you will learn how to determine whether the exercise of a statutory power is invalid if a condition or procedure regulating its exercise, is breached; whether a law has a retrospective operation; whether a statutory offence contains a mental ingredient to be proved by the prosecution (mens rea), and if so, what that ingredient is; the scope of a statutory power to make delegated legislation in the light of delegated legislation, which has purportedly been made under a power; and the application of a rule in any applicable charter of human rights. A law graduate should be able to give a reasoned opinion as to the appropriate meaning of a legislative provision which takes adequate account of the law of statutory interpretation. This unit meets the LPAB requirements for statutory interpretation.

Details

Career Level: Undergraduate
Unit Level: Level 1
Credit Points: 6
Student Contribution Band: 10
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load: 0.125

Pre-requisites or Co-requisites

Co-requisite: LAWS11057

Important note: Students enrolled in a subsequent unit who failed their pre-requisite unit, should drop the subsequent unit before the census date or within 10 working days of Fail grade notification. Students who do not drop the unit in this timeframe cannot later drop the unit without academic and financial liability. See details in the Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework).

Offerings For Term 2 - 2020

Online

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Class and Assessment Overview

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Undergraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Class Timetable

Bundaberg, Cairns, Emerald, Gladstone, Mackay, Rockhampton, Townsville
Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney

Assessment Overview

1. Written Assessment
Weighting: 20%
2. Written Assessment
Weighting: 20%
3. Written Assessment
Weighting: 60%

Assessment Grading

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%). Consult the University’s Grades and Results Policy for more details of interim results and final grades.

Previous Student Feedback

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Feedback from Student feedback

Feedback

Students have given feedback about their learning experience in this unit and expressed the desire for more materials on basic legal academic skills.

Recommendation

Provide more materials and recordings on legal academic skills. This is expected to equip students with legal academic literacy skills which is expected to translate to greater overall satisfaction in their learning experience in this unit. Scaffolding of this information in the first two weeks of content delivery instead of pushing students straight into difficult legal content.

Feedback from Student feedback

Feedback

Engagement is good but we always enjoy improving students' online experience through feeling a greater sense of belonging to a legal community.

Recommendation

A 'team teaching' approach with other staff members of the law discipline so that units preceding or delivered at the same time as this unit, can be better aligned - both in terms of content and dlivery - so students feel a sense of 'seamlessness'

Unit Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
  1. Apply skills in locating and using legislation, aids to interpretation and deployment of interpretive skills
  2. Evaluate whether the exercise of statutory power is invalid
  3. Analyse whether a law has a retrospective operation
  4. Analyse whether a statutory offence contains a mental element (mens rea)
  5. Analyse the scope of statutory power to make delegated legislation
  6. Analyse and critically reflect on the application and interpretation of legislation, legislative instruments and related material.


Alignment of Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Graduate Attributes
N/A Level
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Professional Level
Advanced Level

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes

Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5 6
1 - Written Assessment - 20%
2 - Written Assessment - 20%
3 - Written Assessment - 60%

Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes

Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5 6
1 - Communication
2 - Problem Solving
3 - Critical Thinking
4 - Information Literacy
5 - Team Work
6 - Information Technology Competence
7 - Cross Cultural Competence
8 - Ethical practice
9 - Social Innovation

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes

Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1 - Written Assessment - 20%
2 - Written Assessment - 20%
3 - Written Assessment - 60%
Textbooks and Resources

Textbooks

Prescribed

Statutory Interpretation 2 (2016)

Authors: Michelle Sanson
Oxford University Press Australia
Melbourne Melbourne , VIC , Australia
ISBN: 9780190304577
Binding: Paperback

Additional Textbook Information

Students can purchase the hardcopy and eBook at the CQUni Bookshop here: http://bookshop.cqu.edu.au (search on the Unit code)

As this is a 2016 publication, previous students may also be willing to donate/resell the book.

These are the various options available to students. 

IT Resources

You will need access to the following IT resources:
  • CQUniversity Student Email
  • Internet
  • Unit Website (Moodle)
  • ZOOM
Referencing Style

All submissions for this unit must use the referencing style: Australian Guide to Legal Citation, 4th ed

For further information, see the Assessment Tasks.

Teaching Contacts
Constance Lee Unit Coordinator
c.y.lee@cqu.edu.au
Schedule
Week 1: Introduction to Statutory Interpretation Begin Date: 13 Jul 2020

Module/Topic

We begin by looking at the structure of the unit, the assessment activities and engagement with one another.

