Special circumstances

DJ v DPP (WA) [2022] WASC 303

This case raised what are ‘special circumstances’ in an application to disregard young offender convictions11.  Smith J (at [58-63]) looked at other statutory contexts, of which there are many, where the same expression is used.  These confirmed that the subject case must be ‘different in kind’.

An important point of general application is that the expression involves ‘words of indeterminate reference and will always take their colour from their surroundings’.  The surroundings or statutory context were against the present situation reaching the level of ‘special circumstances’.  iTip – what is ‘special’ in one context may not be in another.

This principle is from Episode 89 of interpretation NOW!


11 s 189 of the Young Offenders Act 1994 (WA).