Episode 79

Gordon Brysland

The High Court in Port of Newcastle said the principles of interpretation are ‘familiar’ and ‘can seem banal’1.  This case, about ‘access’ to port facilities2, is a refresher on four of those principles.  1 – The term is read as ‘always speaking’3.  2 – It is construed within its ‘broader context’.  3 – The applicable ‘shade of ordinary meaning’ involves a constructional choice.  4 – That choice is made by applying the purposive principle reflected in the ‘statutory instruction’ of s 15AA4.  Given the legislative purpose was to promote economic efficiency and effective competition, ‘access’ meant the right or opportunity to benefit from or use a system or service.  This case is a vivid illustration of our ‘well settled’ method at work.  The principles involved may indeed seem ‘banal’ (boring) but (A) they are the keys to meaning, & (B) they are obligatory.  iTipclick & read the case (at [85-97]).

Gordon Brysland – Tax Counsel Network

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In this episode:

Credits – Gordon Brysland & Oliver Hood.  Happy holidays everyone!


1 Port of Newcastle Operations v Glencore Coal Assets [2021] HCA 39 (at [85]).

2 Part IIIA of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth).

3 Aubrey [2017] HCA 18 (at [29-30]), A2 [2019] HCA 35 (at [141, 169]) cited.

4 s 15AA of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901, Thiess [2014] HCA 12 (at [23]).