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Legal System | Statutory Interpretation

Purposive Approach: Introduction

Model Answer | A Level

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Describe what is meant by the purposive approach

The purposive approach can be seen as the modern version of the mischief rule. It goes further than the mischief rule to consider what judges believe Parliament meant to achieve. In Notham v London Borough of Barnet Lord Denning said the purposive approach will .. promote the general legislative purpose underlying the provisions.... It is generally accepted the distinction between these approaches is a technicality.

The purposive approach is used by most European countries and European Court of Justice in interpreting EU law. In Pepper v Hart Lord Browne-Wilkinson noted ..the purposive approach to construction now adopted by the courts in order to give effect to the true intentions of the legislature..... Lord Cooke said the purposive approach the governing one ... (Spath Holme).

In Bentham, the defendant pointed his finger, covered by his jacket at victim and demanded every penny in the house. The victim believed his fingers were a gun. Using the purposive approach, it was held the Firearms Act 1968 intended to protect against fear of a gun so he was found guilty.

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