Meaning of ‘and’

Goodacre v Lumbers [2019] WASC 184

Simple words sometimes cause unexpected complication.  Did a cyber-stalking order prohibiting use of ‘the internet and any social network’ require the use of both for an offence to be committed? 9  The word ‘and’ is usually read conjunctively according to its ordinary meaning, but not always. 

In this case, Derrick J (at [57]) read it disjunctively, as if it meant ‘or’.  Both words may be read for the other in cases of drafting error or where context or purpose otherwise compel that course10.  Reading ‘and’ conjunctively in this case would have made reference to ‘the internet’ redundant, so a ‘more sensible interpretation’ was adopted by the court11.

This case is from Episode 49 of interpretationNOW!


9 61(1) of the Restraining Orders Act 1997 (WA).

10 Pearce & Geddes (at [2.29]), Pollock [2004] WASCA 122 (at [23]).

11 cf Episodes 15, 37 & 39.