The present assignment is based on the statutory interpretation of the Parks and Gardens Week Act 2017 (“the Act”). This is a state legislation of the state of Victoria in Australia. The assignment is to be done on the basis of a case scenario which involves possible breach of the certain provisions of the current legislation. On the basis of the statutory interpretation, certain issues and questions regarding the case scenarios will be discussed.
To answer the question it is necessary that the case has to be understood. Jeremy and Luisa had visited the venue where the Parks and Garden Week was organised. The event was being held in the Caulfield Racecourse. They were in an intoxicated state. Luisa had brought with her 20 medallions with a logo of marijuana plant embossed on it. She had also mentioned an inscription which encouraged smoking of marijuana at the event. They put up a stall under a tree in the event and displayed a laminated sign with the intent of transaction. It was specified that no money would be involved. It would only involve barter or trade. This meant that the medallions would be exchanged for some good. Among the possible buyers who visited the stall there was a warden. He immediately informed the duo that they were not entitled to sell any items within the premises of the event. However they defied his orders and resisted. The officer had to use force and call upon a sergeant. The medallions were confiscated. Moreover when they were leaving the place, the warden handed over a penalty notice where they were charged under section 15 and 22 of the Parks and Gardens Week Act 2017.
Thus the rules of statutory interpretation have to be applied in the present case scenario to determine whether the following provisions are actually applicable on Jeremy and Luisa or not. Statutory interpretation is done by judges of the courts. The legislations are made by the parliament that is the legislator body of the country. Most of appeals on issues of law result due to anomalies in the statutory interpretation of the courts. The courts have to follow certain processes to determine the meaning of words present in a statute. Firstly they have to see whether the meanings of the words which are under question are clear or not. Often a single word has various meanings. Often the context in which the words are to be interpreted is ambiguous and difficult to understand. The judges have problem in interpreting statutes since if the words are used in the literal sense it would be unjustified and absurd. Often the purpose for which the words of the statute are interpreted causes confusion. After the confusion or lack of clarity is identified, the judges try to resolve it. Initially legal statutes and regulations used to be interpreted in the literal sense. However in the recent times the courts are trying to change the interpretation style from literal to purposive. This is to make statutory interpretation more flexible and less rigid. Jeremy and Luisa had contravened section 16 of the act as they had parked their car 500 metres from the venue of the event. As per the provision no care was to be parked within 5 km of the event vicinity.
In the present case if the literal approach is used there may be various results. The relevant provision which is levied on Luisa and Jeremy herein is section 15 of the mentioned Act. Herein it is mentioned that an officer can direct any individual selling any article in the restricted area to remove it from the restricted area. However in the instant case, the duo was not selling the medallions. They can claim this aspect as a defence if they are presented before the court. They had displayed their wares for exchange and barter. When the term ‘sell’ is interpreted in the literal sense it is connected with money. In the present case they were not selling any article for money. Moreover the warden had used physical force on Jeremy to evict them out of the premise of the event that was being held. Jeremy can claim that he was hurt while force was being applied on him. However section 22 of this Act will be applicable on Luisa and Jeremy. This is because they had refused to abide by the directions of the warden in a peaceful manner and defied his power. Moreover they can also prove that they had taken permission from the agency to display the medallions in the vicinity of the event. Jeremy and Luisa can also question the authority of the warden as he did not show any identification card which is supposed to be held by him as per the requirements of section 21 of the concerned Act.
