Adding words

Taylor v Owners Strata Plan [2014] HCA 9

Reading words into statutes used to be right up there next to heresy7.  With the movement to purposive interpretation, however, things began to change – first in the UK8, then later here9

The High Court in Taylor (at [35-40]) confirms that words can be read into statutes, but only where –  (A) the provisions themselves disclose the mischief aimed at, (B) it is clear that parliament overlooked the mischief, and (C) you can say with real certainty what words would have been added by parliament had attention been drawn to the oversight.  iTip – this technique properly applies only for ‘simple, grammatical, drafting errors’.   

This case is from Episode 5 of interpretationNOW!


7  Marshall (1972) 124 CLR 640 (at 649), Pearce & Geddes (at [2.32]).

8  Wentworth [1980] AC 74 (at 105), Inco Europe [2000] 1 WLR 586 (at 592).

Kingston (1987) 11 NSWLR 404 (at 422), R v PLV (2001) 51 NSWLR 736 (at    743-744).