Statutory definitions

Law Society of NSW v Bouzanis [2017] NSWCA 330

Are client payments to solicitors on account of disbursements ‘trust money’ for legal practice purposes6?  Yes, said the majority, despite the difficult terms of the statutory definition involved. 

While definitions ‘should not readily be put aside’, this might be done ‘where context suggests that a different meaning should be adopted to give effect to the apparent purpose of a specific provision’.  A literal reading of the provision with the definition incorporated would have frustrated the apparent purpose .  iTip – a range of issues need to be kept in mind when dealing with statutory definitions7.

This case is from Episode 33 of interpretationNOW!


6 s 246(4) of the Legal Profession Act 2004.

7 See Episodes 1, 11, 23 and 27.