Same word, same meaning?

Tabcorp Holdings v Victoria [2016] HCA 4

In this case (at [65]), the High Court said that a ‘consistent meaning should ordinarily be given to a particular term wherever it appears in a suite of statutory provisions’.  This principle is a routine starting point when reading legislation.  However, as the quote above indicates, it is not an inflexible rule.  Episode 3 explains how it all depends on context. 

Another recent High Court case says this principle applies ‘in the absence of contrary intention’1.  The point to understand is that the same word in an Act may not always have the same meaning, even if different meanings are rare in practice.  iTip – read Episode 3 again to understand the basic idea.

This case is from Episode 12 of interpretationNOW!


1  IMM v The Queen [2016] HCA 14 (at [143]).