Statutory Interpretation

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  • Created by: dancgreen
  • Created on: 25-01-15 13:17
What is the Literal Rule?
- Words should be given their ordinary, dictionary meaning, with no exceptions. - Lord Esher stated in R v Judge of the City of London Court (1892) that this should be done even if it leads to a 'manifest absurdity'. - Judges who use this rule will b
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Whiteley v Chappell (1868): Facts + Ratio:
Facts: Defendant charged under a section which made it an offence to 'impersonate any person entitled to vote'. The person the defendant was pretending to be was dead, Ratio: Defendant was found not guilty; because taking it literally, a person who
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London & North Eastern Railway Co v Berriman (1946).
Facts: Railway worker killed while doing maintenance work on train tracks. His widow tried to claim compensation because there had not been a look-out man provided by the company; Fatal Accidents Act stated a look-out man should be provided if the wo
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Advantages of the literal rule:
1.) Respects Parliament's authority, so is democratic. 2.) Unelected judges are not making law. 3.) Makes the law more certain & consistent, as people know judges will apply the law exactly as it is written.
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Disadvantages of the literal rule:
1.) Assumes every Act will be perfectly drafted; this will not always be the case. It will not always be possible for an Act to cover every situation Parliament intended it to, such as with the Whiteley case. 2.) Words may have more than one meaning
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What is the golden rule?
- A modification of the literal rule. - Starts by looking at the literal meaning, but if doing this will lead to an absurd/unjust decision, the court is allowed to avoid it & can change the words of the Act if needs be. - Narrow approach = a word has
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R v Allen (1872): Facts + Ratio
Facts: Defendant charged with getting married while still married to someone else. 'Offences against the Person Act' (1861) made it an offence to 'marry' while one's original spouse was still alive and there had been no divorce. The word 'marry' has
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Re: Sigsworth (1935): Facts + Ratio
Facts: Man had murdered his mum. Mum had no will, so by law her money would automatically have been inherited by her 'issue' (according to the Administration of Justice Act 1925), AKA her son. There was no 2 ways of interpreting the words in the Act,
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Advantages of the Golden Rule:
- Helps to avoid an absurd or unjust result. - It respects the authority of Parliament except in limited situations >> provides an escape route from the literal rule. - Can provide sensible decisions in cases where the literal rule would lead to an a
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Disadvantages of the Golden Rule:
- Very limited in its use & only used on rare occasions. - Not always possible to predict when courts will use the golden rule, so lawyers could face problems advising their clients.
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The Mischief Rule- Heydon's Case (1584).
1.) what was the common law before the Act was made? 2.) what was the mischief being caused at the time that the common law did not cover? (so, someone was causing trouble but there was no law to stop it) 3.) what did Parliament do to resolve the sit
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Smith v Hughes (1960): Facts + Ratio
Facts: Section 1 of the Street Offences Act (1959) said 'it shall be an offence for a common prostitute to loiter or solicit in a street or public place for the purpose of prostitution'. None of them had exactly been 'in a street' (one on a balcony,
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Whiteley v Chappell (1868): Facts + Ratio:

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Facts: Defendant charged under a section which made it an offence to 'impersonate any person entitled to vote'. The person the defendant was pretending to be was dead, Ratio: Defendant was found not guilty; because taking it literally, a person who

Card 3

Front

London & North Eastern Railway Co v Berriman (1946).

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

Advantages of the literal rule:

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

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Disadvantages of the literal rule:

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