Version 2 (corrections tracked changes)
Question 1
Henrietta is an Investigator under the Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018 (Cth) (‘the 2018 Act’).
She enters an accident site on David’s property on 5 September 2024 for the purposes of the 2018 Act. The entry was with the consent of the occupier and complied with s 101 of the Act. On that day she hands the occupier (David) a written determination specifying that the last day of the access period is 19 September 2024.
LAW2STA Statutory Interpretation Assignment Part B-La Trobe University Australia.

LAW2STA Statutory Interpretation Assignment Part B-La Trobe University Australia.

On 19 September 2024, Henrietta gives David a second written determination, stating that the last day of the access period is now 3 October 2024. She explains to David that, despite their best efforts, their work at the accident site is not completed.

David then contacts you on 3 October 2024, saying that he is tired of the interruption to his daily life and he objects to what he says is ‘the extension’ of the period for investigating the accident. Now answer the following questions:
(a) Does the Investigator have the power to make a second written determination specifying a later day for the last day of the access period? In the course of answering the question, interpret s 99(2) of the 2018 Act.

(b) Assume now the Investigator does have the power to make a second determination specifying a later day for the last day of the access period. Was the power correctly exercised, that is, was the determination correctly made? Give reasons.

It is Monday 6 March 2023 when Joe Blow comes to your office for legal advice.

Joe says that last year, on 5 January 2022, he discovered an accident had happened with a high power rocket. Part of the rocket landed on his barn and demolished it. Assume damage has occurred to the barn. (However, as stated below, Joes says he did not become aware of the damage until 6 March 2022.)

LAW2STA Statutory Interpretation Assignment Part B-La Trobe University Australia.

Joe says that he was away from his property in January and February 2022 and it was not possible to have any communications about his property during that period. He says that he returned at the end of February 2022 to the property.

He says that, due to his laziness and an over-liking of computer games, on his return to the property on 27 February 2022 he did not venture out and inspect the property until 6 March He remembers that on 28 February 2022 he started the engine of the 4-wheel drive to inspect the property but did not carry out an inspection because he decided he would rather play with his video games. He acknowledges that, if he had driven out on that day, he would have discovered the damage. On venturing out and inspecting his property on the morning of 6 March 2022, he then discovered the damage to the barn.

LAW2STA Statutory Interpretation Assignment Part B-La Trobe University Australia.
LAW2STA Statutory Interpretation Assignment Part B-La Trobe University Australia.

Now back to the events of the present day. On 6 March 2023 Joe asks your firm if he can sue for compensation for the damage to his barn. Your manager (Merilyn) requests you to answer this question today (6 March 2023): assuming an appropriate defendant can be found to be liable, is Joe within the time limit prescribed by s 75G of the Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018 (Cth) (‘the 2018 Act’) for bringing an action for compensation for damage to which Part 4A of that Act applies? In other words, says Merilyn, determine the date for reckoning the time period referred to and, in that light, work out whether Joe is in time to bring such an action.

In the course of answering this question, you are to interpret s 75G(b) of the 2018 Act, and discuss its application to the facts.

In interpreting that provision in the light of the request, you should, among other things, formulate opposing constructions of the provision. One construction should support your client’s desire to bring an action. The opposing construction does not support your client’s interests.

Instructions and assessment details

Please see Subject Learning Guide on LMS (v 3) for allocated marks, due date, word limit, intended learning outcomes, special consideration, and university policies that apply to graded LAW2STA Statutory Interpretation Assignment.

LAW2STA Statutory Interpretation Assignment Part B-La Trobe University Australia.

Parts
This is Part A of the LAW2STA Statutory Interpretation Assignment. Part B will be released separately. Although issued in two parts, the Assignment has one due date and the Parts are submitted together in the one document.

Format

In answering a question that raises general principles (Weeks 1-8) but not special issues (Weeks 9-11), students should as far as possible follow the problem solving template provided with the question paper. In answering a ‘special issues’ question, students should as far as possible follow any appropriate model issued for handling that issue, or, if no such model has been issued, use the problem solving template (adapted as necessary).

