Published on 01 Jun 13
by "AUSTRALIAN TAX FORUM" JOURNAL ARTICLE
This article examines the interpretation practice of Justice Graham Hill for statutes and treaties, with a particular emphasis on tax treaties. Reflecting his apparent impatience with broad generalities about the process and the exact source and nature of the law on interpretation, it carries out a deconstruction of the “rules” in the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 and the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. It then turns to consider how in tax treaty interpretation he related text, context, policy, history and the fact that treaties are negotiated texts, what extrinsic material he used in interpretation and why, and whether there are substantive principles involved. It concludes with discussion of some Delphic asides in his judgments and the lessons to be learnt, particularly by government, from his approach to interpretation of tax treaties.
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