Statutory Interpretation

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What are the four rules to interpreting statutes?
Literal, Golden, Mischief and Purposive Approach
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What is the Literal Rule?
Applying the plain, ordinary and grammatical definition of a word (Pinner V Everett)
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Case examples of Literal Application?
Berriman - train case Fisher V Bell - flick knives
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Advantages of the Literal Rule?
Limited judges role, Parl sovereignty is respected, consistent and predictable law
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Disadvantages of the Literal Rule
Leads to AIR outcomes, assumes perfection of Parl draftsmen, if there is more than one dictionary definition of a word then this rule is useless
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What is the Golden Rule?
Using the Literal rule unless it would lead to an AIR outcome. There are two applications of it - narrow and wide
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Describe the Wide Application to the Golden Rule
If the words or phrase has only one literal meaning that would still lead to an AIR outcome, the court can modify the meaning to avoid the problem
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Case example for the Wide Application
Re: Sigsworth - son kills mother for inheritance
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Describe the Narrow Application to the Golden Rule
If there is more than one meaning to the words or phrase, the court can choose the definition that will least to the least AIR outcome
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Case example for the Narrow Application
R v Allen - bigamy case
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What is the Mischief Rule?
The courts attempt to identify the original mischief Parl intended to remedy (Defined in Heydon's Case - 16th cent.)
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What three main points did Heydon's Case define that the court must consider when applying the mischief rule?
What was the old common law before the act was passed? What was the defect or mischief that common law didn't remedy? What was Parl's intentions in attempting to cure the mischief?
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Case Examples of the Mischief Rule Application
Smith v Hughes - prostitutes on balconies Royal College of Nursing - nurses legally allowed to perform abortions
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Advantages of the Mischief Rule?
Closer to the intentions of Parl, avoids AIR outcomes, closes loopholes, allows law to be updated in changing circumstances, flexibility of law
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Disadvantages of the Mischief Rule?
Mischief is sometimes difficult to identify, unpredictable law, outdated (Heydon's case was 16th century)
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What is the Purposive Approach?
'Modern' version of the Mischief Rule - focuses on what Parl. intended when passing the new law
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What act specifically encourages the use of the Purposive Approach?
The Human Rights Act 1998
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Case examples of applying the Purposive Approach?
ex parte Smith - psycho adopted son tries to find real mother Fitzpatrick - gay man wants to inherit property lease of late partner
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Advantages of the Purposive Approach?
Keeps UK law in line with EU law, more like the intentions of Parl, avoids AIR outcomes, leads to individual justice, allows for changing circumstances
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Disadvantages of the Purposive Approach?
Too much power to unelected judiciary, judges may make decisions based on public policy
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What are intrinsic aids?
Materials in the act itself that aid judges in interpreting it
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Examples of intrinsic aids?
The long/short title, preamble, schedules, definitions sections, punctuation
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What are extrinsic aids?
Materials outside or separate to the act itself that aid judges in interpreting it
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Examples of extrinsic aids?
Dictionaries, textbooks, Interpretation Act, previous acts, Hansard, reports of Law reform bodies, International treaties, explanatory notes
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What are the three rules of language?
Ejusdem Generic Rule, Expressio Unius Est Exclusio Atterium, and Noscitur a Sociis
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Explain the Ejusdem Generic Rule
Where general words follow specific words, the general words are interpreted in accordance with the specific words
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Case examples for the Ejusdem Generic Rule
Powell - gambling in an open air enclosure (House, office or other place was interpreted as a building with a roof)
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Explain the Expressio Unius Est Exlusio Atterium Rule
The expression of one thing implies the exclusion of another - it only refers to the words specified
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Case examples for the Expressio Unius Est Exclusio Atterium Rule
Channel Tunnel Act - only applies to the Channel Tunnel, and not any others that may be built
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Explain the Noscitur a Sociis Rule
The meaning of the word must be derived from the context it is written in
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Case examples for the Noscitur a Sociis Rule
Muir v Keay - cafe kept open at night without a license, was found guilty as drinking coffee was seen as 'entertainment'
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

What is the Literal Rule?

Back

Applying the plain, ordinary and grammatical definition of a word (Pinner V Everett)

Card 3

Front

Case examples of Literal Application?

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

Front

Disadvantages of the Literal Rule

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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