Statutory Interpretation.


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  • Created by: emma
  • Created on: 12-04-11 21:36

The definition of the Golden Rule is : Words are given their ordinary meanings unless that would result in an absurd decision which the courts feel that Parliament could not have possibly intended. It is an extension of the Literal Rule. 

The Narrow Approach - The court may only choose between the possible meanings of a word or phrase. If there is only one meaning that must be taken
An example of a case which uses the Narrow approach is :- R v Allen (1872)- 
IT WAS HELD THAT THE COURT FOUND THE MEANING OF "TO MARRY" ABSURD AND SAID THAT THE WORD "MARRY" MEANT "TO GO THROUGH A FORMAL CEREMONY OF MARRIAGE.

The Broad Approach  is the wider application where the words only have one clear meaning but that meaning would lead to a repugnant situation , i.e: the court feels that it would produce a result that should not be allowed. The Court will use the Golden Rule to modify the words of the statute in order to avoid this problem.
A case for the broad approach is shown below in:Re SIGSWORTH (1935)

Words of THE ADMINSTRATION OF ESTATES ACT 1925.
"The next of kin of a decased who has left an esate inherits that estate."

HELD- THE COURT FELT ABLE TO MODIFY THIS , WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE STATUTE ON THE GROUNDS OF PUBLIC POLICY TO PREVENT TO MURDERER BENEFITTING FROM THE FRUITS OF THE CRIME. 


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MISCHIEF RULE!

The Literal Rule and Golden Rule are concerned with finding out what Parliament said. The Mischeif Rule is applied to find out what Parliament meant.The Mischief Rule is as follows: The courts may look at the mischief that the statute was trying to prevent. In other words what was the "wrong" the statute was trying to put right. It is called the "Rule in Heydon's case" because this was the first case to use this rule in the 16th Century.

SMITH v HUGHES (1960)
Words of the STREET OFFENCES ACT 1959.
"It shall be an offence for a common prostitute to loiter or solicit in a street or public place for the purpose of prostitution."

FACTS - The case involved appeals against 6 women. In each case , the women had been inside a building adjoining a street. E,g:- on a balcony not actually on the street. However, they sought to attract the attention of men by calling or tapping on the windows and gesturing them to come inside.

The outcome of the case was found guilty under the Mischief Rule.It was HELD that Mischief appears to be prostitution on the street. Parliament has responded by making it an offence for a prostitute to loiter or solicit on the street.

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Another case is EASTBOURNE BOROUGH COUNCIL v STIRLING (2000)

FACTS- A taxi driver had his vechile parralell at a a taxi fore court outside Eastbourne Train station. The man doesn't have a license. He is charged with plying for hire in any station.

It was HELD that He would still be convicted. Although,the taxi is on private land. He is attracting trade from the street.

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