In terms of content, students are introduced to statutory interpretation and that the focus of the unit is on this aspect. The cases in the textbook considered relevant may involve a number of different legal issues, but the important point for our purposes is to apply the legislation as it was, to the fact, as they were, to resolve the issue of statutory interpretation faced by the court.

Chapter

Michelle Sanson, Statutory Interpretation Chapters 1 and 2

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online tutorial discussions

Week 2: : Creating Legislation Begin Date: 21 Jul 2020

Module/Topic

We will turn to examine the creation of legislation. In order to understand how statutes are interpreted, we must understand how they were first created. Our primary task is to reach an interpretation of the text in light of its 'context and purpose' (covered in week 4.)

Chapter

Michelle Sanson, Statutory Interpretation Chapter 2

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online tutorial discussions

Week 3: Interpretation Legislation Begin Date: 27 Jul 2020

Module/Topic

Interpretation legislation is central to the unit because it tells us how legislation is to be interpreted.

This chapter will cover numerous provisions from each juridiction with a focus on the Commonwealth provisions.

Chapter

Michelle Sanson, Statutory Interpretation Chapter 3

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online tutorial discussions

Week 4: Context and Purpose Begin Date: 03 Aug 2020

Module/Topic

Considering the context and purpose of legislation. This chapter and the next are crucial aspects for students to understand, in terms of reasoning skills, for statutory interpretation. We begin with the theory, examining some of the conceptual details this week and next, we consider applications in practice.

Chapter

Michelle Sanson, Statutory Interpretation Chapter 4

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online tutorial discussions

Assessment 1


Case Note and Research Due: Week 4 Monday (3 Aug 2020) 10:00 am AEST
Week 5: Intention and Interpretive Techniques Begin Date: 10 Aug 2020

Module/Topic

The 'intention and interpretive techniques' chapter is challenging as we address intention as an objective concept. Analogies and case examples will be used to explain the concept to students but under-girding these will be discussions as to 'why' intention should be objective, and 'how' it can be identified and then, applied.

Chapter

Michelle Sanson, Statutory Interpretation Chapter 5

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online tutorial discussions

Week 6: Intrinsic Materials: Statutory Components Begin Date: 17 Aug 2020

Module/Topic

Intrinsic materials are relevant to identifying the meaning of words in their context and in light of their purpose.

Statutory components: intrinsic materials contained within the statute in question. We will examine component parts of the statute to determine meaning.

The seminal case Project Blue Sky will be the focus of examination this week.

Chapter

Michelle Sanson, Statutory Interpretation Chapter 6

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online tutorial discussions

Week 7: Intrinsic Materials: The Text Begin Date: 24 Aug 2020

Module/Topic

Intrinsic materials are relevant to identifying the meaning of words in their context and in light of their purpose.

The text: examining the text of the legislation as an example of intrinsic material which must be considered in statutory interpretation. 

Chapter

Michelle Sanson, Statutory Interpretation Chapter 7

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online tutorial discussions

Week 8: Extrinsic Materials Begin Date: 31 Aug 2020

Module/Topic

Extrinsic Material involve using Materials from outside the Act in order to identify the meaning intended by the legislation.

Chapter

Michelle Sanson, Statutory Interpretation Chapter 8

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online tutorial discussions

Week 9: Traditional Common Law Approaches Begin Date: 07 Sep 2020

Module/Topic

Traditional Common Law Approaches: Can they still help?

The modern approach to statutory interpretation developed through the history of common law rules: literal, golden and mischief. This chapter covers the main aspects of these common law rules (Latin maxims) to understand how the common law and statutes relate to one another. This synergy enables them to work together towards a coherent body of law in a common law system like Australia.

Chapter

Michelle Sanson, Statutory Interpretation Chapter 9

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online tutorial discussions

Assessment 2


Solve a statutory interpretation problem Due: Week 8 Monday (7 Sept 2020) 10:00 am AEST
Week 10: Statutory Presumptions Begin Date: 14 Sep 2020

Module/Topic

This week is an extension of the discussion from Chapter 9: examining rules of statutory interpretation which developed at common law and continue to be relevant. The overall point is to give primacy to the meaning of the text of a legislative provision in its context and in light of its purpose. If it is evident from the text, context or purpose that an alternative meaning should be used, then the statutory presumption may not even be applicable.

