The Literal Rule.
Looks at the ordinary dictionary definition of a word in a statute, even if it creates an absurd result.
Case 1: Whitely v Chappell
States that it is an offence to impersonate any person entitled to vote. The phrase needed to be interpretated was 'entitled to vote'. As the defendent inpersonated a dead person, dead people are not entitled to vote and therefore D was found Not Guilty
Case 2: lNER v Berrimen
Mrs Berrimen's husband was killed whilst 'oiling and repairng' the track. Under the 'Fatal Accidents Act' the wife tried to claim compensation, however the Act stated that compensation was only given of the person was 'Maintaining or Relaying' the track. As Mr Berrimen was 'Oiling and Repairing' the track Mrs Berrimen was not entitled to compensation.
Ad. Promotes Parlimentary Supremacy
Quick and Easy to use as you are just looking at the Dictionary definition of a word
Provides certainty within the law
Dis.Created absurd and Unjust outcomes
Assumes unattainable perfection in draftsmenship
Doesn't allow for more than one meaning and differant interpretaions of a word.
The Golden Rule
Starts by looking at the Literal Rule, and when this creates an absurd outcome the golden rule is used to prevent this absurdity
Case 1: Narrow approach: When a word has two meanings to it the judge can choose which one to use.
R V Allen
under the Offences Against the Persons Act is in offence to 'marry' when ones original spouse is still alive. Marry had two meanings 1: to legally marry 2: Marriage Ceremony. If you take definition 1 It is impossible to legally marry more than one person therefore making the act of Bigamy impossible to committ.This would be an absurd result. Definition 2 is chosen and D is found guilty.
Case 2: Broad approach: A judge can change or add meaning to a word, but only when literal meaning of a word creates an absurd outcome.
Alder V George
charged under the Official secrets Act, it is an offense to obstruct a military person 'in the vicinity' of a prohibited place. D declared that he was not in the vivinity but actually in the building itself and was therefore not guilty. This would be absurd so the judged changed the meaning of the phrase to 'in and in the vivinity of' and D was found Guilty
Ad. Avoids absurd results
Narrow approach respects parliamentary supremacy
Allows courts to put into practice what parliament intended
Dis. Provides no clear explanation of what can be judged as an absurdity
Broad approach does not respect parliamentry supremacy