Examples in legislation

R v Clark [2023] SASCA 15 (at [14])4

Section 20 of the Legislation Interpretation Act 2021 (SA) says that an example included in legislation ‘is not exhaustive’ and ‘may extend, but does not limit, the meaning of the provision …to which it relates’5.

The word ‘may’ allows a court to assess if an example in fact extends a provision.  It also caters to situations where parliament intends a provision to cover the example ‘whether or not it strictly falls within the scope of the provision’6.  Older versions of these sections say that ‘if the example is inconsistent with the provision, the provision prevails’7.  Examples in legislation (A) are increasingly common, (B) have more influence, and (C) enjoy strong user support8.

This principle is from Episode 95 of interpretation NOW!


4 Episodes 17 & 30, Pearce 9th edition (at [4.75]).

5 cf s 15AD Acts Interpretation Act 1901, FTAC [2002] NSWSC 624 (at [17]).

6 cf EM to the Bill inserting current s 15AD (at 19).

7 cf Mondelez [2020] HCA 29 (at [72]), Gold [2022] WASCA 134 (at [265]).

8 Barnes Dharmananda & Moran (at [20.12]), Quiggin (2011) 1 Loophole 96.