Judgment words

Lazarus v ICAC [2017] NSWCA 37

Special care needs to be taken in stating what a case about statutory interpretation is authority for – see Episode 9.  This case (at [87]) says that ‘every word of every judgment’ must be read in its context10

The problem in Lazarus was that too much had been made of what had been said by judges in an earlier case.  Those statements had to be read down to their proper context.  Cases are only authority ‘for what they decide’, said the court.  There is a tendency to read what judges say as quasi-statutory and in isolation.  iTip – respect judicial authority > investigate context > revisit the provisions.  

This case is from Episode 27 of interpretationNOW!


10 Burns[2017] NSWCA 3 (at [90]), Bank of NSW [1949] UKPCHCA 1 (at [46]).