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The Literal Rule
O This rule requires judges to give a the
word/phrase its ordinary, dictionary
meaning. As Lord Reid said, "... what is the
natural and ordinary meaning of the of that
word or phrase in its context in the statute."…read more

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The Literal Rule
O Absurd Results:
O Whitely v Chappell
O Berriman - Under the Fatal Accidents Act a
lookout had to be provided when the train track
was being relayed and repaired. As Mr Berriman
died while maintaining not relaying or repairing
the track, Mrs Berriman was awarded no
compensation.
O On the other hand, application of the literal rule
maintains Parliamentary sovereignty, and
upholds them as the supreme law makers.…read more

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The Golden Rule
O The Golden Rule is an extension of the literal
rule, and allows judges to look at the literal
meaning of a word/phrase, and then avoid
using it if it would produce an absurd result.
O It has two approaches:
O Narrow Approach
O Broad Approach…read more

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The Golden Rule ­ Narrow
Approach
O Where a word or phrase is capable of more than
one meaning, the court chooses that which
would avoid an absurdity.
O R v Allen ­ Under the OAPA 1861, "Whosoever,
being married, shall marry another person...
shall be guilty of a felony." So when the D
claimed it was not possible, by definition, to
marry twice, the court decided to use the golden
rule to take the meaning of the word `marry' to
mean go through a ceremony of marriage,
making the offence possible.…read more

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The Golden Rule ­ Broad
Approach
O Where a word has only one literal meaning,
although application of it would result in
absurdity, the court can modify the meaning of
the word
O Adler v George ­ Official Secrets Act 1920, a
defendant was charged with obstructing a
member of the armed forces `...in the vicinity of
a prohibited place'. As the D was actually in the
place, taking the words literal meaning would
give an absurd result, so the meaning was
modfied.…read more

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