Composite expressions

Nature’s Care v AMCL [2018] FCA 1936

Whether fish oil capsules could be described as ‘made in Australia’ depended on whether foreign processing made them fundamentally different in ‘identity, nature or essential character’ to their ingredients5.  Was this expression a composite one to which the principles in Sea Shepherd applied?6 

‘No’ said Perram J (at [32-34]).  As the EM confirmed, they were separate requirements.  It was not appropriate ‘to blur them together’ the judge said, even if there was considerable overlap.  Composite expressions take a composite meaning different to the mere sum of their parts7iTip – not every phrase in legislation is composite in nature8.

This case is from Episode 44 of interpretationNOW!


5 s 255(2) of the Australian Consumer Law.

6 Sea Shepherd [2013] FCAFC 68 (at [35]), Episodes 5, 21 & 31.

7 Zappia [2018] HCA 54 (at [32]) for example.

8 BHP Billiton [2019] FCAFC 4 (at [85]) also illustrates this.