1a) literal rule; the literal rule says that the intention of parliament is best found in the ordinary natural meaning of the words  this he literal meaning rule, the literal meaning must be followed, even if the result is silly. Lord Esher stated in R v judge of city of London court; if the words of an act are clear, you must follow them, even though they lead to a manifest absurdities e.g.  Whitely v chapel (1808). A statute aimed at preventing electoral malpractice made it an offence to impersonate “any person entitled to vote” at an election. The accused was acquitted because he impersonated a dead person and a dead person is not entitled to vote.

Golden rule: the golden rule says that if the literal rule produces an absurdity. The court should look for another meaning of the word that avoids the absurd result. In river wear commission v Adamson(1877) lord Blackburn said the golden rule is that to take the whole world of the statute together giving the word their ordinary signification, unless when so applied they produce an inconsistency or absurdity so great as to convince the court that the intention could not have been to use them in their convenience so great as to convince the court that the intention could not have been to use them in their ordinary signification and to justify the court putting on them some other signification which though less proper is one which the court thinks the word will bear e.g.  R v Allen (1872). The offence against the persons act, made it an offence to marry another part6erner while already married, and the defendant was prosecuted under this act. He claimed that since his second “marriage” was not legally valid, he had not committed the offence defined. The court said the phrase “to marry” was capable of more than one interpretation.

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Mischief rule: the mischief rule requires the court to take into account the gap in the law that states that the statute was intended to fill, and interprets it to “suppress the mischief” parliament intended to re. This rule was laid down in Heydons   in the sixteenth century, and provides that judges should consider these factors.    

  • What the law was before the statute was passed
  • What problem or mischief the statute was trying to remedy.
  • What remedy parliament was trying to provide.

 The judge should interpret the statute in such a way as ...

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