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The literal rule that means judges must give the words in statute theirplain ordinary and literal m

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Legislation and statuary interpretation Statutes are Acts passed by Parliament they are expressed in words and words can be imperfect. Parliament tries to draw up the words as not to create uncertainty. This is not always straightforward because some words are extensive and diverse in their meaning. Judges may not agree with Acts of Parliament and feel that there is room for improvement. However it is not a judge's role to question an Act. A Judge cannot fail to apply an Act even it produces a bizarre outcome or if it clashes with the Human Rights Act 1998. A judge's role is to interpret statute and relate it to imminent Cases. There are many reasons why statute is in need of interpretation, the Act is badly drafted, the subject matter is complex and errors are bound to happen, the Act fails to provide for all situations and there may be changes in the use of language. In my essay I will attempt to explain the aids used by judges to interpret statute and the different approaches to statutory interpretation. I will also apply the rules of statuary interpretation to the scenario of Ted's takeaway. The three principal Approaches to statuary interpretation To assist judges interpret statute the court adheres to different rules devised over the years by preceding judges. These rules are as follows, The literal rule The Literal rule is the first approach that will be taken. ...read more.


Internal (intrinsic) aids are within the Act itself and can assist the judge to understand the aim and intent of the statute. The statute must be read as a whole, the long Title, sets out the purpose of the Act. This can be used to show intention. Nonetheless it cannot be shown to contradict clear intention. In addition to this is the short title, which is merely an easy way of recognizing the Act, (e.g. Dangerous Dogs (Act 1991)). External (extrinsic) aids the court looks at various aids to help them understand what an Act means.They include dictionaries for the different meanings of the words in statute.(ordinary or the alternative if need be), previous Acts covering the same topic and 'Hansard'which is the transcripts of what is said in Parliament (after the Case Pepper and Hart (1993) ). The language rules help the courts understand statuary interpretation and are as followsThe Eiusdem Generis rule 'this means of the same kind' were there has to be two or more particular words that are preceded by a general term. Subsequently these words are specific to things of the same kind. If an Act specifies 'cat's dogs and other animals' it refers to other animals as being of the 'of the same kind'. The noscitur a sociis rule 'a word gains its meaning from the company it keeps'this rule requires the judge to look at the whole sentence to determine what a word means.The word nut ...read more.


The consequences for this are different result. This rule has been described as lazy, defeatist, mechanical and primitive and it has been argued that judges who use this rule will not accept the responsibility for working out the meaning of the Act. This rule also makes presumptions as to Parliamentary draftsmen never making mistakes. The golden rule this rule is to prevent absurdities that might evolve as a result of the literal rule. The problem is different judges have different definitions of what might be absurd and the rule can only be used if a judge decides to apply it. The argument is that judges are acting outside their role as interpreters and are becoming legislators by 'rewriting' statute law. The mischief rule this is a rule were the judge looks for the mischief that the Act was trying to remedy and fills in the gaps in accordance with the intentions of Parliament. However the judge must identify the mischief before he can apply this rule and this can be difficult. Different internal and external aids are used to help identify what the intentions of Parliament might be. This used to be even more difficult before the use of Hansard. As in the golden rule this rule allows judges to 'rewrite' statute law, some traditionalist judges condemn this, arguing a judge is not a legislators and his position should only allow him to interpret statute literally and enforce the words of parliament. Word count 636 Denise McBride 1 ...read more.

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