Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


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, common law and legislative interpretative 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.

6 points
Not available in 2024UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) show a developed understanding of issues arising in drafting legislation and the legislative process in the context of statutory interpretation; (2) apply key concepts of text, context and purpose ; (3) identify and critically analyse relevant interpretative principles and factors for an interpretative task; (4) critically evaluate relevant interpretative principles and factors for an interpretative task; and (5) develop a coherent and plausible argument about the preferred construction of the meaning of statutory text.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) assignment; (2) class participation; and (3) examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Senior Lecturer Jacinta Dharmananda
Unit rules
Enrolment in
20810 Doctor of Juridical Science
Enrolment in
LAWS5820 Legislation in Practice
Contact hours
3 hours per week
2022 is the final year this unit will run at UWA.

Essential reading

Unit Readings

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. Statutory Interpretation in Australia, 9th edn: LexisNexis, 2019

Herzfeld, P. and Prince, T. Interpreration, 2nd edn: Thomson Reuters, 2020

  • 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 one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. 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.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.