• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Describe and illustrate the various approaches a judge may use to decide the meaning of a statute. Illustrate your answers with cases.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Law A) Describe and illustrate the various approaches a judge may use to decide the meaning of a statute. Illustrate your answers with cases. When a judge comes to deciding upon a case he must apply the necessary legislation, and although it is drafted clearly and with great detail, problems can sometimes arise in the interpretation of what the actual law is. Sometimes the problem can be that the language of the statute could be misunderstood, or not clear enough to what is actually meant. For example, in the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861, it was stated that, 'whosoever, being married, shall marry any other person during the life of the former husband or wife shall be guilty of bigamy.' But what does the word marry mean? The problems arise when information is misinterpreted, and there are three reasons why this may occur- 1) The statute is complicated and of a difficult mixture of ordinary and technical language 2) It may be concerned with the regulation of future conduct, and as the ability of draughtsmen to anticipate the future is limited, it will be difficult to decide whether a particular provision applies to a particular case 3) It is often concerned with regulating competing interests where the people concerned have a self interest in promoting different interpretations It is up to the courts, and therefore the judges, to decide the definitive definition when these problems arise. ...read more.

Middle

However, the court held that 'offers for sale must be given its ordinary meaning in law and that in contract law, this was not an offer for sale, but an invitation to people to make an offer to buy.' The defendant was therefore found not guilty of the offence even though this is what the act was set up to stop. 2) Golden approach This approach means the court must give the statute words their literal meaning unless the outcome would cause an absurdity; in this case a more appropriate approach may be taken e.g. in R V Allen 1972 when the word 'marry' was interpreted as meaning 'to go through a ceremony of marriage,' because to use its literal meaning would make the offence of bigamy impossible to commit. In Maddox V Storer 1963, the vehicle in the case was a minibus made to carry eleven passengers rather than altered to do so, yet under the Road Traffic Act 1960, it was an offence to drive at more than 30mph in a vehicle only 'adapted to carry more than 7 passengers.' However, the court held that 'adapted to' could mean 'suitable for.' 3) The Mischief (or modern purposive) approach This is when the courts interpret the words in the way that is most likely to promote the purpose for the legislation, and not only the words should be considered, but also what Parliament would have been aiming to achieve from the statute. ...read more.

Conclusion

R V Inhabitants of Sedgeley 1831, when the words used in the Act were 'lands, tithes and coalmines,' and it was decided that the act did not apply to any other kind of mine. The third principle is 'Noscitur a sociis,' which means a word known by its associates, i.e. it must be used in context. E.g. Pengelly V Bell Punch Company Ltd 1964, when the words of the Factories Act 1961, 'all floors, steps, stairs, passages and gangways must be kept free of obstruction' were disputed to whether general parts of areas used for storage would be included. It was held by the court that storage areas would not be included under these words, as all the others in the section referred to parts of the factory along which workers were intended to pass. All these above aids help judges to interpret statutes in cases where the words may be disputable, and help to give a reasonable interpretation for all parties concerned, according to parliamentary law as it was intended to be. B) Explain what is meant by 'extrinsic' and 'intrinsic' aids to the interpretation of statutes. Consider how useful they are in assisting judges to interpret Acts of Parliament. Extrinsic and intrinsic aids are the two categories in which the material falls which the courts are able to use to help with interpretation of legislation. There are restrictions on the material available and so come under two different types. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Sources of Law section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Sources of Law essays

  1. Statutory interpretation

    Under the mischief rule the court will look to see what the law was before the act was passed in order to discover what gap or 'mischief' the act was intended to cover. The court should then interpret the act in such a way that the gap is covered.

  2. Law a2 notes

    This issue was raised in Dawson. The force used does not have to be directed against the person - it could be against property Clouden - even the retching of a bag was enough. * A threat of force must be a threat of then and there subjecting the victim (or someone else)

  1. Statutory Interpretation

    It is no longer necessary for the judges to wring their hands and say- There is nothing we can do about it. Whenever a strict interpretation of a statute gives rise to an absurd and unjust situation, the judges can and should use their good sense to remedy it- by

  2. domestic violence -applying the Grenadian statute

    The limited number of persons that can bring action on behalf of a victim in Grenada poses a serious problem. The reality in these small commonwealth countries is that a best friend is normally a close confidant and one who normally acts on behalf of an individual in time of need.

  1. Statutory Interpretation

    Similarly, in Ex parte Smith, the court held that statute provisions may not be used for the commission of future crimes. The third rule of interpretation came about due to the difficulty of ascertaining which words actually manifest absurdity. The mischief rule dates back to the Heydon's case (1584)

  2. From your studies how far do you agree that Britain has been a tolerant ...

    Vouchers had a quota which meant that they were limited. The immigrant had to prove that they had a specialist skill or appropriate education and qualifications for Britain's needs. This shows that Britain was not tolerant in the first place as they were simply completing their labour shortage and once

  1. Most cases that reach our higher courts concern the interpretation, that is to say ...

    The golden rule was developed in the nineteenth century. Its limits were laid out in Grey v Pearson, where Lord Wensleydale stated: 'The ordinary sense of the words is to be adhered to, unless it would lead to absurdity, when the ordinary sense may be modified to avoid the absurdity but no further.'

  2. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have faced disadvantages in various areas, particularly housing

    The exempted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were allowed to open bank accounts, purchase land and legally drink alcohol. Often the exempted people did not do any of these as the bank, real estate and shop assistants would discriminate against the exempted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work