Statutory Interpretation - Rules of language

The rules of language used to interpret statutes/Acts made by Parliament

  • Created by: Shahnee
  • Created on: 28-11-13 05:56

The Ejusdem Generis Rule

The Ejusdem Generis Rule (Same kind/class' rule(

When general words follow specific ones, the general words are limited to the same kind of items as the specific ones. "Chair, stool, bench and other items", Other items would be seating related. There must be at least two items before the general term.


  • Flexibilty or judical creativity and keeping up to date


  • Undermines Parliamentary Sovereignty
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The Ejusdem Generis Rule - Case List

Powell v Kempton Park Racecourse [1899] - Offence to use house, office, room or other place for betting. (All indoors, racecourse is outdoors)

Wood v Metropolitan Police Commissioner - Vagrancy Act 1824. Offence to be in possession of any gun, pistol, hanger, cutlass, bludgeon or any other offensive weapon. (All made or adapted for causing injury. Broken glass doesn't come into the category)

Re Stockport, Industrial & Reformatory Schools - "Cathedral, collegiates, chapter and other schools". (Other schools limited to them of the same kind)

Allen v Emerson - "Theatre or other place of public entertainment" need a licence. (One specific item so rule could not be used)

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The Expressio Unius Exclusivo Alterius Rule

The Expressio Unius Exclusivo Alterius Rule ( Express rule)

Specific words not followed by general term, then statute only applies to the specific words used.


  • Upholds Parliamentary sovereignty
  • Uncontroversial


  • Lack of flexibility
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The Expressio Unius Exclusivo Alterius Rule - Case

Tempest v Kilner - "goods, wares and merchandise" (Specific words didn't apply to stocks and shares)

R v Inhabitants of Sedgley 1831 - "Coal mines" (statute doesn't apply to other kind of mines)

R v Harris - Restrictions of Offensive Weapons Act, "stab, cut or wound" (statute doesn't apply to bite) 

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The Noscitur Sociis Rule

The Noscitur Sociis Rule ( Read words in context)

Look at the words around words to find the true meaning.


  • Flexibilty
  • Judicial creativity
  • Keeps law up to date


  • Undermines Parliamentary Sovereignty
  • Overly complex
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The Noscitur Sociis Rule - Case List

Bromley LBC v Greater London Council - Operate a cheaper fare scheme which would result in a loss as taxation would cover costs. Meaning of "economic" in its context meant transport scheme couldn't be run at a loss, must be run at a profit.

Muir v Keay - Houses kept open for "public refreshment, resort and entertainment" had to be licenced. "Entertainment" in it's context didn't just mean musical or theatrical therefore D needed a licence.

Inland Revenue Commissioners v Frere - Act referred to "interest, annuities or other annual interest". "Interest" in its context meant annual not daily, monthly or weekly.

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Smith E


You need to at least understand the use of latin in this context and these cards go some way towards helping you achieve this. The list of cases on page 4 is impressive.



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That's right

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