In Australia, the principle of legality is an important canon of statutory construction, which guides courts when interpreting legislation. The principle means that, if Parliament wants to interfere with fundamental common law rights and freedoms, it must express its intention do so with clear and unambiguous language.

Just over 12 years ago, in the High Court’s decision in Electrolux Home Products Pty Ltd v Australian Workers’ Union, Chief Justice Gleeson described the principle of legality as ‘an aspect of the rule of law’. I’ve written an article for the Rule of Law Institute of Australia exploring the Chief Justice’s claim about the connection between the rule of law and the principle of legality.


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