The Purposive Approach

  • Created by: _laurenb
  • Created on: 19-05-15 20:01

The Purposive Approach


  • judges interpret an act depending on what they believe Parliament meant to achieve through that act
1 of 5

The Purposive Approach



  • Smith was adopted
  • he was mentally ill and had commited 2 murders
  • within the Adoption Act 1976, it was stated that a person should have access to his birth certificate
  • this would have allowed Smith access to his biological parents
  • as Smith had mental issues and a serious criminal history, he may have harmed these biological parents
  • judges decided that it was not the intention of Parliament to pose a risk to the biological parents of adopted children
  • Smith was not granted access to his birth certificate
2 of 5

The Purposive Approach



  • the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 states that an 'embryo means a live human embryo where fertilisation is complete'
  • this was made at a time where IVF was the only treatment available for infertility
  • the court had to decide if this applied to embryos produced by cell nuclear replacement (CNR)
  • this was a treatment that was not present when the act was made
  • it was decided that parliament cannot have intended to distinguish between embryos produced by IVF and CNR
  • the words of the act were applied to embryos created by CNR
3 of 5

The Purposive Approach


  • it looks at the intention of Parliament when making Acts
  • it makes sense to look at these intentions as these are why the acts were intitally made
  • allows judges to use their experience and common sense
  • allows judges to consider social and technological changes 
  • avoids an absurd outcome 
4 of 5

The Purposive Approach


  • finding the intentions of Parliament can be hard
  • risk of judicial law-making from judges who have not been elected to make laws
  • may cause uncertainty in law as words are not interpreted in the way they are written
  • its use is inconsistent
  • its use is unpredictable
5 of 5


No comments have yet been made

Similar Law resources:

See all Law resources »See all Statutory Interpretation resources »