LAWS5820 Legislation in Practice

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
This unit gives students an understanding of how legislation is made and, once in force, how it is to be read, understood and interpreted. The unit has an emphasis on interpretation in practice. The topics discussed include the legislative process, drafting, interpretation principles, the relationship between statutes and the common law, how to use extrinsic materials, and the differences in the interpretation of non-statutory instruments, particularly contracts. Lectures from members of the legal profession on drafting and interpretation are incorporated.
Students are able to (1) demonstrate basic skills in the drafting of legislation and have an understanding of issues arising in drafting; (2) read, navigate and understand acts of parliament and subsidiary legislation; (3) make appropriate use of various aids to statutory interpretation; (4) formulate written and oral arguments in relation to construction of statutes and interpretative problems including the relevant use of State and Commonwealth interpretation legislation and principles of interpretation; (5) determine special interpretative issues such as retrospectivity, implied terms and amendments; (6) understand the relationship between legislation and common law; (7) demonstrate familiarity with the legislative process, the main features of statutes and the drafting process; (8) understand the context in which legislation is enacted; (9) know the principles governing the interpretation of statutes including working knowledge of Commonwealth and Western Australian interpretation legislation and recent High Court approaches; (10) familiarise themselves with the concepts of context and purpose and how they are applied; (11) understand the relationship between legislation and common law; (12) have general knowledge of the history and theories relating to statutory interpretation and their relevance in Australia at present; and (13) have basic knowledge of how statutory interpretation differs from interpretation of other written instruments.
Typically this unit is assessed in the following ways: (1) assignment; (2) class participation; and (3) examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a Juris Doctor student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course
Unit Coordinator(s)
Assistant Professor Jacinta Dharmananda
Unit rules
for Juris Doctor studentsLAWS4101 Foundations of Law and Lawyering, LAWS4102 Criminal Law, LAWS4103 Contract, LAWS4104 Property, LAWS4106 Torts, LAWS4107 Land Law, LAWS4108 Foundations of Public Law, LAWS5106 Legal Theory and Ethics
LAWS4109 Legal Theory and Ethics; for all other students: LAWS4400 Constitutional Law I or LAWS4108 Foundations of Public Law
LAWS3320 Legislation in Practice
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week; Practical Classes: 2 hours per fortnight
Unit Outline

Essential reading

Unit reader

Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (Cwlth) (available online)

Interpretation Act 1984 (WA) (available online)

Legislation Act 2003 (Cwlth) (available online)

Other useful references

Pearce, D. C. and Geddes, R. S. Statutory Interpretation in Australia, 8th edn: LexisNexis 2014

Herzfeld, P. and Prince, T. Statutory Interpretation Principles (Laws of Australia Series): Thomson Reuters 2014

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available at the University Co-operative Bookshop (from early January) and appropriate administrative offices for students to consult. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.