Purpose in sequence

Satmell v Blacktown CC [2019] NSWLEC 94

Identifying the purpose of provisions at the correct level is ‘integral’ to interpretation3 because purpose drives constructional choice, consistent with s 15AA of the Acts Interpretation Act 19014.  Even though purpose resides in the text and structure of the statute, it may be derived from external sources. 

This case (at 47]) suggests one way to discern purpose ‘may be to read the Act in the sequence in which it was written, that is, from the beginning onwards’.  Identifying purpose is usually more complicated than this.  But, like the global instruction to start with the text of the law, it is an appropriate and correct way to begin the process.

This case is from Episode 51 of interpretation NOW!


3 Thiess [2014] HCA 12 (at [22-23]), Episodes 40, 43 & 48.

4 SZTAL [2017] HCA 34 (at [38-39]), Brysland & Rizalar (2018) 92 ALJ 81.