Meaning of ‘revoke’

FCT v Armstrong Scalisi [2019] NSWSC 129

Did a notice of tax estimate saying it ‘replaces’ another mean the earlier notice is ‘revoked’ as the act required?  Ward CJ (at [151]) said ‘no’.  Ordinarily, there is a difference between ‘revoke’ [to take away or cancel] & ‘replace’ [to substitute or refresh].

The former meaning is more consistent with context and purpose, something underlined by use of ‘must’. That the notice be in clear words is in sync with the object and purpose. Using ‘replaces’ led to ambiguity and uncertainty. This case reminds us to always consider text, context and purpose ‘at the same time’15. iTip – it’s safer to just follow the statutory wording when drafting statutory notices!

This case is from Episode 46 of interpretationNOW!


15 SZTAL [2017] HCA 34 (at [14]), SAS Trustee [2018] HCA 55 (at [64]).