Interpretation code

Elliot v ACT Revenue [2020] ACAT 72

Keeping up with interpretation intel is not easy.  One thing is that judges are driven to restate settled principles, picking and choosing what suits, often with quotes, but just as often in their own words – judicial wheel reinvention, perhaps.  Might there be a better way, perhaps some kind of legislated code? 

There are a few key federal rules, like ss 15AA and 15AB7.  The ACT has been a bit bolder with Ch 14 of the Legislation Act 2001.  This little case (at [17-21]) discusses how that chapter ‘governs the approach that must be taken to working out the meaning of an Act’8.  Ch 14 is no fix-all, but it may help people to figure out more efficiently what ACT statutes mean.

This principle is from Episode 69 of interpretation NOW!


7 Acts Interpretation Act 1901, Pearce Interpretation Acts in Australia.

8 s 138 of the Legislation Act 2001, cf KN [2019] ACTCA 37 (at [23]).