Two paths, one destination

Edelman J explains that s 15AB was enacted before the ‘modern approach’ had solidified9.  Section 15AB regulates how extrinsic materials may be used by providing gateways, conditions and processes.  But the differences between statutory and common law paths ‘should not be overstated’.  There ‘will very rarely be a difference in practice’ between them10.

Each path requires those materials ‘to be assimilated with the text … its context within the Act, and the Act’s purpose or object in order to ascertain a single meaning’.  Section 15AB ‘is not intended to constrain the development of common law rules’11.  The judge emphasised that even a strong textual meaning may be reconsidered where information in extrinsic materials is ‘particularly cogent, clear and specific’.

This principle is from Episode 106 of interpretation NOW!


9 This happened in the late 1990s with fine-tuning in the decades following.

10 The 2 facilities are directed at overlapping systemic objectives.

11 [114], Stubbs (2006) 34(1) Federal Law Review 103 (123) cited.