Presumption of consistency

Owners v Multiplex Hurstville [2018] NSWSC 1488

The issue in this building dispute was whether the development manager was liable on warranties as an ‘owner’ under home building laws.  ‘Owner’ was defined as the only person ‘entitled to the land for an estate of freehold in possession’ or ‘entitled to receive … the rents and profits of the land …’ 

Stevenson J (at [58-61]) drew attention to 2 things  (A) technical legal terms take their technical legal meaning in statutes, and (B) judicially construed terms take that meaning when repeated in statutes7.  Long consistent usage of ‘owner’ over a wide spectrum of situations here confirmed that the development manager was not liable on warranties.

This case is from Episode 42 of interpretationNOW!


7 WorkPac [2018] FCAFC 131 (at [107-108, 109-113]), Episode 40.