Statutory Interpretation

Rules of Language

HideShow resource information

The ejusdem generis rule

Under this rule, where general words follow particular words, the general words are interpreted to be of the same kind as the particular words. For example, in the phrase 'dogs, cats and other animals', the particular words are 'dogs' and 'cats'. The general words are 'other animals'. Under the ejusdem rule the general wors would be interpreted in line with theparticular words. Therefore, since dogs and cats are domestic animlas, then the general words of 'other animals' would be interpreted to mean oher domestic animals.

1 of 6

Application of ejusdem generis rule

In Powell v Kempton Park Race Course (1899), the D company klept an open-air enclosure reserved for bookmakers. Under a Regulation it was prohibited to keep a 'house, office or other place' for betting purposes. The court applied the ejusdem generis rule and held the defendant was not liable because his open-air enclosure was not a covered place. The general words of 'other place' referred to covered places, since the places specifically mentioned, that is 'house' and 'office' are covered places.

2 of 6

Expressio unius est exclusion alterius

Translated, this means the expression of one thing implies the exclusion of another. Where particular words are used and these are not followed by general words, the Act applies only to the instances specified (the particular word).

3 of 6

Application of expressio unius est exclusio alteri

In Inhabitants of Sedgley (1837) rates were charged on 'lnad, titles and coal mines.' herefore rates could not be charged on any mine other than coal mines.

4 of 6

Nscitur a sociis

Under this 'rule' the meaning of a word is to be gthered from the context in which it is written. For example, the Refreshment Houses Act 1860 stated that all houses, rooms, shops or buildings kept open for 'entertainment' during certain hours of the night must be licensed.

5 of 6

Application of noscitur a sociis

In Muir v Keay (1975) the D kept his cafe open to the public during the night without a licence. The court applied the noscitur a sociis rule and held that 'entertainment' in the context of the Act did not mean only musical or theatrical entertainment, but meant other forms of enjoyment, such as drinking coffee late at night. Therefore the D had committed an offence under the Act.

6 of 6


No comments have yet been made

Similar Law resources:

See all Law resources »See all Statutory interpretation resources »