Legalism and activism

Legalism is the strict adherence to the letter of the law rather than an intentionalist or an understanding of how the law should best be applied under different contexts. Judges interpret the law literally.

Judicial activism involves the conscious development of the common law according to the perceptions of the court in line with the perceived community and social expectations rather than conforming to the intention of those who wrote it.

If a question asks about HC common law decisions, use Mabo, Dietrich or Trigwell

Examples:

Legalism: (Constitutional) – Engineers; (common) – Trigwell

Activism: Constitutional – ACT vs C’th 1992; Common – Mabo 199266

Contemporary issues: Freedom of speech and Anti Discrimination Act; Bikie laws

See political issues and legal issues

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