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Statutory Interpretation Essay

1746 words - 7 pages

Statutes would be interpreted frequently by courts in modern time, Owing to the defect of ambiguity or language in legal terms, defect of statutes. Some amount of interpretation is necessary when the word of statute is ambiguity, sometimes, the content of statutes have a straightforward meaning. But the ambiguity of the words in the statutes must be solved by courts, it is true that have some ambiguity or have a unclear meaning of statutes' words in most case. Statutory interpretation allows the judge to have a clear meaning of what is meant by the statutes. Hence, statutory interpretation is an important process when the case is judging by court and courts would seek to interpret the ...view middle of the document...

Lord Reid said: "we often say that we are looking for the intention of Parliament, but that is not quite accurate. We are seeking the meaning of the words which Parliament used."(Lord Reid, Black-Clawson International Ltd v Papierwerke Waldhof-Aschaffenburg [1975]) When judges deal with cases, many words need to be given their straightforward meaning in the context of Act and cases. Judges may look for the words'primary or the most suitable meaning. Alternatively, Judegs may seek help to a dictionary that would give a definition of words.For example, In Hunter v Canary Wharf Ltd; Hunter v London Docklands Development Corporation [1997] A.C.655, Where in Hunter Lord Cooke used the Concise Oxford Dictionary to give the defintion of " occupy". Whereas, although the word of statutes will be given their ordinary meaning by the courts, but regradless of whether this produce an absurd result, "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 whether the legislature has committed an absurdity. " (Per Lord Esher, R v. Judge of the City of London Court [1892]) if they find out the meaning that is not conformity with intention of Parliament, the Jedges will not refer to the meaning.Under this status, the golden rule will be used by courts. The golden rule is that give words their literal meaning, if this would lead to an absurd result, another interpetation would be given, Two forms of golden rule: Narrow appliaction is that the courts can only choose between the possbile meaning of word or phase, if this word only one meaning that must be taken. Another is wider appliaction, If words have only one ordinary meaning but that meaning would lead to an absurd result, the courts can use the golden rule to modify the words of a statute to avoid absurd result. For instance, In the case of Ex parte Walton [1881] 17 Ch.D. 746, the statute of s.23 of the Bankruptcy Act 1869 was used in this case and the court interprted it. The bankrupt person vested in his trusstee, however, the trustee denied the burdensome property in bankruptcy. The s.23 of the bankruptcy could be interpeted that the trustee denys property even if this would affect the third party rights for property. the court felt this interpetation that is not conformity with intention of Parliament, they considerred that the statute must be modified and read as means that the thired party rignts will not be hinderred if the property is disclaimed.
The Purposive approach and mischief rule are similar, they try to build the legal meaning of words that were used in a statute and this meaning is that Parliament seek to have. The mischief gives more discretion than the golden rule and literal rule. But judges need to consider four points when applying the statute: Firstly, what was the common law before the making of the Act? Secondly, what was the mischief and defect for which the common law did not provide? Thirdly, what...

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