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, interpretating common law and legislative principles, the relationship between statutes and the common law, how to use extrinsic materials, the effect of amendments, the relationship between a statute and its delegated legislation, and comparisons to the interpretation of non-statutory instruments, such as contracts. Presentations from members of the legal profession on drafting and interpretation are incorporated.
Students are able to (1) demonstrate fundamental skills in the drafting of legislation and have an understanding of issues arising in drafting; (2) show understanding of the central organizing concepts of text, context, purpose and legislative intent; (3) apply various intrinsic and extrinsic aids to statutory interpretation, including common law principles, relevant Commonwealth and WA interpretation legislation provisions and extrinsic materials; (4) identify and articulate alternative constructions of legislative text and formulate written and oral arguments in relation to the construction; (5) demonstrate understanding of the relationship between legislation and common law; (6) show understanding of the legislative process, including the context in which legislation is enacted; and (7) demonstrate basic knowledge about how statutory interpretation differs from interpretation of contracts.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (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
Juris Doctor (JD) students: LAWS4101 Foundations of Law and Lawyering and 30 points from: LAWS4102 Criminal Law, LAWS4103 Contract, LAWS4104 Property, LAWS4106 Torts, LAWS4107 Land Law, LAWS4108 Foundations of Public Law, LAWS5106 Legal Theory and Ethics or LAWS4109 Legal Theory and Ethics
LAWS3320 Legislation in Practice
Contact hours
3 hours per week
Unit Outline
Semester 1-2020 [SEM-1-2020]

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.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus. Copies of textbooks and other readings will be made available for students to access from the Library, online wherever possible as well as in print.