Mark Aronson: Statutory Interpretation or Judicial Disobedience? – UK Constitutional Law Group

“In Australia as in England, courts began ‘reading down’ legislative grants of broad and seemingly unfettered discretionary power long before the currently fashionable ‘principle of legality’ entered the public lawyer’s lexicon. Judges typically explained themselves as merely engaging in an exercise of statutory interpretation, saying that in the absence of express words or an absolutely necessary implication to the contrary, they could not believe that Parliament intended to override fundamental principles, rights, or freedoms. Legislative drafters, they reasoned, were well aware of this interpretive approach, and could always respond with clearer language.”

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UK Constitutional Law Group, 3rd June 2013