AuthorSusan Barker, Erica Anderson
Statutory interpretation is the Cinderea of legal scholarship. Once
scorned and neglected, conned to the kitchen, it now dances in the
Researching legislative intent can be a labour-intensive and time-
consuming task for legal researchers: we are oen required to nd
discussion about — and the meaning or intent of — a particular word
within a mountain of debate and reports. is type of research involves
tracing how a piece of legislation evolved over time and then nding
out what legislators said about the change(s) in Hansard and in com-
miee. is kind of research can also involve nding the material that
inspired the legislation: law reform commission reports, royal com-
missions or government reports, and many other materials.
Legislative intent is generay discerned by looking at the legisla-
tive evolution (changes over time) and legislative history (“everything
that relates to [the] conception, preparation and passage . . . from the
earliest proposals to royal assent”)2 of a particular statute or section
thereof. You could say that researching legislative intent is like
1 WM Eskridge Jr, Dynamic Statutory Interpretation (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Uni-
versity Press, 1994) at 1.
2 Ruth Suivan, Suivan on the Construction of Statutes, 6th ed (Markham, ON: Lexis-
Nexis, 2014) at 679.

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