Statutory Interpretation

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  • Created by: charlotte
  • Created on: 29-12-10 17:23

Statutory Interpretation; the way in which judges decide to apply the

Why needed?

A broad term;

  • words that cover possibilities,
  • problems of understanding.


  • Words with two meanings,
  • which should be used?

A Drafting Error;

  • Errors in bills,
  • unnoticed by Parliament,
  • likely to occur when Bill's amended many times.

New developments;

  • New technology,
  • not covering a situation.

Change of language;

  • Word meanings change.

Literal Rule.

  • Primary rule.
  • Precedent over others.
  • Words of the statute literally.
  • Given natural or ordinary meaning.


  • Law stays clear.
  • Consistent.


  • Absurd & unjust results.


R v Harris 18 36.

  • Bit off victims nose.
  • "stab, cut or wound".
  • Biting wasn't within meaning.
  • Weapon had to be used.
  • Not guilty.

London & North Eastern Railway v Berriman 19 46.

  • Oiling Railway track.
  • No look out provided.
  • "relaying & repairing".
  • Failed to claim compensation.

Golden Rule.

  • Literal…


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