Remedial Legislation

L v Commissioner [2018] TASSC 32

Episode 11 explains that the old rule about reading remedial legislation liberally still survives, but it has its limits13.  Geason J in this case (at [25]) said it is unsound to interpret statutes of this kind ‘with meticulous literalism’.  On the other hand, no beneficial construction can enlarge the operation of an Act ‘beyond the actual words used’.  It is the text that controls how far an Act goes in achieving its underlying purpose – remedial or otherwise. 

In this victims of crime case14, the term ‘violence’ was read as ‘always speaking’ and extending to ‘infliction of harm by coercion and intimidation, emotional abuse and intimidation, and economic abuse’.

This case is from Episode 39 of interpretationNOW!


13 AB [2011] HCA 42 (at [24]), Fagan (1982) 150 CLR 666 (at 675).

14 s 4 of Victims of Crime Compensation Act 1976 (Tas).