Statute Law Revision

The role of the Committee in considering a Bill is to ensure that the amendments sought to be made are not of a substantive policy nature, rather that they are strictly confined to the correction of minor errors or omissions such as cross-references, spelling, drafting or grammatical errors. Other acceptable statute law revision amendments update nomenclature such as the names of government agencies, successor Act names or repeal spent sections, divisions or parts of Acts. In other instances amendments correct ineffective legislative instructions that have failed to make the amendment originally proposed. The Committee accepts that such house keeping amendments are intended to clarify the original intent of the Act or update provisions in those Acts.

Where statute law revision amendments are intended to apply retrospectively the Committee seeks to ensure that there is a rationale and legitimate reason for applying the amendment to the particular retrospective date required.

Where Acts are to be repealed the objective of the Committee is to ensure that the Acts sought to be repealed are spent or no longer necessary to remain on the Victorian Statute books and that necessary transitional or savings provisions are preserved appropriately.

In considering statute law revision Bills the Committee is mindful of the accepted principles of statutory interpretation regarding such Bills. In this respect the Committee notes the following extract from a leading Australian authority on statutory interpretation– 

This case* is illustrative of the approach that has usually been followed by the courts assuming that statute law revision Acts are not intended to change the substance of the law. They are used to tidy up the statute book, often before consolidation or reprinting occurs. The result of this approach has been to make the courts slow to infer that a change of substance has been made to an Act where an interpretation not changing the previous operation of the Act is tenable.

D. C. Pearce and R. S. Geddes, Statutory Interpretation in Australia (Butterworths, 6th Edition (2006), at p. 262).
*Laird v Portland Municipality [1958] Tas SR 90