‘And’ & ‘or’

Onebev v Encore Beverages [2016] VSC 284

‘And’ and ‘or’ usually take their plain meaning.  ‘And’ is conjunctive and combines items in a provision, while ‘or’ is disjunctive and creates alternatives.  However, ‘and’ is sometimes read as ‘or’ (and vice versa) if there is a clear drafting or printing error, or if context shows the other meaning was intended7.

In this case (at [28-33]), a statutory definition had two limbs connected by ‘and’.  The judge read ‘and’ as ‘or’ to make the limbs alternative requirements, as a conjunctive reading would narrow the definition when its context showed it was intended to be broader.  iTip – see Pearce & Geddes [2.29-2.30] for more examples of cases considering this issue.

This case is from Episode 15 of interpretationNOW!


Ex Parte Pollock [2004] WASCA 122 (at [23]).