Statutory Interpretation and Research

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Foundations of Law 70102 Assessment Task 3 – Statutory Interpretation and Research
Length: 2500 words, excluding footnotes (there is a 10% leeway)
Task details
The assessment task is divided into three parts; and each part comprises a number of questions. You must complete all parts and all questions. The marks awarded for each part are clearly indicated.
A suggested word length for each part has been provided; this is a guide only, you can increase/decrease the words in each part provided you stay within the overall word limit. If you do so, you must keep in mind the marks that are awarded for each part.
All parts of this assessment task relate to the following hypothetical fact scenario.
Jeff is 17 and is in the final term of his final year at a private high school in Brisbane. The school promotes strict adherence to religious doctrine in tandem with very traditional views on family structure and gender roles.
When Jeff told his best friend Billy that he thought he might be gay or bisexual, Billy confided in the school counsellor, Janice, seeking advice on how to best support Jeff. Janice is a trained social worker who has worked full time at the school for several years. In response Janice called Jeff into her office alone and told him that either he could work with her to overcome his unnatural feelings, or she would report him to the Principal who would likely expel him. At that time the final high school exams were only weeks away.
From 1 September 2020 Janice held six two hour sessions with Jeff where, among other things she: repeatedly read him passages of religious text from a variety of sources condemning homosexuality; advised him to reflect on how ashamed his parents and community would be of him if they knew; told Jeff that he would not get a job in his chosen profession if he were ‘a pervert’; encouraged him to get a girlfriend so that he could understand what real love is; and provided a series of behavioural modification techniques to conquer ‘the feelings’ and make them go away.
After the sixth session Jeff’s mother found him sobbing at home and he told her everything. Jeff’s mother is horrified that her son has been put through this process and contacts Janice for an explanation. Jeff’s mother believes Janice has performed ‘conversion therapy’ on a vulnerable person. Janice says she done nothing wrong: she was just doing her job; this was a form of discipline within the school not counselling. Also, she says that even if it was conversation therapy, she would have been fired if she had taken any other approach, so her actions are excusable.
Part A: Locate the relevant provision and relevant amendments (7 marks) approx. 700 words
(1) Identify the provision that prohibits conversion therapy applicable to the above fact scenario.
(2) Identify all the definition sections contained in the principal Act that prohibits conversion therapy that will be necessary for you to conduct the statutory interpretation task in Part C.
(3) Identify the amending Act which inserted this provision that prohibits conversion therapy in the principal Act and note the date of assent and the date on which this provision came into operation.
Part B: Research strategy (3 marks) approx… 400 words approx..
Using dot points please document your research strategy to answer Part A (1)-(3).
Part C: Statutory interpretation (30 marks) approx. 1500 words.
Having located the relevant provision that prohibits conversion therapy you need to set out what conduct is prohibited and by whom and whether this applies to Janice.
This will involve you:
a) interpreting the provision using the statutory interpretation skills that you have been taught in this subject (20 marks)
b) providing a clear conclusion about whether Janice or Jeff’s mother is correct in their understanding of the provision (5 marks); and
c) comparing this provision to Sexuality and Gender Identity Conversion Practices Act 2020 (ACT) s 8. Identify the key differences that you see in terms of the ACT provision? (5 marks)
Referencing (citations and footnotes) must follow the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (MULR Assoc, 4th ed, 2019).
Please note that this is an individual assessment task (not a collaborative one); any evidence that students collaborated with each other will be reported to the Student Misconduct Officer.

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