The Hon. Patrick Keane AC KC shares insights on modern statutory interpretation at College event.

Photo of the Hon. Patrick Keane and Justice Karin Emerton
The College had the privilege of hosting former High Court judge the Hon. Patrick Keane AC KC, at our recent event on modern statutory interpretation.

During his presentation, the Hon. Patrick Keane emphasised the significance of studying cases related to strongly contested issues of statutory interpretation and used recent High Court decisions to show that “context is a first order consideration”. With a wide-ranging examination of issues including migration assessments, post-sentence detention, transgender recognition, public health measures and female genital mutilation, he explored the contest between the legislature and the judiciary and how the resolution of that contest often depends on whether the court takes an expansive or modest view of the role of the judiciary in that relationship. As he aptly put it,

"The notion that this exercise is a dry, bloodless application of rules or maxims, as if we were dealing with geometrical theorems, could not be more wrong."

The event was expertly chaired by Justice Karin Emerton, President of the Court of Appeal.

We are grateful to be able to share the paper from his presentation via the link below.

  • Document

    Statutory interpretation.

    In this paper, the Hon. Patrick Keane AC KC discusses the importance of statutory interpretation and its complexities. The author argues that interpreting statutes is intellectually challenging and involves resolving issues between the legislature and judiciary.
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