Paula Bate said many times she wanted to leave everything to the theatre. There was no dispute about this, but she never made a will. She died, her estate vested in the State, and the theatre tried to claim it – refused. The issue was whether the theatre as a corporation was a ‘person’ in this regard10.
The Interpretation Act said it was, unless ‘context or subject-matter otherwise indicates or requires’. Garling J stressed the impact of context11. Also, one ‘must not be too ready’ to depart from the Interpretation Act position. The test is whether context clearly requires a different outcome – ‘a fairly high hurdle to jump’12 – here, it was too high.
This principle is from Episode 77 of interpretation NOW!
10 s 61B(8) of the Wills, Probate and Administration Act 1898 (NSW).