Legislative guides

Arik v Vicinity Centres PM Pty Ltd [2023] VSC 94

Arik had a ‘slip and fall’ accident.  A medical panel later found that she had not suffered a ‘significant injury’ in accordance with AMA guides on what constituted ‘significant injury’ for the purposes of the legislation?6 

Guides are not statutes but the same general interpretation principles are applied to them (like a range of other documents having statutory force7).  Guides are not read legalistically, and regard may be had to extrinsic materials8 (including ‘previous iterations’ of the guide in question).  It had been argued that earlier versions of guides could never be referred to (rejected).  The judge held that the panel has misconstrued the guides and remitted the matter.

This principle is from Episode 96 of interpretation NOW!


6 s 28LH of the Wrongs Act 1958 (VIC).

7 industrial agreements, planning permits, environmental policies etc.

8 (at [46, 89]), s 35(b) of the Interpretation of Legislation Act 1984 (VIC).