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Legal System | Statutory Interpretation

Rules of Language: Evaluation

Model Answer | A Level

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Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the rules of language

Use of the ejusdem and nosictur rules leaves room for judicial development of the law, which can be seen as judicial law making and in conflict with the doctrine of Parliamentary sovereignty. However, use of the expressio rule respects the separation of powers principle as the law is applied as Parliament has explicitly written it.

The use of the ejusdem and nosictur rules means no exhaustive list is needed so it can make drafting simpler and leaves room for interpretation. However with the expressio rule a finite list is provided which makes the outcome predictable and legal advice more effective. Some could argue this is rigid and inflexible approach and creates the need for impossibly perfect drafting or can lead to an unjust result.

Ejusdem rule can make Acts unpredictable and so creates uncertainty in the law. For example in Kihara, a case about housing, priority was given to those who were vulnerable due to old age, mental illness or physical disability or other special reason, it was held that financial hardship could considered even though the other categories seemed more related to bodily frailty.

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