Words with a legal meaning

Host-Plus v Maritime Super [2023] NSWSC 725

Did an asset transfer from one superfund to another involve an ‘appointment’ for the purpose of unlawful inducement provisions13?  The word ‘appointment’ has a well-understood legal meaning in trust situations14.  Words with a legal meaning when used in a statute take that meaning ‘unless a contrary meaning clearly appears from the context’15.

Nothing in the context indicated any contrary intention here.  This was consistent with comparable provisions elsewhere and the legislative history.  Stevenson J held that the word ‘appointment’ directed attention to trustee conduct, but nothing in the asset transfer raised anything of this nature.

This principle is from Episode 99 of interpretation NOW!


13 s 249E(2) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

14 Finn Fiduciary Obligations (at 300) cited.

15 Pearce 9th Edition (at [4.21]), Brewery Employees (1908) 6 CLR 469 (at 531).