Rules of language

Judges use the rules of lang to help them an act of parliament does or doesnt cover.

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  • Created by: Nikita
  • Created on: 04-04-13 11:26

Ejusdem generis

The use of a general term at the end of a list which takes its meaning from the words surrounding it. 

Example: (Re Stockport Ragged, Industrial and Reformatroy Schools) decided other schools was limited to church schools as all the other schools listed were church schools.

Strength: Draftsman doesnt have to write a detailed list and the act can cover circumstances not foreseen by parliament.

Weakness: Makes cases unpredictable as theact doesnt specify what can be included.

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Noscitur a sociis

A word can be interpreted by the context of the act as a whole.

Example: (Muir v Keay) the court decided “entertainment” did not mean musical entertainment but the reception and accommodation of people.

Strength: Law is flexible, no need for draftsman to foresee every circumstance.

Weakness: Allows judicial law making and is undemocratic.

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Expression unius est exclusio alterious

A completed list, which cannot be added to with no general term at the end.

Example: (R v Inhabitants of Sedgley) use of the words ‘lands, houses and coalmines’ excluded application to other types of mine.

Strength: Cases are more predictable and judges have less scope to change the law.

Weakness: Inflexible, no scope for act to change and develop to new circumstances.

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