Back to Publication

General Issue

The French Court and the Principle of Legality


Bruce Chen

With the recent retirement of Robert French as Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, this article provides a retrospective on the French Court’s treatment of the principle of legality. The principle of legality is a common law interpretive principle most commonly associated with the presumption that Parliament does not intend to interfere with fundamental common law rights, freedoms and immunities. This article demonstrates that the principle of legality has greatly risen in prominence during the French Court era. The article draws a narrative of the most significant principle of legality cases decided by the French Court. It identifies the unprecedented developments that have taken place, the areas in which divisions have emerged, and the implications for the principle going forward.

Please access full article here or via PDF link to the left.

(2018) 41(2) UNSWLJ 401: