Importance of certainty

Minister v Parata [2021] FCAFC 46

Notification of the decision to cancel Parata’s visa failed to say the decision was reviewable.  The AAT held his later review application invalid.  He appealed, arguing the time for lodging the application3 had not yet commenced because the notification was invalid.

The court agreed, saying (at [80-81]) that calculation of the time should be ‘based on objective facts that are immediately ascertainable at critical times’.  A construction which advances legal certainty should be favoured, especially given the consequences if time expires4.  Certainty supports a purposive outcome ensuring the legislative target is hit and not missed5.  Certainty is otherwise an aspect of the rule of law6.

This principle is from Episode 72 of interpretation NOW!


3 s 347(1)(b) of the Migration Act 1958, reg 4.10 Migration Regulations 1994.

4 Brown [2020] FCAFC 21 (at [60]), VQAR [2003] FCA 900 (at [10]) cited.

5 cf Taylor [2014] HCA 9 (at [60]), Douglas [2020] FCAFC 220 (at [90-91]).

6 cf Maxwell in Barnes (ed) Coherence of Statutory Interpretation (at 114-115).