Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

4 hours per week for twelve weeks or equivalent

Unit rationale, description and aim

The Rule of Law, and access to legal advice, are the basis of free, democratic, and just societies which promote personal dignity, thriving communities, and the Common Good. Law graduates working in legal practice, in business, in government, and in the community play an essential role in promoting and upholding the Rule of Law in Australia and across the world. The Bachelor of Laws degree is an accredited degree for admission as a legal practitioner in Australia.

Statutory Interpretation deals with the law governing the determination of legal meaning and the effect of legislation. This unit considers the legislative process and the identification of applicable statute law. It examines legislative interpretation principles, aids and techniques and the practical application of these in real-world contexts. In this unit, students will develop their skills in legislative research, legislative interpretation and in the communication of legal opinion.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - explain the principles and processes of statutory interpretation; (GA5) 

LO2 - locate the legislative provisions required to solve interpretive legal problems and apply the law to different fact scenarios; (GA8)

LO3 - make appropriate use of the various aids to statutory interpretation in solving interpretative legal problems; (GA4, GA5, GA6)

LO4 - develop and communicate a reasoned opinion as to the meaning and effect of legislative provisions, taking into account the law of statutory interpretation. (GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9) 

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


 Topics will include:

  1. Creation of Legislation 
  2. Interpretation Legislation 
  3. Context and Purpose 
  4. Intention and Interpretive Techniques 
  5. Intrinsic Materials 
  6. Extrinsic Materials 
  7. Traditional Common Law Approaches 
  8. Statutory Presumptions 
  9. International Law in Statutory Interpretation 
  10. Interpreting Specific Instruments 
  11. Developing Interpretive Legal Opinion  

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Mode: Lectures, tutorials, electronic consultation, library tasks and presentations or Online lectures and activities.  


Duration: 3 hours per week over 12 weeks or equivalent.  Students are expected to spend 150 hours in total for this unit. 


This level three compulsory unit allows students to demonstrate knowledge, skills and understanding required to meet the requirements of the Law Admissions Consultative Committee Statement on Statutory Interpretation 


Our strategy is to encourage students to creatively engage with unit content in order apply this knowledge, skills and learning to legal problem solving.  


The unit is designed to be delivered in intensive, weekly or online. We have taken a blended learning approach to provide accessibility and flexibility to our students and a student focused approach that increases depth of learning and engagement through actively utilising LEO. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy is designed to assess knowledge, skills and understanding in a specialized area of law required by the accrediting bodies.  


The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each of the learning outcomes listed.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Online Quiz – fundamentals of statutory interpretation 


LO1, LO2

GA5, GA8

Assignment – problem based interpretive legal advice 


LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9

Final exam – problem and essay questions  


LO1, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Cook, Catriona et al, Laying Down the Law (LexisNexis Butterworths, 9th ed, 2015) 

Corcoran, Suzanne and Stephen Bottomley (eds), Interpreting Statutes (The Federation Press, Sydney, 2005)  

Hall, Kath and Claire Macken, Legislation and Statutory Interpretation (LexisNexis Butterworths, 3rd ed, 2012)  

Herzfeld, Perry and Thomas Prince, Statutory Interpretation Principles (Thomson Reuters, 2014)  

Herzfeld, Perry, Thomas Prince and Stephen Tully, Interpretation and Use of Legal Sources (Thomson Reuters, 2013)  

Katzmann, Robert A, Judging Statutes (Oxford University Press, 2014)  

Pearce, Dennis C and Robert S Geddes, Statutory Interpretation in Australia (LexisNexis Butterworths Australia, 8th ed, 2014)  

Sanson, Michelle, Statutory Interpretation (Oxford University Press, 2nd ed 2016)  

David Wright, Common Law in the Age of Statutes: the Equity in the Statute (LexisNexis Butterworths, 2015) 

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