What happens when parliament re-enacts words already judicially construed? As this case explains (at ), parliament ‘is taken to have intended the words to bear the meaning … judicially attributed to [them]’2. This presumption does not bite in all situations3, but it was applied in this case to provisions concerning voidable transactions4.
iTip 1 – take care with replacement or consolidating legislation in this context, as the presumption may be weaker or inapplicable – the rationale being that parliament has considered only the form and not the substance of the new law5. iTip 2 – there must also be a considered decision on point, with lower court cases attracting less or maybe no weight6.
This case is from Episode 8 of interpretationNOW!
2 Re Alcan Australia  HCA 34 (at ).
3 Electrolux  HCA 40 (at ), Pearce & Geddes (at [3.48]).
4 s 588FF of the Corporations Act 2001.
5 Melbourne Corporation (1922) 31 CLR 174 (at 186-188).