The Golden Rule

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  • Golden Rule
    • Explanation of the rule
      • Extension of the Literal rule which allows the court to look at the definition of a word or phrase but then avoid using it if it produces an absurdity
        • It is more versatile as it is split up into two approaches
      • The Narrow Approach: If there is more than one definition of a word, the judge can choose which one to apply, thus avoiding an absurdity.
        • Allen: Defendant had married twice without his previous marriage 'being ended by a divorce.' Ther literal definition of marry would produce an absurdity. Judges took other definition: 'marry' means 'partaking in a marriage ceremony'
      • The Broad Approach: When none of the definitions will produce a just result, judges can interpret words to give them another meaning.
        • In Adler v George, the word 'proximity' was changed to mean inside as well as around a location
      • This rule allows for judicial law making
    • Advantages and Disadvantages
      • Prevents absurd or unjust results
        • Re: Sigsworth: Defendant not receiving his mothers inheritance after he murdered her. 'Issue' taken to mean any other family member.
      • More likely than the Literal Rule to produce results that Parliament intended
      • Use of this rule is unpredictable because it is unclear what an 'absurd or unjust' result actually is
      • Too much power is given to unelected judiciary, it is not fair and is undemocratic

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