Context and purpose

Sydney Seaplanes v Page [2021] NSWCA 204

A woman died in a plane crash in 2017.  Less than 2 years later (just within the limitation period), her father sued the operator for damages in the FCA.  This was dismissed, as the flight was wholly within NSW.  To re-start in the NSWSC, there had to be ‘an order of a federal court … dismissing … a proceeding relating to a State matter for want of jurisdiction’7.

Literally, it seemed so, but the court said ‘no’ due to context and purpose.  ‘Want of jurisdiction’ meant situations where jurisdiction had been improperly conferred on a court, not accessed by a plaintiff.   Cases on context and purpose are discussed8iTip – click above and read the passages (at [26-41, 96-97])9.

This principle is from Episode 77 of interpretation NOW!


7 s 11(1) of the Federal Courts (State Jurisdiction) Act 1999 (NSW).

8 Lake, Project Blue Sky, CIC Insurance, SZTAL, SAS Trustee, etc.

9 An application for special leave in the High Court has been lodged.