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Legal System | Statutory Interpretation

Construction: Approaches

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Construction: Approaches

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Literal rule:

  • words unambiguous / natural & ordinary meaning / best declare intent legislator (Sussex Peerage Case)
  • offence impersonate voter /dead / not guilty (Whiteley v Chappell)
  • maintaining not repairing or relaying track / no compensation (LNER v Berriman)
  • highlights inadequate law / contract loophole / Parliament amended statute (Fisher v Bell)

Golden rule:

  • modification of literal rule / look for another meaning / avoid absurdity (Grey v Pearson)
  • narrow application: ambiguous / shall marry any other person / no bigamous marriage is lawful so bigamy is impossible / held marry means go through ceremony of marriage (Allen)
  • wider Application: unambiguous but obnoxious /son murdered mother /next of kin inherit estate (Re Sigsworth)
  • air force base / in vicinity / includes inside base itself / absurdity if literal (Adler v George)
  • words can be added to Statute / resolve obvious drafting error (Inco Europe v First Choice)
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Construction: Approaches

[Flash Card 2 of 2]

Mischief rule:

  • consider law before / identify mischief & defect / what Parliament propose to put right /what true reason for remedy (Heydon's Case 1584)
  • offence drunk in charge of a carriage /bicycle / guilty / mischief: drunks on highway (Corkery v Carpenter)
  • Political Parties, Elections & Referendums Act 2000 / CA sanction all money s58: amount equal to value of the donation / SC mischief stop foreign donors / rebut mischief not occurred / sanction only reflect fault of party: payment after found out not on register (Electoral Commission v Westminster Magistrates' Court)
  • judicial law making / Edmund-Davies: redrafting with a vengeance / Abortion Act 1967 / (Royal College of Nursing UK v DHSS)

Purposive approach:

  • modern version of mischief rule / goes further /consider believe Parliament meant to achieve / approach is the governing one (Spath Holme)
  • ECJ interpret EU law / European Communities Act 1972 courts must use purposive approach / wider social or economic aims
  • Transfer of Undertakings Regulations 1981 (SI implement Directive) / employed immediately before transfer / HoL added or would have been employed if not unfairly dismissed (Lister v Forth Dry Docks)

Human Rights Act 1998:

  • S3: so far as possible read to give effect Convention rights / S4 statement incompatibility
  • Youth Justice & Criminal Evidence Act 1999: only question rape V sexual behaviour if contemporaneous / HoL appropriate test: if questioning to obtain evidence relevant to consent / comply ECHR Article 6 fair trial (R v A)
bits of law
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