Constitutional Avoidance: The High Court's Prudential Approach to Resolving Constitutional Questions

Tuesday, 20 September, 2022 - 17:00 to 18:00
Western Australia

Despite having a self-proclaimed duty to enforce the Constitution, the High Court adopts a variety of tools which can result in it avoiding the resolution of constitutional questions. One way this can occur is by only deciding constitutional questions when they are ‘necessary to do justice in the given case and to determine the rights of the parties’. Although this practice has been followed since the Court’s earliest days, it was only recently labelled the ‘prudential approach to resolving constitutional questions’ last year by the plurality in Mineralogy v Western Australia. This seminar seeks to explain when the prudential approach applies and why the High Court adopts the practice. It will further analyse the Kiefel Court’s recent prudential approach jurisprudence, arguing that the Court’s application of the practice would benefit from greater clarity and consistency.


The WA Chapter of the Australian Association of Constitutional Law are pleased to invite you to this seminar with Tristan Taylor and Chaired by Matthew Howard SC.


Date: Tuesday 20 September 2022


Venue: Francis Burt Chambers, Level 25 Allendale Square, 77 St George’s Tce


Time: 5pm


Registration: as this is an in-person only event please register to attend by emailing Varun Ghosh at 


Speaker Bio:

Tristan Taylor is the Research Associate to the Solicitor-General of Western Australia. In this role, he primarily assists the Solicitor-General in High Court constitutional litigation on behalf of the State and the Attorney General. He is also a final year Juris Doctor student at the University of Western Australia, where he has received various awards and prizes. Next year he will work as a tipstaff to Justice Leeming of the New South Wales Court of Appeal. He has also authored and co-authored academic papers and articles, primarily in the field of constitutional law.