Terms in another Act

Metricon v CCSR (No 2) [2016] NSWSC 332 

When a court decides the meaning of a word in one statutory context, it is not precedent for what the same word may mean in a different context2.  This case (at [47]) mentioned the ‘inherent flexibility’ of language, and said that decisions of this kind are of ‘persuasive influence’ only3.

This does not mean words in different Acts cannot bear the same meaning.  They can and often do; for example, where the laws form a legislative scheme, or where they are otherwise truly analogous4iTip 1 – treat cases you find in legal dictionaries about the meaning of statutory words with caution.  iTip 2 – always examine the context.

This case is from Episode 12 of interpretationNOW!


Perilya Broken Hill [2015] NSWCA 400 (at [58]) also.

Carter v Bradbeer [1975] 3 All ER 158 (at 161).

in pari materia– Pearce & Geddes (at [3.36-3.37]).