Cavanagh v Wollondilly (No 2) [2019] NSWLEC 181

Our iTip in Episode 23 was ‘be careful with headings’.  This case involved the impact of clause headings in an environmental planning instrument13.  The first thing to look at is whether headings of this kind form part of the instrument in question – here they were not.  Second, the general interpretation provision which would otherwise allow recourse to headings did not apply to these instruments14.

Robson J held (at [43]) that the clause heading had no role to play and, anyway, could not displace the ‘clear and ordinary meaning’.  Pearce explains the provisions and principles which apply in this often confusing area15iTip – be careful with headings.

This case is from Episode 55 of interpretation NOW!


13 Wollondilly Local Environmental Plan 2011.

14 ss 35(2)(a) & 34(1) of the Interpretation Act 1987 (NSW).

15 Interpretation Acts (at [3.1-3.15]), Pearce 9th ed (at [4.65-4.67], 457).