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    1.1 Legislation and the general law

    Legislation is written against the background of the general law. The general law is the law that exists apart from legislation. The general law consists of the common law and the principles of equity, which are applicable in Queensland because of its history as a colony of the United Kingdom. The general law emerged from the history of the United Kingdom and did not rely on laws made by Parliament for its existence.

    The general law is commonly referred to as judge made law because it is found in decisions of judges on particular cases brought before them. However, generally speaking, the contemporary role of a judge is essentially to declare the existing general law, not to make new law.

    In Australia, only a Parliament may make legislation or authorise the making of legislation. However, because judges have the role of applying the laws of interpretation, if there is a dispute about the meaning of legislation, the judges decide the dispute.

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    Last updated:
    18 May, 2016
    Last reviewed:
    13 November, 2013