Chapter

Michelle Sanson, Statutory Interpretation Chapter 10

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online tutorial discussions

Week 11: Human rights and International law Begin Date: 21 Sep 2020

Module/Topic

Fundamental Human Rights in International Law: Do they influence interpretation?

As fundamental and human rights become increasingly influential in all aspects of our lives, and contemporary Parliaments are legislating on topics which expand or contract our rights (counter-terrorism, privacy laws, laws regarding covid-19), the principle of legality assumes a new significance. It becomes fashionable for judges to use this principle as a way of reaching and/or justifying their interpretation of statutory provision, be that narrow or broad.

We will examine the different approaches to the application of this principle, the underlying views by the High Court judges as illustrative of a topic that continues to be in a state of flux.

Chapter

Michelle Sanson, Statutory Interpretation Chapter 11.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online tutorial discussions

Week 12 Review and Take Home Paper Week 10/02/2020 Begin Date: 05 Oct 2020

Module/Topic

Review and Take Home Paper Week

Chapter

No prescribed reading this week

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online tutorial discussions

Review/Exam Week Begin Date: 12 Oct 2020

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

Assessment 3


Take-Home Paper Due: Review/Exam Week Monday (12 Oct 2020) 11:45 pm AEST
Term Specific Information

Statutory interpretation is a challenging but rewarding subject. It has long term implications to your lives as legal practitioners after you leave law school. However, it is also a great opportunity to be introduced to or consolidate your legal academic skills. I will make a basic legal academic skills toolkit available as part of your Moodle page. Please continue to refer to these basic skills throughout the term. I will make direct reference to them throughout the unit. 

Assessment Tasks

1 Written Assessment

Assessment Title
Case Note and Research

Task Description

Presented in two parts with 10 marks allocated for each part.

Part 1 A research task which relates to the creation and understanding of Commonwealth legislation. 

Part 2 A short interpretation question you can answer by reference to interpretation legislation and cases.

Full details of the assignment task will be provided on the Statutory Interpretation Moodle site after the commencement of term. 

2000 words


Assessment Due Date

Week 4 Monday (3 Aug 2020) 10:00 am AEST

The first part of this assignment is to be answered in paragraphs responses. Make sure you have answered the second section of this assignment according to the IRAC legal problem-solving method.


Return Date to Students

Marked assignments will be returned via the Moodle site in approx. two (2) weeks after submission.


Weighting
20%

Assessment Criteria

Criteria Excellent Good Poor
Basic goals (15%):
Identification of primary issues Identification of all major issues. Identification of most major issues. Identification of some major issues.
Demonstrated understanding of the subject matter Excellent demonstrated understanding of the subject matter. Good / Some understanding of the subject matter. Lacks understanding of the subject matter.
Structured argument Well structured arguments. Reasonably structured argument. Poorly structured argument.
Higher order goal (2.5%):
Analytical ability Demonstrated high level of analysis. Some analytical skills demonstrated Numerous analytical errors or omissions - limited to no analysis.
Skills (2.5%):
Demonstrated clear and concise written expression Clear and concise written expression. Some unclear or verbose written expression. Numerous examples of unclear or verbose written expression.
Spelling and grammar No identifiable spelling or grammatical issues. Minor spelling or grammatical issues. Numerous spelling or grammatical issues.
Plain English drafting No Plain English drafting errors. Some Plain English drafting errors. Numerous Plain English drafting errors.


Students should also familiarise themselves with the University policy on assessment which sets out the criteria for high distinctions, distinctions, credit and pass marks in some detail.


Referencing Style

Submission
Online

Submission Instructions
I will only accept online submission of your work. Upload your work in a Word document (not PDF). I expect students to present their assignment work on time. Take care with your submission. Avoid obvious mistakes, such as basic spelling and grammatical errors. Read your paper out aloud, word by word. Alternatively, or in addition, ask a friend to read your material. Generally, you should submit one document (even if the assessment is in two or more parts) and ensure that your name is included in the name of the saved document.

Learning Outcomes Assessed
  • Apply skills in locating and using legislation, aids to interpretation and deployment of interpretive skills
  • Evaluate whether the exercise of statutory power is invalid
  • Analyse whether a law has a retrospective operation
  • Analyse whether a statutory offence contains a mental element (mens rea)
  • Analyse the scope of statutory power to make delegated legislation
  • Analyse and critically reflect on the application and interpretation of legislation, legislative instruments and related material.


