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Legal System | Statutory Interpretation

Aids: Overview

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Aids: Overview

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  • long Title: Abortion Act 1967: medical practitioners (Royal College of Nursing of UK v DHSS) / Christmas Trading Act 2004
  • punctuation: Hanlon v Law Society
  • definition sections: Animal Boarding Act 1963 S5(2): In this Act animal means any dog or cat.
  • explanatory notes: since 1999 / R v A
  • schedules: necessary / Hunting Act 2004: exemptions


  • dictionaries: PACE 1984 / oppression (Fulling)
  • Hansard: ambiguous or absurd / clear statement Minister or promoter (Pepper v Hart) / mischief approach / Denning: grope around in the dark for meaning without turning the light on (Davies v Johnson)
  • previous statutes: R v Wheatley : Explosive Substances Act 1883 / long title refers to Explosives Act 1875
  • white papers: use of force / dispersal area (W v Metropolitan Police Commissioner)
  • committee reports: limited way only (R v Allen )
  • academic studies: criminal attempts (R v Shivpuri )
bits of law

Aids: Overview

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Rules of language

Ejusdem generis:

  • of the same kind / specific words followed by general / general limited to same kind / most commonly used
  • Betting Act 1853: outdoor ring not a house, office, room or other place (Powell v Kempton Park Racecourse)
  • at least two specific words (Allen v Emerson)

Noscitur a sociis:

  • a word is known by its associates / read in context / derive colour from those around (Bourne v Norwich Crematorium)
  • Factories Act 196: floors, steps stairs, passageways & gangways free from obstruction / passage / floor for storage excluded (Pengelley v Bell Punch)

Expressio unius est exclusio alterius:

  • to express one is to exclude others / mention specific excludes other / in list
  • house, land or coalmine /other mines not included (Sedgley Inhabitants)
  • omission may be inadvertent / immigration exclude father as only mention mother (Crew)
bits of law
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