Statutory purpose

TRG v Brisbane Grammar School [2019] QSC 157

TRG sought, under limitation provisions5, an order setting aside a settlement agreement so that fresh proceedings could be taken against the school. Davis J refused to do so and (at [148]) commented on the proper way to identify statutory purpose.

The search is never for any subjectively held purpose of any legislator6.  It is a wholly objective exercise. Given the provisions in question contained no express objects, Davis J (at [156]) relied on the text of the particular provisions and the wider context to derive the purpose.  He also cautioned against blind acceptance of objects expressed at too high a level or in terms too abstract to be of practical use7.

This case is from Episode 50 of interpretationNOW!


5 s 48(5A) of the Limitation of Actions Act 1974 (Q).

6 Unions NSW [2019] HCA 1 (at [169]), Episodes 44 & 45.

7 Carr [2007] HCA 47 (at [5-7]), Episodes 6, 33, 38, 41 & 43.