Intrinsic and Extrinsic Aids

Notes on the intrinsic and extrinsic aids of statutory Interpretation

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  • Created by: Jem
  • Created on: 28-05-12 20:20

Intrinsic Aids: Rules of Language

·        Esjudem Generis: A general word following specific terms will have a meaning of the same kind

·        Expressio Unius est Exclutio Alterius: Where an Act mentions a specific word it implies the exclusion of all others, e.g Persian cats

·        Noscitur a Sociis: A word drawing meaning from the other words around it.  The word doesn’t have a wide meaning, it is more specific.

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Extrinsic Aids

·        Historical Setting: A judge takes into account the period the statute was passed in.

·        Reports: Legislation may be preceded by a report, by advisory committees, e.g  Royal Commissions, The Law Commission.  The Black-Clawson International Ltd case established that an official report can be considered as evidence of the pre-existing state of the law, as well as the mischief being dealt with by the law.

·        Treaties: Judges consider the UK’s commitment to EU law, and assumes a law won’t conflict with it.

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Extrinsic Aids

·        Interpretation Act 1978: This Act sets out the basic principles on the meaning of common words in statutes.  The states that the masculine of ‘he’ can also mean ‘she’ and as well as the plural ‘they’.

·        Hansard: This is a daily report of Parliamentary debates and a record of what is said by MPs.  In the Davis v Johnson: established the rule court is unable to use Hansard.  But, in the Pepper v Hart case the rule is relaxed.  Lord Browne-Wilkinson set out conditions that must be met for Hansard to be used:

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Conditions to be met in Using Hansard

§  The statute is ambiguous, obscure or leads to an absurdity.

§  The Hansard that is used is made up of one or more statements by a minister or other promoter of the bill in question as well as, if necessary, other Parliamentary material to aid understanding of the statements and their effect.

§  The statements relied on are clear.

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