Degree of purpose

Owners – SP No 66375 v King [2018] NSWCA 170

The point from this case (at [290]) is that, in complex legislation like the Home Building Act 1989, the level at which statutory purpose is framed ‘can be critical to the outcome’.  The issue was whether warranties for design defects made developers liable in the absence of a contract with the builder. 

The majority said ‘yes’, Ward JA pointing (at [296]) to comments that legislation ‘rarely pursues a single purpose at all costs’8.  He said that this Act ‘was seeking to strike a fair balance between the interests of consumers and home building contractors’ and to redress builder bias.  iTip – purpose these days is more often subtle than brute.        

This case is from Episode 41 of interpretationNOW!


8 Carr [2007] HCA 47 (at [5]), Episodes 6, 22, 38.