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 3 - 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 Moodle surveys

Feedback

Clarity and consistency of assessment tasks.

Recommendation

A peer-review system for reviewing assessment items before publication has been implemented at the first year level by the year level co-ordinators. This will ensure more consistency and clarity in assessment tasks.

Feedback from Email

Feedback

Students expressed appreciation for the 'detailed and constructive feedback' on assessment tasks which they believed helped improve their performance throughout the unit.

Recommendation

Continue to provide detailed individual feedback in addition to general feedback evaluating the performance of the cohort as a whole. Holding review sessions or posting academic videos focusing on the particular skills that need improving.

Feedback from Email

Feedback

Students noted that the 'content matter was challenging' due to the sheer volume and complexity of the area of law however, they still found the experience stimulating and rewarding. They expressed appreciation for the clarity afforded by the delivery and organisation of materials.

Recommendation

Innovate new ways of making complex material more accessible to first year law students by reviewing a common source of legislation to apply statutory interpretation principles learned throughout the term.

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

IT Resources

You will need access to the following IT resources:
  • CQUniversity Student Email
  • Internet
  • Unit Website (Moodle)
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: 09 Nov 2020

Module/Topic

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

In terms of content, students are introduced to statutory interpretation and advised that the focus of the unit is the principles governing the interpretive process by courts. The cases in the textbook considered relevant may involve a number of different areas of law, but the important point for our purposes is not to be distracted by the diverse legal issues but to apply the legislation as it was, to the facts, as they were, to resolve the issue of statutory interpretation before the court.

Chapter

Michelle Sanson, Statutory Interpretation Chapters 1

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly zoom sessions.

Week 2: Creation of Legislation Begin Date: 16 Nov 2020

Module/Topic

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

Chapter

Michelle Sanson, Statutory Interpretation Chapter 2

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly zoom sessions.

Week 3: Interpretation Legislation Begin Date: 23 Nov 2020

Module/Topic

Interpretation legislation refers to those statutory instruments (Acts) which assist us in the interpretation process. Interpretation legislation is central to this unit because it guides us in how legislation is to be interpreted.


This chapter will cover numerous provisions from each jurisdiction (states and territories) with a focus on the Commonwealth interpretive legislation – The Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (Cth).

Chapter

Michelle Sanson, Statutory Interpretation Chapter 3

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly zoom sessions.

Week 4: Context and Purpose Begin Date: 30 Nov 2020

Module/Topic

Considering the context and purpose of legislation is the topic for examination this week. This chapter and the next are crucial aspects for students to understand in completing a statutory interpretation exercise. This is because we in order to develop the reasoning skills we require; we must first appreciate the purpose of statutory interpretation.

We begin by examining the theory around ‘context and purpose’, familiarising ourselves with the conceptual details this week before going on to consider applications in practice in week 5.

Chapter

Michelle Sanson, Statutory Interpretation Chapter 4

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly zoom sessions.

Vacation Week Begin Date: 07 Dec 2020

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

No weekly zoom sessions.

Week 5: Intention and Interpretive Techniques Begin Date: 14 Dec 2020

Module/Topic

The chapter on ‘intention and interpretive techniques’ is challenging because we address intention as an objective concept. Analogies and case examples are used to explain a slippery concept to students.

However, for the purpose of this topic, it is important to remember the presuppositions under-girding these discussions – ‘why’ intentions should be objective, and ‘how’ they can be identified and then, applied in practice.

Chapter

Michelle Sanson, Statutory Interpretation Chapter 5

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly zoom sessions.


Research and Case Note Due: Week 5 Friday (18 Dec 2020) 10:00 am AEST
Week 6: Intrinsic Materials I (Statutory Components) Begin Date: 21 Dec 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 which are useful to determine meaning.

The seminal case for this week is the case of Project Blue Sky.

Chapter

Michelle Sanson, Statutory Interpretation Chapter 6

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly zoom sessions.

University Vacation Begin Date: 28 Dec 2020

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

No weekly zoom sessions.

Week 7 Intrinsic Materials II (The Text) Begin Date: 04 Jan 2021

Module/Topic

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

This chapter examines the text of the legislation as an example of intrinsic material which must be considered in the statutory interpretive process.

Chapter

Michelle Sanson, Statutory Interpretation Chapter 7

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly zoom sessions.

Week 8: Extrinsic Materials Begin Date: 11 Jan 2021

Module/Topic

Extrinsic materials involve using materials from outside the Act (as opposed to internal or intrinsic materials to the Act) in order to identify the meaning intended by the legislation.

This chapter considers the value (and weight) of extrinsic materials and how they can be used effectively in the Australian context where ‘context and purpose’ is the central concern.

Chapter

Michelle Sanson, Statutory Interpretation Chapter 8

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly zoom sessions.

Week 9: Traditional Common Law Approaches Begin Date: 18 Jan 2021

Module/Topic

The question for this week is whether traditional common law approaches still assist us in modern statutory interpretation.

The contemporary approach to statutory interpretation was 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 ongoing synergy enables them to work together towards a coherent body of law in common law legal systems like Australia.

Chapter

Michelle Sanson, Statutory Interpretation Chapter 9

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly zoom sessions.


Solve a Statutory Interpretation Problem Due: Week 9 Friday (22 Jan 2021) 10:00 am AEST
Week 10: Statutory Presumptions Begin Date: 25 Jan 2021

Module/Topic

This week is an extension of the discussion from Chapter 9 which examined the rules of statutory interpretation, developed at common law and that continue to remain relevant.

The overarching point is to give primacy to the meaning of the text of a legislative position in light of its context and its purposes.

Thus, 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 zoom sessions.

Week 11: Human Rights and International Law Begin Date: 01 Feb 2021

Module/Topic

The question for the week is whether human rights or international law influence statutory interpretation in Australia.

As fundamental 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, Covid-19 restriction laws, privacy laws), the principle of legality assumes a new significance. It becomes fashionable for judges to use this principle as a way of reading and/or justifying their interpretation of statutory provisions, be that narrow or broad.

We will examine the different approaches to the application of this presumption and the underlying views expressed by 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 zoom sessions.

Week 12: Review Begin Date: 08 Feb 2021

Module/Topic

Review Week

Chapter

Revise Michelle Sanson, Statutory Interpretation Chapter 1-11

Events and Submissions/Topic

Assessment Tasks

1 Written Assessment

Assessment Title
Research and Case Note

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. (800 words)

Part 2 A short summary in the case note format. (1,200 words)

Full details of the assignment task will be provided on the Moodle site for this unit after commencement of term.

Total word count: 2,000 words


Assessment Due Date

Week 5 Friday (18 Dec 2020) 10:00 am AEST

The first part of this assignment is to be answered in short response format. Make sure you have answered the second section should be in the case note format. Further details and the importance of case analysis will be available on the Moodle site for this unit after commencement of term.


Return Date to Students

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


Weighting
20%

Assessment Criteria

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.

2,000 words (maximum)


Assessment Due Date

Week 9 Friday (22 Jan 2021) 10:00 am AEST

See Moodle description.


Return Date to Students

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


Weighting
20%

Assessment Criteria

No Assessment Criteria


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 aloud to yourself, 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) 2,500-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 the day prior to submission. You must complete this assessment task in just over 24 hours of the tasksheet becoming available. 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

Exam Week Monday (15 Feb 2021) 11:45 pm AEST

You must complete this assessment task the due date. 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. The task will be made available one day before the date of submission. Please refer to exam schedule.


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
  • expressed the content 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 you made reference to appropriate legislation for all 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?