Meaning of ‘person’

Boulos v Warrumbungle SC [2022] NSWSC 1368

Whatever ‘person’ means in any legislation is very much context-dependent.  In this case, the issue was whether the director of a development company was a ‘person’ who carries out construction and by reason of that status had a duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid economic loss caused by certain defects7.

It was argued the provision only applied to someone who does construction work ‘in their own capacity’.  The judge rejected this (at [61]) as he was unable to see by what process of interpretation the word could be read down that way.  Considered in reaching this conclusion were other provisions of the statute, extrinsic materials and the Interpretation Act 1987.

This principle is from Episode 90 of interpretation NOW!


7 s 37(1) of the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 (NSW).