Impractical obligations

Uelese v Minister [2015] HCA 15

Nettle J in this case (at [100]) was against a reading of migration obligations that would make them ‘impossible or impractical’ to comply with. He referred to previous cases about this, and to the textbook Pearce & Geddes (at [2.38-2.39]) on ‘Consequences of a particular interpretation’.

iTip – care needs to be exercised in applying this principle, as earlier cases show. It is not a broad licence to read tax laws in a convenient manner merely because taxpayer compliance may be difficult in some way. However, it might provide scope in some situations for an evolution in interpretation backed by practical experience.

This case is from Episode 1 of interpretationNOW!