The Literal Rule


The Literal


  • Follows the words that parliament has used
  • Judges have to follow exactly what has been written which means they must look at the law in a completely unbiased way
  • Makes the law more certain as it is interpreted word for word as it is written
  • It is easier for people to know what the law is and how judges will apply it.


  • Assumes every act will be perfectly drafted when it is not possible for an Act to cover every situation that could occur
  • Words may have more than one meaning which makes it unclear as to what the Act is actually trying to say
  • Following the Act word for word can lead to unjust or absurd results


Michael Zander has denounced as being mechanical and divorced from the realities of the use of language. It seems very robotic as there is no room for flexibility, therefore. Can create some very absurd results that seem unfair ( North Eastern Railway Co. v Berriman 1946) but this can also be an advantage as it minimises bias verdicts.Although there are more advantages, the importance Of the disadvantages, especially when backed up with cases seems to out way the advantages.


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