Assessable topics and materials
The assessable topics are Weeks 1-12 topics (in addition to assumed skills and knowledge).

The Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018 (Cth) (‘the 2018 Act’), as in force on 2 March 2020, is examinable. If, to define a term in the 2018 Act, that Act relies on another Act, students are expected to examine that other Act as far as it is relevant.

Students are expected to check parliamentary materials relating to relevant provisions of 2018 Act and to draw on this material where and if appropriate.

A part from checking the above materials, students are not expected to engage in legal research.

Preparatory steps

Before attempting the problem, it is recommended that students attempt one or more of the End-of-Semester LAW2STA Statutory Interpretation Assignment exemplar questions on the LMS and self-assess using the answers provided.

Use of facts and information

If you think a material fact (‘fact X’) pertaining to the problem is not set out on the Question Paper, you may consider fact X as if it exists or can be proved to exist, provided it is plausible and that you also consider the alternative situation where fact X does not exist or cannot be proved to exist. This is standard advice with regard to legal problem solving and is not to be taken as a suggestion that a material fact is not stated in the problem. Similar advice applies to any information, set out in the problem on the Question Paper, which you regard as ambiguous. If the ambiguity is plausible, then make the most probable inference, or give alternative advice based on each scenario. This is standard advice with regard to legal problem solving and is not to be taken as a suggestion that information in the problem is ambiguous.

Meaning of ‘interpret’

This includes developing competing constructions (meanings) of the unit(s) of inquiry that, when applied to the facts, promote the interests of the parties involved. For further guidance, see Meaning of ‘Unit(s) of Inquiry’ and LAW2STA Statutory Interpretation Assignment Criteria below.

Meaning of ‘unit(s) of inquiry’

A unit of inquiry refers to the words of legislation whose meaning is in doubt. It is normally a legislative provision or an element (of such a provision) whose meaning is in doubt.

Students should not assume that a problem raises necessarily only one unit of inquiry. Speaking generally, legal problems may raise more than one unit of inquiry (see, eg One bev Pty Ltd v Encore Beverages Pty Ltd [2016] VSC 284; Project Blue Sky Inc v Australian Broadcasting Authority (1998) 194 CLR 355), even within the same section (Onebev). Multiple units of inquiry may arise for a number of reasons. They include: a potential aid to interpretation of the central unit of inquiry (such as another provision of the Act) may itself be ambiguous; a relevant law is expressed with multiple requirements; an apparent conflict may exist between multiple provisions of the same Act which both require interpretation; more than one law may be potentially relevant; and the problem presents an alternative way to argue a case and answer the question.

Addressing a relevant law

A law often has more than one element. In addressing a relevant law a court may find that an element is not satisfied, but nevertheless, out of an abundance of caution and for other reasons, it will go on to consider the other elements of the law. In giving a legal opinion, students should do the same. If you find an element of a law is not satisfied, you should go on to consider the other elements of the law.

Tutors

Your tutor is available to answer any question you may have about a Week 1-12 topic and the general meaning of a section of the template. But he or she cannot assist in analysing the legislation or in answering the question.

Style and referencing

Subject to the following, follow the 4 th edition of the Australian Guide to Legal Citation.

You may use in-text references instead of footnotes for references. In-text references are references which are put in parentheses in the middle of a sentence, or are put after a colon at the end of a sentence. The references generally follow AGLC style for the first reference to an Act or a case. But, for a second or subsequent reference, they do not need a cross reference to an earlier footnote. In-text references thus may save on cross references that would be employed if footnotes were used. If kept reasonably short, they are also easier to read, for the reader is not forced to break their reading of the body of the answer and read the footnote. For example, the style may be used with respect to cases:

In Dog v Cat ((2020) 204 CLR 227), the High Court appears to have propounded the principle that dogs make better friends than cats: 239 [87]. In the same case, the Court made obiter comments about the friendship qualities of guinea pigs: 240 [88]. …. In the Dog case the Court also made obiter comments about the friendship qualities of rabbits: 240 [90].

