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To interpretation are found within the Act itself. Jusge may use other parts of
the Act to understand the meaning of the word or phrase in question
Long and or/short title of the Act
The long title of the Abortion Act 1967 is "An Act to amend and clarify
the relating to termination of pregnancy by registered medical
practitioners" This was referred to by 4/5 Law Lords who heard the
appeal Royal College of Nursing of the UK v DHSS 1981
Preamble in Older Statutes
statement preceding the main body of the Act, setting out the purpose
if the Act in detail
Newer Acts may contain an objectives or purposes section at the
beginning of the Act
e.g. Climate Change and Sustainable Energery Act 2006
Schedules appear as additions to the main body of the Act
Can be referred to in order to make some sense of the main text
e.g. s2(1) of the Hunting Act 2004 provides "Hunting is exempt if it is withing
class specified in Schedule 1" The exempt classes of hunting are then
specified in Schedule 1
Most modern acts contain a special interpretation definition section,
explain the meaning of key words in act
Law Reform (Year and a Day Rule) Act 1996 defines fatal as
a) murder, manslaughter, infanticide or any other offence of which of the
elements is causing a persons death, or
b) the offence of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring a persons

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Punctuation is now recognised to have an effect on the meaning of
words and can be taken into account in determining the meaning of
statutory provisions
Hanlon v The Law Society (1981):"Why should not literate people,
such as judges, look at the punctuation in order to interpret the
meaning of the legislation as accepted by parliament"
Long/Short titles are limited of use, but the long title in
particular may remind the court of what the Act is trying
to achieve.…read more

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Dictionaries can be used to find the literal meaning
Vaughan v Vaughan (1973), interpret the word "molest". Judges consulted
the dictionary which defined "molest" as to "cause trouble, vex, annoy, or
put to inconvenience" held that the Ds behaviour did amount to molestation
Previous Acts may be referred to
Wheatley (1979) CoA had to interpret the provisions of the Explosive
Substances Act 1883.…read more

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General rules words follow particular words, the general words are
interpreted to be of the same kind as the particular words
e.g. in the phrase "dogs, cats and other animals", the particular words
"dogs" and "cats", the general words are "other animals".
Under this rule the general words would be interpreted in line with the
particular words.…read more

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Expressio Unius Est Exclusion Alterius
Translated "the expression of one thing implies the exclusion of another,
where particular words are used and these are not followed by general words,
the Act applied only to the instances specified (the particular words)
e.g. Inhabitants of Sedgley (1837) rates were charged on "land , titles and
coal mines".…read more


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