Statutory purpose (again)

Unions NSW v NSW [2019] HCA 1

Episode 44 commented that purpose and context are to be considered ‘at the same time’ as the text when interpreting provisions.  In this electoral funding case (at [169]), Edelman J makes important observations about statutory purpose and context. 

The search for purpose, ‘involves a construct used to determine the meaning of the words’.  This ‘accords with our conventions for understanding language’1.  It requires ‘concurrent consideration of the meaning of words used in their context together with the purpose for which the words are used’.  Purpose must also be identified by the ‘same context’ and materials as determine meaning.

This case is from Episode 45 of interpretationNOW!


1 Hoffman (2018) 134 LQR 553 (at 558-560) cited.