The Rules of Language

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  • Created on: 19-05-15 18:20

The Rules of Language

THE RULES OF LANGUAGE

  • these are used to allow judges to look at other words within the Act
  • in doing so, they can understand the meaning of a particular phrase or word that causes uncertainty
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The Rules of Language

ejusdem generis

'of the same kind'

in a list, general words which follow specific words are limited to the same type as the specific words

e.g. 'dogs, cats and other animals'

'other animals' must refer to household pets as has been referred to with 'dogs, cats'

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The Rules of Language

ejusdem generis

CASE

Hobbs v CG Robertson Ltd

  • a workman was not issued with goggles
  • removed a brick which splintered and injured his eye
  • he aimed to claim compensation under the Construction Regulations 1961
  • this states that goggles are needed when 'breaking, cutting, dressing or carving' 'stone, concrete, **** or similar materials'
  • using the ejusdem generis rule, it was decided that brick was not a 'similar material' to 'stone, concrete, ****'
  • the workman did not gain compensation
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The Rules of Language

ejusdem generis

CASE

Hobbs v CG Robertson Ltd

  • a workman was not issued with goggles
  • removed a brick which splintered and injured his eye
  • he aimed to claim compensation under the Construction Regulations 1961
  • this states that goggles are needed when 'breaking, cutting, dressing or carving' 'stone, concrete, **** or similar materials'
  • using the ejusdem generis rule, it was decided that brick was not a 'similar material' to 'stone, concrete, ****'
  • the workman did not gain compensation
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The Rules of Language

expressio unius est exclusio alterius

CASE

Tempest V Kilner

  • an act stated that sales of 'goods, wares and merchandise' of over £10 must be evidenced
  • a company did not evidence the sale of 'stocks and shares' which generated over £10
  • it was decided that the express mention of 'good, wares and merchandise' excluded 'stocks and shares'
  • the defendant(s) was not found liable for the crime
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The Rules of Language

noscitur a sociis

a word is known by the company is keeps

'a word gains meaning from the words around it'

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The Rules of Language

noscitur a sociis

CASE

Inland Revenue Commissioners V Frere

  • here, a statute referred to 'interest, annuties and other annual interest'
  • there was uncertainty about whether 'interest' referred to daily, monthly, quarterly or annual interest
  • it was decided that it gained meaning from 'annuties' and 'annual interest' which both referred to annually
  • 'interest' was interpreted to mean 'annual interest'
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