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By Law Institute Journal

Continuing Legal Education 


This month’s books cover public law, counterfeiting and illicit trade, another in the Kenneallys’ Montserrat series and legal education.


Public Law and Statutory Interpretation

Lisa Burton Crawford, Janina Boughey, Melissa Castan and Maria O’Sullivan, 2017, The Federation Press, pb $110

This book marries two well-known areas of law – public law and statutory interpretation. The justification, which is well-founded, is that statutory interpretation is a branch of public law and is regulated by public law principles.

The authors – all academics at Monash University – discuss various topics over 12 chapters. Australian public law takes up the first eight chapters. The principles discussed include the rule of law, democracy, federalism, separation of powers, responsible government, parliamentary sovereignty and judicial power. The origins and evolution of Australian public law, the structure and processes of parliament, the institutions of the executive and the sources of executive power, and the Australian judicial system and judicial independence are also discussed.

Statutory interpretation is surveyed over the remaining four chapters. Topics covered include the intention of parliament, “text, context and purpose”, syntactical presumptions, rights-protecting presumptions in common law, and interpretative clauses in charters of rights. The authors have not set out to provide a comprehensive analysis of statutory interpretation, but to give an overview of the main topics and a public law perspective. The authors relate the material to the public law topics that were introduced in earlier chapters. Extracts of cases enable the reader to test the commentary against the primary source of law provided.

The book makes few assumptions of the reader’s knowledge, and is primarily directed to law students. However, it should appeal to practitioners seeking a brief and readable account of public law and statutory interpretation.

Dr Jeffrey Barnes, La Trobe University


Counterfeiting and Illicit Trade

Peggy E Chaudhry (ed), Edward Elgar Publishing, 2017 hb

The increased ease with which international trade and commerce occurs across the globe brings with it not only the ability to reach new audiences and markets for goods and services but also the ever-present threat of counterfeiting and illicit trade.

This is a comprehensive and well researched handbook that calls upon experts from industry, law enforcement, the legal community and the private sector (to name a few) to provide working insight into diverse topics covering such things as money laundering and terrorist financing, music piracy and pharmaceuticals.

Divided into five sections, the first part deals with trends and global enforcement issues in relation to illicit trade. Part II details the United States, Mexico and China’s initiatives in stemming illicit trade, which makes for an interesting comparative study highlighting the complexities of regulation and enforcement. The focus shifts in Part III to counterfeit pharmaceuticals, luxury goods and the tobacco sector while Part IV deals exclusively with the internet, including an extensive chapter on social media and intellectual property rights that came out of the 2015 United Kingdom’s Intellectual Property Office research into social media platforms and IP infringement. Case studies and industry examples are peppered throughout the handbook, which serves to highlight the enormity and complexity of the issue of curtailing illicit practices on a global level.

The final part of the handbook provides an overview of managerial and consumer perceptions around the various anti-counterfeiting tactics deployed in the international business space and offers real insight into the impacts on consumers of illicit trading. These are supplemented by recommendations that could offer tangible benefits to consumers and business and deal crippling blows to the counterfeiting and illicit trade industry.

This book is essential reading for those interested in the impact of counterfeiting and illicit trade on international business.

Samaya Borom, Monash University


The Power Game

Meg and Tom Kenneally, Penguin Books, 2018, pb $33

This is the third in the Kenneallys’ Montserrat series, a whodunit sequence set in the colonies of nineteenth century Australia. The events of the book take place in Darlington, Maria Island, in Van Dieman’s Land, where the death of one of those in charge has troubled the settlement. Montserrat and his trusty housekeeper, Mrs Mulrooney, are despatched from Parramatta to get to the bottom of what has occurred.

Suspicion soon falls upon Thomas Power, a charismatic individual loosely modelled on the real-life William O’Brien, an Irish nationalist and son of a baronet, who was sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered in 1848. His sentence was commuted and he was transported to Maria Island after declining an opportunity for freedom within the colony provided he promised not to escape. What followed was a daring attempt by a whaler to rescue this symbol of the Young Irelanders.

Montserrat’s task in solving the murder is complicated by the brutality of those surrounding the Commandant, Mr Brewster, the Commandant’s wife who takes something of a fancy to Mr Power, and the son of the Brewsters who runs the commissary but is somewhat intellectually disabled. The influence of corruption arising from the illicit trade in spirits creates an atmosphere of mistrust and the ever-present threat of retaliatory violence. Mrs Mulrooney has a very difficult time.

The Power Game is the best of the Montserrat series so far. Its tension makes for absorbing reading and the plot is tight. Montserrat’s love life continues to be complicated but his support from Mrs Mulrooney is steadfast. The denouement is worth waiting for and the Kenneallys’ ability to bring to life the harsh conditions of the early settlement a highlight.

Ian Freckelton, QC


Legal Education in the Global Context

C Gane and RH Huang (eds), Ashgate Publishing, 2016, hb

Even if we ignore our understanding of the legal instruction during the millennia of Bunya gatherings, the greatness that was Babylon or inter alia the mandatory Greek education of Roman lawyers, the globalisation of legal education goes back a thousand years to Irnerius.

When the educated elite of Western Europe rode back to Bologna the challenge that faced them was how to take their academic study of the Code and apply it to local courts. This book seeks to prove nothing has changed.

That is not to take the ideas here lightly – there are some remarkable essays.

They examine how it is we are rethinking teaching, learning and assessment in the 21st century law curriculum, from the distant threat of open online courses to the very real importance of quality of legal education and preparation to practice.

Tasman Fleming, barrister


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