The Interpretation Provisions of Statutory Bills of Rights: A Little Bit Humpty Dumpty?
Public Law Review, Vol. 22, pp. 97-112, 2011
Posted: 23 Jul 2011
Date Written: 2010
This article considers the meaning given to the interpretation provisions of the statutory bills of rights of New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory. The article compares the language of each instrument and the interpretations given to that language by the courts of each jurisdiction. Consideration is also given to what might explain the differing approaches to interpretation adopted in each jurisdiction. The article demonstrates that the impact of statutory bills of rights on principles of statutory interpretation can, but will not necessarily, vary enormously and does so for reasons depending very little upon the terms of the interpretation provisions themselves. These issues are significant with respect to the roles of the courts and Parliament in the protection of human rights and will be under consideration by the High Court in the appeal in Momcilovic v. The Queen.
Keywords: bills of rights, statutory interpretation, Human Rights Act 1998 (UK), Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT), New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (NZ), Charter of Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic), interpretation provisions
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