Changes in style

King Eeducational v CEO (No 3) [2021] FCA 692

This case deals with an amended provision requiring a decision-maker to be satisfied the applicant ‘is complying, or will comply’ with conditions8.  The contextual meaning of ‘and’ and ‘or’ is discussed9.

Also dealt with is a ‘changes in style’ argument that, because the amended provision ‘appears to have expressed the same idea’ as the original, it takes the same meaning.  Wheelahan J (at [97]) rejected this.  Nothing in the amending legislation or extrinsic materials suggested it.  Arguments on this general basis are difficult to sustain in practice.  The gateway ‘same idea’ concept is easy to state but hard to prove and there must be evidence of statutory purpose10.

This principle is from Episode 76 of interpretation NOW!


8 s 10E(1) of the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (Cth).

9 Pileggi [2004] FCA 955 (at [37]), Pearce 9th Edition (at [2.48-2.50]).

10 Pearce Interpretation Acts (at [3.83-3.93]), Episode 42.