News and events

The Research Centre for Legislation, its Interpretation and Drafting hosts a range of events to foster excellence in the drafting and interpretation of legislation.  The Centre hosts symposia and conferences to facilitate intellectual debate and scholarship on legislation.  Leading national and international experts in the field together with senior industry partners attend these events.  The Centre also has a Visitors Research Scheme to facilitate scholarly exchange, and conducts an annual public lecture on a topic of community interest.

Upcoming events

Symposium on Teaching Legislation

The Research Centre for Legislation, its Interpretation and Drafting will host a symposium on 26 October 2017 on ‘Teaching Legislation’.  The Centre’s key stakeholders, including parliamentary counsel, judges and academics, agreed that there is a critical need for consideration of how we teach legislation in Australian law schools.  After all, the way that we teach legislation impacts on how future lawyers understand it.  Legislation teachers from across Australia will attend this symposium.

Consultancy for South Australian Judiciary

The South Australian Judicial Development Committee has invited Dr Barnes to lead a workshop for the South Australian judiciary on recent developments in statutory interpretation. The workshop will be held in Adelaide in November 2017.  Dr Barnes has previously led a workshop for the South Australian judiciary on judicial method in statutory interpretation.

Past events

Symposium on ‘The Coherence of Statutory Interpretation’

The Research Centre for Legislation, its Interpretation and Drafting conducted a symposium in November 2016 on ‘The Coherence of Statutory Interpretation’.  Senior judges, barristers, government legal counsel and national and international scholars attended.  Attendees included Sir Anthony Mason, former Chief Justice of the High Court; Justice Chris Maxwell, President of the Victorian Court of Appeal; Justice Nye Perram, Federal Court of Australia; Justice Timothy Ginnane, Supreme Court of Victoria; and Daniel Greenberg, former Parliamentary Counsel, United Kingdom and editor of Statute Law Review, Oxford University Press.

The symposium was highly successful and an edited collection will be published from the topics discussed.  This collection will be the first time that judges, parliamentary counsel and academics have coordinated to produce scholarship on this topic.

Consultancy for the Australian Tax Office

In November 2016, Dr Jeffrey Barnes conducted two webinars for the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to further professional development in statutory interpretation amongst ATO staff. The ATO administers many pieces of legislation, including the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936, the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999, and aspects of the Freedom of Information Act 1982. The ATO faces a number of interpretative issues with this legislation.

The webinar sessions covered key concepts and skills in statutory interpretation with reference to taxation legislation. Over 380 officers registered for the live sessions.  They were interactive, with many participants sending in questions and answers to Dr Barnes as he presented.  Over 80% of respondents indicated that they were very or extremely satisfied with Dr Barnes’ presentations.

Consultancy for Parliamentary Counsel’s Office, Western Australia

Dr Barnes was invited by Geoff Lawn, Parliamentary Counsel, Western Australia to assist that office in relation to developing a plain English legislative drafting policy and practice.  On 8-9 February 2017, Dr Barnes provided an honorary consultancy to the Office on plain English legislative drafting. He participated in a Workshop entitled ‘Clear Drafting – A Workshop with Dr Jeffrey Barnes’. This involved a number of tasks. Dr Barnes provided a set of prior readings for drafters on the effects of plain language. He gave a presentation on ‘How Well Does Plain Language Work? A Legislative Perspective’. He facilitated a session on ‘What is Clear Drafting?’, and participated in other sessions in the Workshop.

Consultancy for James Cook University

Dr Barnes was invited to assist the teaching of statutory interpretation at James Cook University. On 24 February 2017, he provided an honorary consultancy to the College of Business, Law and Governance, James Cook University.  Dr Barnes gave a presentation titled ‘A Theory of Teaching Statutory Interpretation’, and afterwards participated in a workshop designed to develop the teaching of statutory interpretation at each year level through a coordinated approach.

Consultancy for Council of Australasian Tribunals (COAT)

In 2015, Dr Barnes was approached by the Council to assist in the professional development of members of Australasian tribunals in relation to statutory interpretation. Subsequently, he has prepared some training materials for the Council and its members.