Episode 55

What interpretational themes attracted the attention of the High Court in 2019?  The first one is that nothing in the last decade or so suggests any ‘return to a literal approach to construction’1.  The central importance of the ‘twin pillars’ – Project Blue Sky and CIC Insurance – continued to be stressed2, along with the instruction to consider purpose and context ‘at the same time’ as the text3.  Problems with preconceived policy and the limited utility of extrinsic materials in determining meaning also featured4.  These factors all confirm a certain stability of the law, something also underwritten by s 15AA.  To be clear, there were no seismic shifts or fashion adjustments on the interpretation landscape during 2019.  Finally, Professor Dennis Pearce published the 9th edition of Statutory Interpretation in Australia, a majestic text which only grows in importance and authority.

Gordon Brysland  Tax Counsel Network

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In this episode:

Writers – Gordon, Cameron, Philip & Sarah. Producer – Cameron.

1 A2 [2019] HCA 35 (at [37]), cf CCJ [2019] QSC 267 (at [33]).

2 Masson [2019] HCA 21 (at [42]), BMW [2019] HCA 45 (at [43]), Episode 49.

3 Unions NSW  [2019] HCA 1 (at [169]), Episode 45.

4 Williams [2019] HCA 4 (at [79]), Taylor [2019] HCA 30 (at [87]).