Administrative guidelines

Antegra Pty Ltd v CCSR [2021] NSWSC 107

Payne JA in a land tax case (at [87]) said Treasury guidelines are ‘to be construed according to their text and purpose as evident from the document itself in the context of the legislative scheme in which the guidelines are required to be applied’.  Ordinary principles of interpretation apply to them11.

They may be read in an ‘unvarnished way’12, but cannot be approached without regard to context and purpose.  Interpretation must be objective, not opportunistic.  Where several administrative documents inter-relate, it may be ‘possible to have regard to each of them for the purposes of construing expressions used in any one of them’13.

This principle is from Episode 81 of interpretation NOW!


11 (at [82-86]), Pearce 9th ed (at [1.2]), Herzfeld & Prince (at [16.10]) cited.

12 Jayasinghe [2016] FCAFC 79 (at [38]), cf Jayasinghe [2017] HCA 26 (at [52]).

13 Mailes [2001] NSWCCA 155 (at [108]), Lennox [2021] NSWCATAD 81.