Aids to Interpretation

  • Created by: raj5009
  • Created on: 10-05-16 11:52

Intrinsic Aids

Long/Short Title: Abortion Act 1967- Explains what the Act is for

Preamble: Older statutes have this, but newer ones have a Purpose Section- Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act 2006 (need to consider climate change, viable long term energy and fuel poverty)

Schedules: Addition to main body of Act- Hunting Act 2004 Schedule 1 includes the exempt classes of hunting

Definition Section: Explains key words of Act- Law Reform (Year and a Day Rule) Act 1996 defines a fatal offence

Punctuation: Affects the meaning of words- Lord Lowry in Hanlon- 'why shouldnt judges look at the punctuation in order to interpret meaning'

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Extrinsic Aids

Dictionaries: Vaughn v Vaughn- looked up 'molest', included pestering

Previous Acts: Wheatley used Explosive Substances Act 1875 because the 1883 Act was unclear

Interpretation Act 1978: Masculine includes feminine and singular includes plural

Reports of Law Reform Bodies: Higlight what is wrong with the Acts

Explanatory notes: Since 1999, government departments have written these after Royal Assent is recieved

Textbooks: Smith and Hogan for criminal law


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Extrinsic Aids (2)

Hansard: An official report of what is said in Parliament, before 1992 it couldnt be used but Lord Denning campaigned in Davis v Johnson that it should. Pepper v Hart: Hansard showed that Act should be interpreted in favour of the tax payer because there was an issue about which part tax should be payed on Only certain circumstances can it be used:

  • if legislation is ambiguous or obscure or leads to an absurdity
  • where a statement has been made by minister or promoter of bill
  • if this statement is clear in its meaning


  • debate could also be unclear and bias
  • spend many hours examining it
  • contrary to parliamentary privilege

International treaties: Garland v BREL- looked at both Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and the Treaty of Rome so see if she was entitled to her privileges, she won the appeal because Treaty of Rome said 'any other consideration'.

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