Presentation on theme: "Statutory Interpretation in a nutshell. Literal Approach The Literal Approach gives words their ordinary grammatical meaning LNER v Berriman: Not ‘relaying."— Presentation transcript:
Literal Approach The Literal Approach gives words their ordinary grammatical meaning LNER v Berriman: Not ‘relaying or repairing’ track but oiling points (maintenance) Leaves law-making to Parliament / respects democracy BUT assumes every Act will be perfectly drafted – Fisher v Bell Makes law more certain BUT can lead to ‘unfair’ decisions or absurd results – LNER v Berriman
Purposive Approach The Purposive Approach looks for the purpose of Parliament and interprets words accordingly. Jones v Tower Boot Co: ‘In the course of employment’ included racial harassment that happened at work even though it was not part of the work Leads to justice in individual cases BUT makes law less certain Fills in the gaps in the law BUT leads to judicial law-making Broad approach covers more situations BUT difficult to discover the intention of Parliament
Three rules of interpretation 1.Literal rule – words are given their ordinary grammatical meaning. Whiteley v Chappell: D was found not guilty of impersonating [someone] entitled to vote when he impersonated a dead man, as a dead person is not ‘entitled to vote’. 2.Golden rule – the best interpretation of ambiguous words can be chosen to avoid an absurd result. Allen: ‘Marry’ = ‘go through a ceremony of marriage’. Narrow version. Re Sigsworth: Son not allowed to inherit from mother because he murdered her. Wider version. 3.Mischief – looks at the gap in law prior to the Act and interprets words to ‘suppress the mischief’. Smith v Hughes: Prostitutes calling from a house to men in the streets were soliciting ‘in a street’.
Three rules of language Ejusdem generis – For a list of words followed by general words, the general words are limited to the same kind of items as those in the list Powell v Kempton Park Racecourse: all the ‘places for betting’ listed were indoors, so the place mentioned had to be indoors too. It was not and so was not affected by the statute Expressio unius exclusio alterius – To mention one thing / some things is to exclude other things. If there is a list, but no general words, then only the items in the list are included Tempest v Kilner: only ‘goods, wares and merchandise’ were affected by the statute, because only they were mentioned – not stocks or shares Noscitur a sociis – Consider the context: words cannot be considered in isolation. They are known by the company they keep IRC v Frere: ‘interest, annuities or other annual interest’ affected only annual interest, not any other sort
Aids to interpretation Intrinsic aids Anything within the Act itself: Preamble Long title Definition sections Other sections Objectives section (if there is one) Schedules Extrinsic aids Matters outside the Act: Previous Acts on the same point Earlier case law Dictionaries, including those of the time when the act was passed Hansard – Pepper v Hart Law Commission reports – Black Clawson International treaties, etc. – Fothergill v Monarch Airlines
Step-by-step problem-solving in statutory interpretation 1.Define literal approach. Tell the reader it includes three rules of interpretation 2.Try literal, golden and mischief rules in turn 3.If a sensible result is achieved, stop; if absurd, go on to the next 4.Use the rules of language to help you with each rule of interpretation, and possibly internal aids 5.Purposive approach: define 6.Try the purposive approach, using both internal and external aids NB Always explain fully what you are doing, using case examples