I don’t stand under that law!


A popular myth with OPCA adherents is the “stand under” phobia, when replying to an officer’s question: “do you understand?” The OPCA interpretation is that answering “YES” would create joinder in contract with the officer.

The concept also implies that only if one individually “consents” to legislation, it then becomes enforceable, so they emphatically and frantically want to make the point that they don’t Stand under or consent” to any of the little rules concocted by that evil club the BAR Society, to avoid joinder.

But “Understand” does not mean to ‘”stand under”. Do you stand under me? Not literally, of course. Understanding ‘Understand’ Ain’t Easy. You might feel like you’re ‘under attack’ from the word ‘under’ and for good reason. A police officer may not be acting under statutory authority, and you’d have to understand what provision requires it. How then do you differentiate the ‘under’ you know from this OPCA impostor?

After all, there are numerous ‘unders’ that make perfect sense: when you are underage, you will most likely underachieve in the purchase of alcoholic beverages. You may find yourself under arrest when an undercover officer finds you;

When you reply that you don’t “stand under that law”, you appear to be under the influence of a substance, or possibly should be assessed under the Mental Health Act. It could be a sign you are undereducated; that you underestimated the importance of school. But you cannot say in your defence that you stand under mathematics, or that you stand under the obesity problem in the country. You certainly cannot say you like the way the minister stands under the education system.

You simply understand that ‘understand’ means to comprehend, to have knowledge, to see, to realize, to grasp and to perceive.

Law Insider: “Understand Definition“:

Web capture_14-4-2022_211212_www.lawinsider.com

Black’s Law Dictionary: “What is UNDERSTAND? definition of UNDERSTAND“:

Web capture_14-4-2022_211758_thelawdictionary.org

Online Etymology Dictionary:

Web capture_14-4-2022_21400_www.etymonline.com

This is a matter of substance, not form. Following the constitutional technique which has been approved in the Engineers Case (1920) 28 CLR 129, plain English should be used. It is also important to use connotation rather than denotation (See Engineers at 142-3 and 151; and also see Grain Pool of Western Australia v Commonwealth (2000) 202 CLR 479 at 493). I believe it was Galdron J who made the very good point that the Constitution should be read as if it is being read for the very first time, and to apply a modern meaning. Under common law an arrest requires a belief an offense had been committed, (Note: ‘Belief’ is an ‘assentation of mind’ and different to ‘suspicion’: See George v Rockett Slaveski v State of Victoria [2010] VSC 411) …informing the person they are under arrest, and why they are under arrest, physical contact and the person “understanding” why they are under arrest: (see eg George v Rockett (1990) 170 CLR 104, Collins v Wilcock [1984] 1 WLR 1172, DPP v Hamilton [2011] VSC 598)