Can an official change a statutory decision already made? Here, ‘yes’. The Valuer-General sought to amend a determination of compensation on a compulsory acquisition. Subject to contrary intention, common-form provisions say statutory functions may be exercised ‘from time to time as occasion requires’14. It was held there was nothing in the text, context or purpose to exclude this principle.
These common-form provisions were enacted in all jurisdictions to counter the old rule of functus officio that decisions once made could not be revisited. Nowadays, the issue is one purely of statutory interpretation (and often not so easy in practice)15.
This case is from Episode 57 of interpretation NOW!
14 s 48(1) of the Interpretation Act 1987 (NSW), Pearce IAIA Ch 8.