Purpose and s 15AA

Vincentia MC Pharmacy v ACPA [2020] FCAFC 163

Ordinary interpretation principles apply to legislative instruments – nothing new here12.  This case stresses the settled content of those principles13, the need always to consider statutory purpose from the get-go14, and the mandatory nature of s 15AA in choosing the meaning that best achieves that purpose15.

At issue was the meaning of ‘for at least 70 hours each week’ in the ‘large medical centre’ definition of a determination.  Did it take account of weeks containing a public holiday?  Applying a purpose-based approach, the court (at [65]) said ‘yes’.  This pharmacy was a ‘large medical centre’ despite not opening for 70 hours in public holiday weeks.

This principle is from Episode 67 of interpretation NOW!


12 Cranbrook [2006] NSWCA 155 (at [36]), RMA [2020] FCA 1761 (at [15]).

13 A2 [2019] HCA 35 (at [32]), Bay Street [2020] FCAFC 192 (at [5]).

14 Calidad [2020] HCA 41 (at [91]), Yeo [2020] FCAFC 199 (at [27]), E66.

15 s 15AA Acts Interpretation Act 1901, SZTAL [2017] HCA 34 (at [39]).