Extrinsic material

Koundouris v Owners Unit Plan [2017] ACTCA 36

Planning laws commonly impose warranties for work quality on builders.  It was argued that  explanatory statements with the Act meant a builder had to be party to the sale contract for warranties to apply6.  Here there was an interposed entity. 

The appeal court said (at [41]) the explanatory statements were ‘not sufficient to displace the ordinary grammatical meaning’, particularly where the position contended  for by the builder would ‘neuter the regime’.  This case is an unsurprising example of the basic principle that extrinsic materials cannot leverage otherwise clear statutory words – see Episode 27iTip – remember this!        

This case is from Episode 29 of interpretationNOW!


s 58C(1) of the Building Act 1972, s 88(1) of the Building Act 2004.