Graduate Attributes
  • Communication
  • Problem Solving
  • Critical Thinking
  • Information Literacy
  • Information Technology Competence
  • Ethical practice

2 Written Assessment

Assessment Title
Solve a statutory interpretation problem

Task Description

Students are required to solve a statutory interpretation problem question based on the material covered in modules in the second part of the unit. 

Full details of the assignment task will be provided on the Statutory Interpretation Moodle site after the commencement of term. 

2000 words (maximum)


Assessment Due Date

Week 8 Monday (7 Sept 2020) 10:00 am AEST


Return Date to Students

Marked assignments will be returned via the Moodle site in about two (2) weeks after submission.


Weighting
20%

Assessment Criteria

Basic goals (15%):
Identification of primary issues Identification of all major issues. Identification of most major issues. Identification of some major issues.
Demonstrated understanding of the subject matter Excellent demonstrated understanding of the subject matter. Good / Some understanding of the subject matter. Lacks understanding of the subject matter.
Structured argument Well structured arguments. Reasonably structured argument. Poorly structured argument.
Higher order goal (2.5%):
Analytical ability Demonstrated high level of analysis. Some analytical skills demonstrated Numerous analytical errors or omissions - limited to no analysis.
Skills (2.5%):
Demonstrated clear and concise written expression Clear and concise written expression. Some unclear or verbose written expression. Numerous examples of unclear or verbose written expression.
Spelling and grammar No identifiable spelling or grammatical issues. Minor spelling or grammatical issues. Numerous spelling or grammatical issues.
Plain English drafting No Plain English drafting errors. Some Plain English drafting errors. Numerous Plain English drafting errors.


Students should also familiarise themselves with the University policy on assessment which sets out the criteria for high distinctions, distinctions, credit and pass marks in some detail.


Referencing Style

Submission
Online

Submission Instructions
I will only accept online submission of your work. Upload your work in a Word document (not PDF). I expect students to present their assignment work on time. Take care with your submission. Avoid obvious mistakes, such as basic spelling and grammatical errors. Read your paper out aloud, word by word.This may feel like a slow process but can be a productive exercise. Alternatively, or in addition, ask a friend to read your material. Generally, you should submit one document (even if the assessment is in two or more parts) and ensure that your name is included in the name of the saved document.

Learning Outcomes Assessed
  • Apply skills in locating and using legislation, aids to interpretation and deployment of interpretive skills
  • Evaluate whether the exercise of statutory power is invalid


Graduate Attributes
  • Communication
  • Critical Thinking
  • Information Literacy
  • Information Technology Competence

3 Written Assessment

Assessment Title
Take-Home Paper

Task Description

You have just over one day to complete a (total maximum) 2000-word reply to the task.

Notes

  • Working to a short deadline and submitting work on time is part of the assessment.
  • The paper will be made accessible on Sunday, 11 October 2020 at 5:00 PM (Qld). You must complete this assessment task by Monday, 12 October 2020 at 11:45 PM (Qld). In the absence of an approved extension (up to 5 days after submission date), you will not have an opportunity to complete the task after this date. There will be no opportunity to apply a late penalty of five per cent per day and you will receive a mark of zero for this assessment task.
  • I will not return the final take home paper to students. I will not provide personalised feedback. Your mark forms part of your grade for this unit.
  • I require you to upload your assessment through the Moodle unit website. Submit your entire answer, including your outline of submissions, in a single Word (not PDF) document. Do not submit in multiple parts.
  • You may consult with peers at your discretion, but the final answer must be yours and I will check it via Turnitin for originality. When sharing ideas, it is important to retain something original for your own response. This is an individual assessment and you may not collude; which means that you cannot act together to cheat or to plagiarise or engage in academic misconduct.


Assessment Due Date

Review/Exam Week Monday (12 Oct 2020) 11:45 pm AEST

You must complete this assessment task by Monday, 12 October 2020 at 11:45 PM (Qld). In the absence of an approved extension, you will not have an opportunity to complete the task after this date. There will be no opportunity to apply a late penalty of five per cent per day and you will receive a mark of zero for this assessment task.


Return Date to Students

Normal exam conditions apply. The final online paper is not returned to students. I will provide general feedback to the class. The individual papers are not returned to students. I will not provide personalised feedback. Your mark forms part of your grade for this unit. However, feedback is provided to the whole class in the form of an exam feedback report on the Certification of grades date in accordance with the University Assessment Policy.


