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Legal disputes nowadays almost always involve some element of statutory interpretation. An understanding of the rules and approaches evolved by the courts and parliaments to determine the meaning of legislation is essential to anyone involved in advising persons, including governments, of their legal rights and obligations. This book has for over 40 years been the principal guide in Australia to the interpretation of legislation. It is regularly cited by all levels of the court system.

The 9th edition has been restructured to make access to the many cases that provide guidance to the application of the various rules of interpretation more accessible and also to make the book more readable. It has also been rearranged to take account of the publication of Professor Pearce’s new book Interpretation Acts in Australia, 2018. The case law and legislation have been updated to include changes that have occurred since the publication of the last edition in 2014.

Particular regard has been paid to the general statements of the High Court explaining the modern approach to statutory interpretation. In the foreword to the 8th edition of this work the then Chief Justice of the High Court, the Honourable Robert French AC, said: ‘The book is lucid, well organised and eminently readable, whether from cover to cover or by topical chapter or section. Importantly, it brings to judges, practitioners, teachers and students a comprehensive account of what is, in principle and practice, perhaps the most important subject area in the day-to-day working of the legal system.’

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