The Literal Rule

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  • Created by: _laurenb
  • Created on: 19-05-15 15:44

The Literal Approach - The Literal Rule

DEFINITION

  • words are given their plain, ordinary, dictionary meaning
  • used despite the fact it may lead to an absurd outcome
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The Literal Approach - The Literal Rule

CASES

WHITELEY V CHAPPELL

  • man pretended to be someone else in order to vote
  • it was illegal to impersonate 'anyone entitled to vote'
  • he argued that the individual was dead and so had no entitlement
  • he was found not guilty

LONDON & NORTH EAST RAILWAY CO. V BERRIMAN

  • man killed whilst reoiling railway tracks without a look-out man
  • under the Fatal Accidents Act, it was stated to be illegal for a worker to not have a look-out man when 'relaying or repairing' tracks
  • the man was not 'relaying' and not 'repairing'
  • compensation was not granted to his widow
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The Literal Approach - The Literal Rule

ADVANTAGES

  • respects parliament by using the exact words they have written
  • prevents judicial law-making
  • prevents confusion
  • decisions can be made quickly
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The Literal Approach - The Literal Rule

DISADVANTAGES

  • wording may be ambigious
  • can result in an absurd outcome as seen in LNER V Berriman & Whiteley V Chappell
  • judges cannot use their common sense
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