Status of notes

Re ACN 063 346 708 [2018] NSWSC 1709

Notes form part of the Act9 and cannot be ignored for interpretational purposes.  If there is a conflict between a note and the text, however, the text always prevails10 – no surprise here.  In this case, about reinstatement of a company under the Corporations Act, Rees J (at [34]) relied on a note to confirm his reading of the provision in question11

This is the most common way notes assist with interpretation – to confirm an answer reached on other grounds.  The precise status of statutory notes remains elusive however and, sometimes, they are subject to special rules12iTip consult all notes, but don’t overplay their textual importance. 

This case is from Episode 44 of interpretationNOW!


9 s 13 of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901, Episode 5.

10 Pearce (at [3.16]), CFMEU [2015] FCAFC 25 (at [118]).

11 s 601AH(3) of the Corporations Act.

12 Div 182 of the GST Act, Div 950 of ITAA97, for example.