Remedial legislation

Secretary v Stewart [2024] NSWCA 59

The issue was whether absence from work due to incapacity while receiving compensation is a ‘period of unpaid leave’ under the Act?14  The court said ‘no’ on the basis this was too strained an interpretation.

The court made several important points.  One, adopting a ‘broad’ construction to remedial provisions from the outset may be unhelpful.  Two, the essential task is to determine the legal meaning of the words.  Three, where doubt exists about the extent to which a purpose is pursued, restating that purpose is unlikely to resolve the issue15.  Four, whether or not a statute is remedial, the court must give effect to its purpose, objectively determined.

This principle is from Episode 107 of interpretation NOW!


14 cl 2(3)(a) of Schedule 3 to the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (NSW).

15 [72], Hunter Quarries [2018] NSWCA 178 [66].