Statutory definitions

ICAC v Cunneen [2015] HCA 14

Statutory definitions often create problems, and our tax laws are littered with them. A common issue, discussed (at [33]), is the circuity involved in trying to construe the definition by reference to the actual term defined4. iTip – don’t do this!

Another issue is the principle that statutory definitions are generally not to be read down unless the context clearly demands it5. Both the majority (at [61-62]) and the dissenting judge, Gageler J (at [77]), discuss this important principle.

This case is from Episode 1 of interpretationNOW!


4  Owners of Shin Kobe Maru v Empire Shipping Co Inc [1994] HCA 54 (at [26]).

5  PMT Partners Pty Ltd v Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service [1995] HCA 36 (at [18]).