Meaning and effect

Owners v Ternes [2019] NSWSC 1579

As an interpretational baseline, applied by the High Court from the very start8, all words in legislation are to be given meaning and effect whenever possible9.  Arguments based on redundancy, however, have a utopian flavour and are rarely decisive in isolation. 

In this case, it was argued (at [29-31]) that general provisions be read down to avoid the redundancy of specific ones10.  Parker J’s approach seeks to preserve a sensible operation for all provisions in question.  In practical terms, the case illustrates a classic Project Blue Sky application to situations where different provisions overlap or they are textually inconsistent in some respect – see Episode 43 under ‘harmony’.

This case is from Episode 55 of interpretation NOW!


8 Baume (1905) 2 CLR 405 (at 414), Project Blue Sky [1998] HCA 28 (at [71]).

9 Pearce 9th ed (at [2.43], 443), Episodes 16 & 23.

10 Dixon J quoted in Teele (1940) 63 CLR 201 (at 207).