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Approaches
Approach Rules
Literal Literal
Golden
Purposive Mischief
Purposive
Except for EU law, we always start with the Literal Rule…read more

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The Literal Rule
This means that the "ordinary, natural meaning" of the
word is applied. Even if it leads to absurdity.
Positives:
Judges cannot use their own opinions
Encourages draftsmen to be accurate
Reduces Litigation (court cases)
Creates Certainty
Negatives
Creates Loopholes (e.g. Whitley v Chappell)
Assumes Legislation is perfect
Creates Awkward Precedents
Words can change meaning over time…read more

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The Golden Rule
Narrow
Happens when the literal rule produces an absurd decision
Allows the judge to substitute another reasonable meaning to
give effect to Parliaments intentions.
Positives:
Allows judges to avoid absurdities
Allows errors in drafting to be immediately corrected
Closes Loopholes
Decisions are more in line with Parliaments intentions
Negatives:
Gives excessive power to judges
Different judges will identify different absurdities
Judges have no power to intervene for pure injustice when there
is no absurdity.…read more

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The Golden
Narrow
Rule
This is where the judge clearly understands the meaning of the
word, but chooses not to apply the literal meaning as its outcome
would be repugnant.
Another clause is "read in" to give effect to the presumed intentions
of parliament.
Positives:
Allows judges to avoid absurdities
Allows errors in drafting to be immediately corrected
Closes Loopholes
Decisions are more in line with Parliaments intentions
Negatives:
Gives excessive power to judges
Different judges will identify different absurdities
Judges have no power to intervene for pure injustice when there is no
absurdity.…read more

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The Mischief Rule
Used when the literal rule would lead to an absurd result. The
mischief is the long title.
This rule allows the judge to ignore the wording of the Act, and
focus on Parliaments intentions, in order to reach the desired
outcome.
Positives:
Can help to avoid absurdity, and injustice
Most flexible of all rules
Allows the law to develop
Nearer to EU model of interpretation
Negatives
Creates a crime after the event
Infringes the Separation of the Powers
Goes against Parliamentary Sovereignty
Allows room for judges own views/opinions…read more

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