Statutory Interpretation

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Statutory Interpretation

Need for Statutory Interpretation:In many cases which come before courts there is a dispute over the meaning of an Act of Parliament  in these cases its the courts job to decide the meaning of a particular word or phrase. There are many reasons for this such as: A broad term, Ambiguity, A drafting error, New developments, Changes in the use of language.

Literal Approach: Approaching problems of statutory interpretation by taking the words at their face value - case example: Fisher v Bell (1960)

Purposive Approach: looking at the reasons a law was passed and interpreting the words accordingly - case example: R v Registar-General, ex parte Smith (1990)

Literal rule: Words given ordinary, plain, grammatical meaning - case example: Whiteley v Chappell (1868)

Golden Rule: Avoids absurd or repugnant situations - case example: R v Allen (1872)

Mischief Rule: Looks at the gap in the previous law and interprets the words 'to advance the remedy' - case example: Smith v Hughes (1960)

Ejusdem generis: General words which follow a list are limited to the same kind - case example: Powell v Kempton Park (1899)

Expresio unius: The express mention of one thing excludes others - case example: Tempest v Kilner (1846)

Noscitur a sociis: A word is known by the company it keeps - case example: IRC v Frere (1965)

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