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What is Statutory
Interpretation?
The process of determining the meaning
of words in an unclear act or statute:
this is one of the ways in which judges
make law.…read more

Slide 3

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Why is Statutory
Interpretation needed?
In passing an act, it is impossible for
parliament to foresee every situation
which may occur.
Words change meaning over time (e.g.
Gay)
New Situations Arise (e.g. Telegraph Act
1949 with regards to mobile phones)
Cultural and Social Changes occur (e.g.
R v Dica 2004 with regards to Offences
against the person act 1861)…read more

Slide 4

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Approaches the Statutory
Interpretation
There are three main rules and a more
modern approach which a judge can use
when interpreting an act/statute.
There are also the common
presumptions, rules of language and
various intrinsic and extrinsic aids.…read more

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The Literal Rule
This is where a judge takes the wording
as it was written- even if this causes an
absurd decision.
One advantage of this approach is its
respect for parliamentary supremacy.
For example:
Whiteley v Chappell (1868)
London and NE Railway v Berriman (1946)
R v Reynolds (1981)…read more

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The Golden Rule
Only used by judges who first used the
Literal Rule; it is to correct an absurd
decision (one which parliament would
not have intended)
This rights the wrongs of the literal rule;
but there is scope for too much judicial
creativity.
For example:
R v Allen (1872)
Ruther v Harris (1861)
R v Pawlicki (1992)…read more

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