The Mischief Rule

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  • The Mischief Rule
    • Advanatages
      • It gives the effect to the parliaments intentions
        • It allows the judges to be able to consider any social and technological changes
          • It allows the judges to be able to use any of their common sense and this will be able to save the parliaments time
    • Dis-advanatges
      • It is tolerable to argue that what the parliament have intended can only be seen in what is actually wrote in the act.
        • Finding out the intention of the act can be difficult as it is not always stated.
          • Judges may use their own views on how the law should  cure a mischief.
            • They can change the meaning of what an act says.
    • The judge will look at the reasons for the act and what the problem or 'mischief' and when the law was intended to remedy. When the court apply the mischief rule, they have to consider;
      • What was the common law before making the Act?
      • What was the mischief and problem in which the common law didn't provide ?
      • And what was the remedy for the parliament to passed to cure the mischief
    • Royal College of Nursing V DSS
      • What was the phrase that needed interpreting?  Offences against the persons act 1861 to make it an offence for anyone to carry out an abortion. Abortion ac 1967 would be absolute defence for medically practioners ( doctor) to carry out anaborton.
        • Was there a possible literal meaning?   They would be guilty under the literal rule as a nurse and not a doctor.
          • What did the Lords decidewas themschief or the problem the statute was trying to remedy? The act was aimed at reducing back street abortions, not medical care,
            • What was the outcome? Legal for the nurses for them to carry out abortions. but they were found not guilty under the mischief rule.
    • Smith V Hughes 1969
      • What was the phrase that needed interpreting?section 1 of the street offence act 1959. Which makes it an ffence to solciting in public areas.
        • Was there a possible literal meaning?  was that they wiyld not be guilry under the literal rule.
          • What did the Lords decide was the mischief or the problem that statute was trying to remedy?  Soliciting from a house. The act was aimed to clean the streets.
            • What was the outcome?  They were arrested and charged guilty under the mischief rule.


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