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Statutory Interpretation in Private Law





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AUD $160.00 gst included

Statutory Interpretation in Private Law was cited in Fairfax Media Publications Pty Ltd v Gayle; The Age Company Pty Ltd v Gayle; The Federal Capital Press of Australia Pty Ltd v Gayle [2019] NSWCA 172

In the past 50 years private law has undergone a revolution: statutes are now prevalent in every area. This book considers how judges in private law cases should respond to this change. How are statutes to be interpreted in this area with its deep historical roots, and is it reasonable to think that statutory interpretation might have different aspects and emphases in private law compared with public law?

Divided into three parts: Introduction; Current Trends and Debates; and Applications of Statutory Interpretation in Private Law, the book seeks to recognise the institutional reality of the statutory presence in private law. A distinguished group of authors including the Hon Tom Bathurst AC, Justice Mark Leeming and Justice Ashley Black consider this question from a range of viewpoints. For example, the area of private law is full of transactional analysis – how different is the construction of contracts from statutory interpretation?

The book canvasses some general questions about how statutory interpretation operates in private law, such as whether there should be a different concept of the principle of legality in private law, or whether parliamentary intention might include an understanding of private law. Particular applications such as the role of statutory interpretation in contributory negligence, defamation, directors’ duties, consumer law and equity are also considered.

Table of Cases
Table of Statutes

PART I – Introduction

1. Introduction: Is Statutory Interpretation in Private Law Distinctive?
            Prue Vines and M Scott Donald

PART II – Current Trends and Debates

2. ‘Icecream is Not “Meat”’: Literal Meaning and Purpose in Statutory Interpretation in Private Law
            The Hon TF Bathurst AC
3. Statutory Interpretation as Private Law
            The Hon Mark Leeming
4. Commentary on ‘Statutory Interpretation as Private Law’
            The Hon Ashley Black
5. Statutory Interpretation and Private Law Obligations
            Joachim Dietrich

PART III – Applications of Statutory Interpretation in Private Law

6. ‘Co-production’: Novelty and Path Dependence in Defamation Reform
            Jenny Steele
7. Taking Common Law Concepts Seriously: Extending the Principle of Legality in Private Law
            Prue Vines
8. Statutes in a Web of Law
            Lyria Bennett Moses and Brendan Edgeworth
9. An Integrated Approach to Statutory Interpretation: Directors’ Duties in the UK
            Rosemary Teele Langford
10. Intuitive Synthesis and Fidelity to Purpose? Judicial Interpretation of the Discretionary Power to Award Civil Penalties under the Australian Consumer Law
            Jeannie Marie Paterson and Elise Bant
11. Contractual Fairness: Statutory Innovation and Statutory Interpretation
            May Fong Cheong
12. Lord Cairns’ Act and Statutory Interpretation: Give the Court an Inch, They’ll Take a Mile
            Katy Barnett
13. Statutes and a Fiduciary Course of Dealing
            Simone Degeling


[T]he text and its contributors grapple with whether the interpretation of statutes in private law is a different “creature” from statutory interpretation in public law, and how statutory interpretation operates in private law. … The text boasts an esteemed collection of contributors, with each chapter providing an interesting and engaging analysis of its chosen topic. The topics themselves are diverse.
         This text is an engaging and, in many instances, thought-provoking read. It would be a valuable addition to any legal practitioner practising in private law, or with a general interest in this area.

Queensland Law Reporter – 19 July 2019 – [2019] 28 QLR

Indeed, Justice Leeming has previously described statutes as the “elephant in the room” of academic inquiry.4…The collection of superb essays comprising Statutory Interpretation in Private Law, edited by Professor Prue Vines and Associate Professor M Scott Donald, is therefore a timely addition to the literature.
…Statutory Interpretation in Private Law does much to illuminate the shadow cast by Justice Leeming’s “elephant in the room”.

Stephen Puttick, (2021) 95 ALJ 218

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