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

Literal Rule. The literal rule was used in a case called Berriman v NE Railway Company (1946),

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Literal Rule The literal rule is a simple rule. Words should be given their plain, ordinary, literal meaning, even if the result is not very sensible. The reason this rule exists is because it would be wrong for the courts to guess what Parliament actually meant when the act was passed. The literal rule was used in a case called Berriman v NE Railway Company (1946), a railway worker was killed by a train while doing maintenance work, oiling points along a railway line. Berriman?s widow tried to claim compensation because there had not been a lookout man provided by the railway company as stated in the Fatal Accidents Act. ...read more.


an offence to impersonate ?any person entitled to vote.? The defendant had pretended to be a person whose name was on the voters list, but who had died. The court held that the defendant was not guilty since a dead person is not in the literal meaning of the words ?entitled to vote.? This shows how the literal meaning of the words can change the case. Cheeseman v Director of Public Prosecutions. (1990) Police officers were sent to ?stake out? a public toilet and try and catch the offender, they witnessed a man who indecently exposed himself to them. They arrested him. The defendant was charged under section 28 of the Town Causes Act 1847 with ?willfully and indecently exposing his person in a street to the annoyance of passengers.? This case illustrates several of the problems of statutory interpretation. ...read more.


rule, this is when a word has more than one meaning, and it may be difficult to decide which meaning should be used. A risk to using the literal rule is that words in the English language can change meanings over time, which means when judges look up a word from an Act they need to make sure the dictionary is from the same year in which the Act was passed. ?If the words of an act are clear then you must follow them even though they lead to a manifest absurdity. The court has nothing to do with the question whether the legislature has committed an absurdity.? This idea was expressed by Lord Esher in R v judge of the City of London Court (1892). ...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. Law case study

    a range and level of services appropriate to their needs" (The Scottish Office). Therefore Social Workers must be aware of the implications of their actions, their recommendations and interventions. According to Mackay cited in Social Work and the Law in Scotland, (2003), Pg, 107 "This must entail attempts to understand

  2. Assess the likelihood of Sid and Kenny avoiding personal liability for the debts of ...

    Therefore if the legal right crystalises before the corporate form is used to evade the right then the exception would be satisfied because the defendant intends to use the company to deny the plaintiff that legal right and the mental element is satisfied.

  1. The literal rule that means judges must give the words in statute theirplain ordinary ...

    It was held that displaying an article in a window did not equal to an offer for sale and was regarded as an invitation to treat. The literal meaning of the words were applied, even though under the Act Parliament had intended to stop the sale of flick Knifes.

  2. Torts project - Payment of Compensation in Hit and Run Motor Accident.

    Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or in any other law for the time being in force or instrument having the force of law, the owner of the motor vehicle or the authorized insurer shall be liable to pay in the case of death or permanent disablement due to

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