The Literal Rule
- Takes the everyday ordinary dictionary meaning of a word/phrase
- may lead to absurd results
Fisher V Bell
- D displays flick knife in shop window contray to the offensive weapons Act says you cannot offer for sale of such weapon.
- Contract Law says that a shop display is not an offer for sale but an invitation to treat
- D IS NOT GUILTY!!!
Whiteley V Chapell
- Illegal impersonate anybody entitled to vote in an election
- D votes in the name of a deceased person
- Interpreting literally, dead people cannot vote.
- D IS FOUND NOT GUILTY.
The Golden Rule
- Extension of the Literal Rule
- Avoids Absurbd results
- Two approaches: Narrow+Broad
- Word or phrase has more than one meaning so Judges select meaning that avoids absurd result.
- Allen (1872)
- llegal to remarry without the first marriage to be ended (divorced) (OAPA S.57)
- D tries to marry niece of his first wife without being divorced. So 2nd marriage not void
- Courts said "Shall Marry" is to go through with a marriage ceremony which Allen had done.
- ALLEN IS FOUND GUILTY!!!!!!
- Only one meaning of a word/phrase but to apply it would cause an absurd result so Judges modify the meaning to avoid absurdity.
- Adler V George
- D obstructs member of Armed forces in the vicinity of a prohibited area.
- D says he cannot be guilty as he is in the prohibited area and not the vicinity.
- Under the Literal rule D would be found Not Guilty.
- Under the Golden rule Judges interpreted in the vicinity to include the prohibited area. D IS FOUND GUILTY
The Mischief Rule
- Looks at the gap in the law that parliament felt it necessary to fill by passing an Act/Statute.
- Heydons case (1584) sets out four things to consider:
1- What was the common law before the Act was passed?
2- What was the defect/mischief that the law did not provide a remedy for?
3- What remedy does the Act attempt to provide?
4- What was the true reason for the remedy?
Smith V Hughes:
- Ilegal to solicit in a public place (Street offences Act)
- D solicits from a private property window
- D IS FOUND GUILTY
- Parliament intended to stop soliciting all together by passing the Act, therefore it did not matter where the soliciting took place.
The Purposive Approach
- Focuses on what Parliament intended when passing the new law
- looks at the Act as a whole piece of legislation
- consistent with EU Law
- Jones V Tower Boot
- Court had decided whether the verbal racial abuse of an employee was the employers responsibility (if it fell within "course of the employer" S.32 Race Relations Act)
- The Act was to eliminate racial discrimination in the work place, so EMPLOYER IS FOUND LIABLE
- Everything found inside the Act
- Long/Short Title (Checking the Abortion Act to determin who could legally conduct Abortions)
- Preamble- A statement explaining the purpose of the Act
- Scheduels- referred to make sense of main text
- Interpretation sections- explaning key words
- Punctuation- have an effect on how the meaning of words can be interpreted.
- Everything found outside an Act
- Dictionaires- Vaughn V Vaughn- check the definition of the word molest
- Previous Acts- maybe referred to (Wheatley)- Explosive Substances Act
- Interpretation Act- provides deifinitions of words often used in Acts (He is to include she)
- Reports from Law commissons- Black Clawson- highlight what is wrong with the old law and suggest options.
- Text Books- referred to on guidance of meanings of word/phrase (Re Castioni)
- Hansard- Recording of Parliament debates
Ejusdem Generis Rule
- Where General words follow particular words when general words are the same type as particular words.
- Powell V Kempton Park Race Course
- D bets in an open air enclosure
- Illegal to bet in house, office and room or other place.
- House, office and Room are particular words & other place are general words so you presume other place to include four walls and a roof.
- Expression of one thing implies the exlcusion of another.
- Inhabitants of Sedley
- Rates could be charged on Land, Titles and Coal mines. This implies anyother mine (ie gold mine) could not be charged a rate.
- Take the meaning of the words from the context in which it is written
- Muir V Keay
- To stay open late hours for entertainment purposes a lisence is needed
- D kept his cafe open at night for public without license
- Entertainment did not necesseraly mean music or theatre, it could include drinking coffee late at night
- D IS FOUND GUILTY.
Advantages/Disadvantages of Literal Rule
- Democratic- Leaves Law making to Parliament (The elected body)
- Respects Parliament Sovereingty- Parliament is the highest Law maker in the Land
- Produces absurd results- Whiteley V Chapell
- Produces unjust results- London& NE Railway V Berriman
- Does not always give affect to Parliaments intentions
- Might be more than one dictionary meaning
- presumes draftsmen always do their job properly
Advantages/Disadvantages of Golden Rule
- Prevents absurd/unjust outcomes (Re Sigworth)
- More likely to result in what Parliament intended compared to the Literal Rule
- No clear definition of what an absurd result it
- Michael Zander described it as a "feeable parachuet" Escaping the problems of the literal rule, though the golden rule is still limited
- Undemocratic- unelected judges can modify the law
Advantages/Disadvantages of mischief Rule
- Avoids Absurd and unjust results
- preferred approach by the Law commissions- they have lots of knowledge and expertise in the field of law- said it was a "rather more satisfactory approach"
- premotes flexibility- allows judges to decide on what parliament intended
- Too much power to unelected judges- undemocratic- judges interpret what Parliament thinks not what the law actually says
- Out of date- Heydons case dates back to 1584- hard to incorporate law from then into a modern society.
- Not always easy to identify the mischief
Advantages/Disadvantages of Purposive Approach
- Consistent with Eu- brings the UK more into line with other European countries.
- More likely to give affect to Parliaments intentions-
- Lord Denning prefers the approach and said: prefers it as it is not destructive analysis- meaning the purposive approach does not critise the law and its makers, but rather finds the intentions of that law and implies it.
- Too much power to unelected Judges- undemocratic- Judges are left to interpret what they think Parliament intended rather than what the law acutally says
- Judges decisions can be based on public policy- this should be left to Parliament