Weighting
60%

Assessment Criteria

I assess students on their ability to demonstrate thinking and writing skills, to comprehend the material, to process the material and to provide a critical analysis and logical discussion of the law. Students are required to communicate an answer clearly, logically and in a concise manner. I expect you to present your paper in a professional manner. Please paginate your paper and use correct spelling and grammar. You must appropriately reference and attribute the work of others.

Fail

You will have shown evidence of the following:

  • the written expression is poor and difficult to understand
  • the answer is poorly organised
  • referencing is generally inadequate
  • lack of familiarity with the legislation and its application
  • failure to identify and address the issues in the question
  • reasoning and application demonstrated is poor

Pass

You will have:

  • made a conscientious attempt to address the topic and/or answer the question
  • shown evidence of having done the required reading and of having understood the reading
  • presented a reasonable argument to back up your conclusions
  • demonstrated a reasonable level of spelling and grammatical usage
  • used referencing but this may need improvement
  • issues that may need to be identified and addressed in more depth

Credit

You will have:

  • addressed the topic and/or answered the question directly
  • presented soundly based arguments and backed these up with reasons
  • gone beyond description to analysis of key issues
  • used the English language well
  • shown evidence of reading widely
  • demonstrated understanding of the reading
  • used referencing that is satisfactory

Distinction

You will have:

  • met the above criteria for a credit
  • demonstrated the attainment of a high degree of understanding of the concepts of the unit
  • demonstrated deep insight into the application of knowledge and skills to complex theoretical and practical situations
  • used referencing correctly
  • referred to all appropriate legislation

High Distinction

You will have:

  • met the above criteria for a distinction
  • demonstrated the attainment of an outstanding level of achievement regarding the objectives of this unit
  • demonstrated an interesting and/or original approach/idea/argument
  • demonstrated mastery of the relevant referencing system
  • ensured your conclusions are backed by well-reasoned arguments demonstrating a detailed insight and analysis of issues
  • ensured your references are made to the appropriate legislation for issues


Referencing Style

Submission
Online

Submission Instructions
I will only accept online submission of your work. Upload your work in a Word document (not PDF). I expect students to present their assignment work on time. Take care with your submission. Avoid obvious mistakes, such as basic spelling and grammatical errors. Read your paper out aloud, word by word. Alternatively, or in addition, ask a friend to read your material. Generally, you should submit one document (even if the assessment is in two or more parts) and ensure that you include your name in the name of the saved document.

Learning Outcomes Assessed
  • Apply skills in locating and using legislation, aids to interpretation and deployment of interpretive skills
  • Evaluate whether the exercise of statutory power is invalid
  • Analyse whether a law has a retrospective operation
  • Analyse whether a statutory offence contains a mental element (mens rea)


Graduate Attributes
  • Communication
  • Problem Solving
  • Critical Thinking
  • Information Literacy
  • Ethical practice

Academic Integrity Statement

As a CQUniversity student you are expected to act honestly in all aspects of your academic work.

Any assessable work undertaken or submitted for review or assessment must be your own work. Assessable work is any type of work you do to meet the assessment requirements in the unit, including draft work submitted for review and feedback and final work to be assessed.

When you use the ideas, words or data of others in your assessment, you must thoroughly and clearly acknowledge the source of this information by using the correct referencing style for your unit. Using others’ work without proper acknowledgement may be considered a form of intellectual dishonesty.

Participating honestly, respectfully, responsibly, and fairly in your university study ensures the CQUniversity qualification you earn will be valued as a true indication of your individual academic achievement and will continue to receive the respect and recognition it deserves.

As a student, you are responsible for reading and following CQUniversity’s policies, including the Student Academic Integrity Policy and Procedure. This policy sets out CQUniversity’s expectations of you to act with integrity, examples of academic integrity breaches to avoid, the processes used to address alleged breaches of academic integrity, and potential penalties.

What is a breach of academic integrity?

A breach of academic integrity includes but is not limited to plagiarism, self-plagiarism, collusion, cheating, contract cheating, and academic misconduct. The Student Academic Integrity Policy and Procedure defines what these terms mean and gives examples.

Why is academic integrity important?

A breach of academic integrity may result in one or more penalties, including suspension or even expulsion from the University. It can also have negative implications for student visas and future enrolment at CQUniversity or elsewhere. Students who engage in contract cheating also risk being blackmailed by contract cheating services.

Where can I get assistance?

For academic advice and guidance, the Academic Learning Centre (ALC) can support you in becoming confident in completing assessments with integrity and of high standard.

What can you do to act with integrity?