The ability of judges and courts to make law

Courts can make law in two main ways: common law and statutory interpretation

Common law

Law made and developed by courts is known as common law. Individuals are able to contribute to the development of common law by bringing a matter to court to settle an issue. Common law is made when a situation comes before the court for which there is no existing legislation or existing common law. When judges make a decision on a case, they create a precedent which must be followed in the future.

Statutory interpretation

Judges also establish precedent when interpreting statutes. They will interpret statutes when there is a dispute about the intention or meaning of the words in the statute. Therefore, by conducting statutory interpretation they will clarify the meaning of certain laws. An example of statutory interpretation can be found in the case Deing v Tarola.

See also:

Doctrine of precedent

Statutory interpretation