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Interpretation of Modern Awards

From: Van Efferen v CMA Corporation Limited [2009] FCA 597

Guidance as to the construction of industrial instruments may also be obtained by reference to principles which courts apply to the construction of commercial contracts.  Commercial contracts should, as Kirby J held in Pan Foods Company Importers & Distributors Pty Ltd v Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (2000) 170 ALR 579 at 584 “be construed practically, so as to give effect to their presumed commercial purposes and so as not to defeat the achievement of such purposes by an excessively narrow and artificially restricted construction.” An interpretation which accords with business common sense will be preferred to one which does not: see Upper Hunter County District Council v Australian Chilling and Freezing Co Ltd (1968) 118 CLR 429 at 437.

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