The High Court has propounded that dogs make better friends than cats: Dog v Cat (2020) 204 CLR 227, 239 [87].

The same style may be used with respect to legislation. For example:
Sections 33-6 of the Dog Act 2020 (Cth) list the friendship qualities of dogs.The Dog Act 2020 (Cth) lists the friendship qualities of dogs (ss 33-6), but these should not be taken to be exhaustive.
Although the Dog Act 2020 (Cth) (rightly) does not list the friendship qualities of dingoes, the Act does list the friendship qualities of dogs: ss 33-6.

In-text references are often employed in legal writing, for example, Collett (Week 2 tutorial case), Yucesan (Week 2), R v PJ (Week 4 tutorial case), BGM16 (Week 6 tutorial case).

Word count

You must state the word count of your answer on the cover sheet.
The word count includes:

  • the headings in the template that you adopt in your submission
  • any footnotes provided.

Before submitting your answer, delete explanatory material in square brackets that is on the template. You should also delete a heading or subheading that is on the template if there is nothing to say about it.

If a submission exceeds the word limit, and is 1-24 words over, the penalty is 0.5 marks. Thereafter, the following applies:

  • 25-74 words over: 1.5 marks penalty;
  • 75-124 words over: 2.5 marks penalty;
  • etc.

How the answer is to be produced

The End-of-Semester Assignment is not a group LAW2STA Statutory Interpretation Assignment. You must produce it independently. Among other things, you must not work on the problem with another student, or distribute your written answer or a written draft to another student. See the Subject Learning Guide for further information.

Identification

Do not put your name on the submission.

Extensions of time
Please email your tutor (copying in the subject coordinator) if you are seeking an extension

of time. In your application you must specify the extension period you are seeking. You should include all appropriate documentation. If this does not occur, you may be invited to send the tutor appropriate documentation.

Submission

Submit the completed cover sheet and answer to the Turnitin link for the End-of-Semester LAW2STA Statutory Interpretation Assignment on the LMS.

Assessment criteria

(1) Interpretation of legislation, together with dealing with its consequences (applying the law as interpreted to the facts), are as far as possible well handled The interpretative issue in the problem, together with dealing with its consequences (that is,
applying the law as interpreted to the facts), are as far as possible well handled in that the student:

  • identifies the unit or units of inquiry which the problem raises
  • conducts any necessary analysis of the legislation
  • clearly and precisely formulates the rival contentions of meaning (‘alternative constructions’) of the unit(s) of inquiry, and specifies the party whom a construction favours
  • for each alternative construction, identifies as widely as possible the indications of meaning that point to that construction (the ‘interpretative factors’)
  • considers the weight of each set of interpretative arguments and, to the extent possible, the strengths and weaknesses of each argument
  • reaches a conclusion as to what is most likely to be the legal meaning of the unit(s) of inquiry, and, as clearly and precisely as possible, states that meaning
  • gives cogent reasons in support of that conclusion
  • pays close attention to the law and the facts, and exercises good judgment, in applying the law as interpreted to the facts
  • where required, states with as much clarity as possible what the legal position of the client is on the facts
  • in performing the above tasks, gives due recognition to any uncertainty in relation to the facts, the law, or the application of the law to the facts.
LAW2STA Statutory Interpretation Assignment Part B-La Trobe University Australia.
LAW2STA Statutory Interpretation Assignment Part B-La Trobe University Australia.

(2) Writing of a legal opinion on statutory interpretation is in a form that approximates the standard expected of a newly-qualified lawyer The answer:

  • demonstrates clear thinking
  • uses paragraphs appropriately
  • is well structured and follows as far as possible the Problem Solving Template attached to this Question Paper
  • uses good syntax
  • is concisely expressed
  • is correct in relation to spelling, punctuation and grammar
  • is well presented.

The answer is appropriately referenced, in that the student:

  • cites authority for all legal propositions requiring authority
  • includes precise and complete references, including references to legislation
  • employs a style that follows the style required by the Question Paper.
LAW2STA Statutory Interpretation Assignment Part B-La Trobe University Australia.