In the present question it is showed that Jeremy had objected to the treatment meted out to him by the officer present in the venue. He considered the approach to be rough and unjustified. Moreover according to him the police did not have the right to confiscate the medallions from Luisa. In order to answer this issue, the contents and provisions of section 15 and powers of a warden has to be examined as per this Act. Description regarding the appointment and powers of a warden is provided in section 21 of the Act. Under subsection 4 of section 15 authorised officers are given the power to give directions to people selling articles in the regulated zone to remove them within a certain time. The individual asked to do so have to follow such orders. If they fail or refuse to follow such orders they are subject to penalty. This is shown in subsection 5 of section 15 of the concerned Act. The most significant aspect pertaining to the concerned allegation is mentioned in sub section 6 of section 15. It says that if the individual refuses or fails to follow the direction of the officer to remove the article, the article is liable for forfeiture and the concerned officer has the right to seize the article. The powers and appointment of wardens is mentioned in section 21 of the concerned Act. As per the provisions, the warden has to be appointed by an agency to carry out duties to serve the purpose of the concerned legislation. The functions and powers exercised by the warden are conferred upon by the provisions and contents of the act and the regulations. The warden has to carry an identification card which is to be provided by the agency which appoints him or her. The identification card has to prove the fact that it has been issued to the warden as per the provisions of the concerned Act. It should mention the name of the person holding it and the kind of powers that are provided to him.
The warden can put forward certain defences against the allegations levied by Luisa and Jeremy. He can prove before the magistrate that whatever he had done was under the duties conferred to him. He can use the other sergeant as a witness to prove that the friends resisted his authority and refused to move from the place. He has to prove that no harm was caused to Jeremy during his exercise of force. Moreover he also has to prove that since they had refused to remove the articles even after his intimation to them, he was forced as per law to confiscate them.
There is another character present in the case scenario i.e. Sharona. In the present case it is shown that she was operating a drone which captured videos of the events that were taking place in the Caulfield racecourse. With respect to this act of her, the provisions of section 17 can be applied. This particular section speaks about control of the space in the air. As per the provisions of this section an individual is prohibited from entering an aircraft while the Park and Gardens Week event is going on. Moreover he or she is not allowed to operate the aircraft within the air space that is restricted without a clearance obtained from the concerned agency that is conducting the event. If the person does so he or she is liable to face penalty as per the provisions of this Act. This particular section excludes the use of military and police aircraft used for security, military and contingency situations. Moreover if the aircraft is used solely for the purpose of human safety and property safeguard, the provisions of the section 17 would not be applicable.
In the present case the confusion that arises is that whether drone could be included within the definition of aircraft. If it is included within the definition, Sharona has to prove that she had obtained prior permission from the concerned agency for operating it. Moreover she had contravened section 10 subsection 3 of the Act. She had entered a road which had a barrier and a sign showing that it was closed and it was only to be used for vehicles. She had also contravened with subsection 4 and 5 of the same section. She does not seem to have any defence for this.
Anderson, J.C., "Misleading Like A Lawyer: Cognitive Bias In Statutory Interpretation" (2013) 127 Harv. L. Rev
Carney, G, "Comparative Approaches To Statutory Interpretation In Civil Law And Common Law Jurisdictions." (2015) 36 Statute law review
Christiansen, Matthew R. and William N. Eskridge Jr., "Congressional Overrides Of Supreme Court Statutory Interpretation Decisions, 1967–2011" (2014) 92 Texas Law Review
Hofmann, N., "Interpretation Rules And Good Faith As Obstacles To The UK's Ratification Of The CISG And To The Harmonization Of Contract Law In Europe" (2010) 22 Pace Int'l L. Rev
MacCormick, D.N. and R. S. Summers, Interpreting Statutes: A Comparative Study (Routledge, 1st ed, 2016)
McCormack, S.W., "Tax Shelters And Statutory Interpretation: A Much Needed Purposive Approach" (2012) 2009 University of Illinois Law Review
Nourse, Victoria, "A Decision Theory Of Statutory Interpretation: Legislative History By The Rules" (2012) 122 Yale Law Journal
Sanson, M, Statutory Interpretation (Oxford University Press, 1st ed, 2012)
Szewczyk, Bart M.J., "Customary International Law And Statutory Interpretation: An Empirical Analysis Of Federal Court Decisions" (2014) 82 George Washington Law Review
Villiers, L, "Breaking In The Unruly Horse: The Status Of Mandatory Rules Of Law As A Public Policy Basis For The Non-Enforcement Of Arbitral Awards" (2011) 18 Austl. Int'l LJ