Status of notes

Dentown Pty Ltd v PWI Group [2019] NSWSC 1032

Rees J in this case considered whether a company director had improperly used information to gain an advantage contrary to the Corporations Act10.  In interpreting the provisions, the judge (at [248]) relied on a note to the Act.  Here, notes were part of the Act and had ‘the same status as the provisions of the Act’ under s 13 of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.

However, different jurisdictions may treat notes differently11, they cannot dominate the text of an Act12, and they may also be subject to special rules13iTip – notes are generally an aid to interpretation.  Be careful not to over-extend their reach or authority.

This case is from Episode 54 of interpretation NOW!


10 s 183(1) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

11 s 19 of the Acts Interpretation Act 1915 (SA), for example.

12 Pearce & Geddes (at [4.57]), CFMEU [2015] FCAFC 25 (at [115, 118]).

13 Episodes 5 & 44.