Adding words

Bautista v Minister [2018] FCA 1114

The High Court in 2014 integrated the ‘adding words’ rules into purposive theory9, but that does not mean it’s easy to do.  Experience shows the opposite.  In this case, Collier J (at [83-88]) refused to read ‘time limit’ words into a migration provision because inadvertence was not shown and it was not certain what words would have been inserted. 

It is true that ‘adding words’ is argued far more than before in litigation10.  The High Court, however, recently set a corrective tone on the issue with its reminder that interpretation ‘remains throughout to expound the meaning of the statutory text, not to remedy gaps disclosed in it or repair it’11.

This case is from Episode 41 of interpretationNOW!


9 Taylor [2014] HCA 9 (at [35-40]), Episodes 5, 33.

10 Over-argued sometimes, like ‘principle of legality’.

11 HFM043 v Republic of Nauru [2018] HCA 37 (at [24]).