Repeal and re-enactment

Rusiecki v Western Australia [2023] WASCA 81

A drug conviction was appealed on the basis methylamphetamine was not a ‘prohibited drug’ at the relevant time.  Regulations referred to the list of drugs in Schedule 1 of the Poisons Standard14.  Shortly before the offence took place, however, Schedule 1 was repealed and the list relocated to Schedule 2.  The court held that the regulations had adopted the Poisons Standard as a ‘code’.  It was inconsistent with the legislative scheme not to adopt the clearly identified listing provision of the Poisons Standard merely because it was not in Schedule 1.  The court rejected a literal and mechanistic outcome in favour of one conforming to the legislative purpose15.

This principle is from Episode 97 of interpretation NOW!


14 reg 3(1) of the Medicines and Poisons Regulations 2016 (WA).

15 CIC Insurance 187 CLR 384 (at 408), Cooper Brookes 147 CLR 297 (at 320-321).