The Purposive Approach

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  • Purposive Approach
    • Explanation of the Approach
      • Tries to look at the actual intentions of Parliament, instead of just the gap they were trying to fill when they passed the Act
      • Hansard: Used since Pepper v Hart to gain knowledge on Parliamentary debates surrounding a specific Act
      • The HRA: Sees how Acts comply with the ECHR when interpreting them
      • More Acts are now drafted in broader terms because of the EU. Treaties, etc require a different mode of interpretation meaning it is used much more often
      • Jones v Tower Boot Co: Employers are liable for abuse 'in the course of their employment', purposive approach applied and found his employers liable
    • Advantages and Disadvantages
      • Brings us into line with our European counterparts
      • More likely to give effect to the actual intentions of Parliament
        • Coltman v Bibby Tankers: distinguishing a ship as equipment to find employers liable for his death
      • Too much power given to unelected judiciary
        • Can overstep their mark, for example in Fitzpatrick v Sterling Housing Asso, ltd, judges interpreted the word 'family' to include homosexual couples - despite the fact this was a matter of public concern
      • Can account for changes in new technology as it uses broader terms. For example in Quintavalle v SOS where the word 'embryo' was in question

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