The Literal Rule
Ordinary, dictionary meaning of words
LNER v Berriman
Fatal Accidents Act 1846
'Relaying and repairing' not maintaining
DPP v Cheeseman
Town Police Clauses Act 1847
'Passengers' police didn't count as passengers because they weren't there for the toilets ordinary use or just passing through
Whitely v Chappel
'Entitled to vote' A dead person isn't entitled to vote
The Golden Rule
Start with literal meaning and then can avoid absurdity
Narrow R v Allen
Marry: either to go through a marriage ceremony or to be legally married. Had to choose first or bigamy wouldn't be a crime
Broad Adler v George
Official Secrets Act 1920
'In the vicinity' He was in the area, not near it. Statute changed to 'in or in the vicinity'
Administrations of Estates Act 1925
Anyone wouldn't be entitled to the estate of whom they killed
The Mischief Rule
Interpreting the Act by seeing what problem Parliament wanted to solve
Heydon's Case- Judges must answer the four questions:
1. What was the law before the statute?
2. What problem did this not stop?
3. What is the solution that the statute gives?
4. Why has the new statute been made?
Hughes v Smith
Street Offences Act 1959
'street or public place'. Although they were in a private house, the Act intended for prostitutes to stop molesting men who were in the street.
The Mischief Rule
Royal College of Nursing v DHSS
Abortion Act 1967
'terminated by a registered medical practitioner' Nurses did count because Parliament intended to stop illegal abortions being carried out which was killing the mothers.
Corkery v Carpenter
Lisencing Act 1872
'Being drunk on a highway in charge of a carriage'
A bike did count because Parliament intended to decrease the use of transport whilst drunk on a highway to avoid accidents.
The Purposive Approach
Interpreting Parliament's intentions for the future
Jones v Tower Boot Company
Race Relations Act 1972
'Course of employment'. Being whipped and burned were not tasks part of your job but Parliament's intentions were to premote equality and prevent abuse in the workplace.
R v Registrar-Genera ex parte Smith
Adoption Act 1976
'Shall supply' Might have tracked down his biological mother and harmed her. Parliament did not intend to premote harm so didn't supply him.
Short title eg. Fatal Accidents Act 1846
Headings such as definitions of crime
Definition Section to clear up ambiguity and help statute be interpreted correctly.
Oxford v Moss: Theft Act 1968 - 'all money and property' Definition section said knowledge was not property. D not guilty
Marginal notes give guidance
Rules of Language
Ejusdem Generis- Things of the same kind
Powell v Kempton Park Racecourse
'House, office, room or other place' Anywhere outside did not count
Nocitur sociis- A word is known by the company it keeps
Inland Revenue Commissioners V Frere
'Interest, annuities or other annual interest'
Under annual so income couldn't be deducted and he had to pay tax
Expressio usis- Expressing one thing cancels another
Tempest v Kilner
'Good, wares, merchandise' Didn't say stocks and share so no written contract required
Hansard: A printed record of all debates in Parliament which helps judges to identify P's intentions
Pepper v Hart (overruled Davis v Johnson) set 3 circumstances that Hansard could be used:
1. Words in the Act are ambiguous, uncertain or absurd
2. The MP in charge of the Act has made a statement
3. This statement clears up the absudity or uncertainty
Oxford Dictionary from the year of the statute.
DPP v Cheeseman. Used Oxford Dictionary from 1847, same as Town Police Clauses Act
Interpretation Act 1978 eg. The word 'he' also refers to 'she'