Important cases - statutory interpretation (Scottish legal system)

Malin Johansen
Flashcards by Malin Johansen, updated more than 1 year ago
Malin Johansen
Created by Malin Johansen over 6 years ago


Flashcards on Important cases - statutory interpretation (Scottish legal system) , created by Malin Johansen on 11/25/2014.

Resource summary

Question Answer
Pepper v Heart (1993) AC The purpose of interpretation is to find the Parliaments (legilators) intention, and the purpose of the staute Some citations: “The days have long since passed when the courts adopted a strict constructionist view of interpretation which required them to adopt the literal meaning of the language. The courts now adopt a purposive approach which seeks to give effect to the true purpose of the legislation and are prepared to look at much extraneous material that bears upon the background against which the legislation was enacted.”
Holliday v Henry (1974) RTR 101 You must look at the gramatically and ordinary meaning of the words Was the car "on" the road when there was roller skates between the car and the ground? Magistrates court - not "on" the road physically The appeal court - since the car was occupying space, it was "on" the road
Hobson v Gledhill (1978) 1 WLR 215 Guard dogs Act, s 1 Presumption in favour of liberty Example on syntactic ambiguity “Except while it is secured so that it is not at liberty to go freely around the premises” No handler present, but the dog was secured Is the exception qualifying the whole time, or only when there is no handler there?
Fisher v Bell (1961) 1 QB 394 Technical words - technical meanings Presumption of liberty in favour of the accused Restriction of Offensive Weapons Act 1959, section 1 Flick-knife in window, was this an "offer"? Needed to look at the technical (juridical) maning of "offer" The court found that there was no offer because you still needed the negotiation for it to be a binding offer
Fitzpatrick v Sterling Housing Association Ltd (1999) 4 All ER 705 Words changes their meaning over time, when society changes. You should apply the contemporary meaning Purposive approach Rent Act Provision 1977 Martin "Spouse" or "family" of John The court: "spouse" - no (would have been today) "family" - yes (would not have been family when the statute was passed in 1977)
Chief Constable of Staffordshire v Lees (1981) RTR 506 External aids to help determine the meaning of the words: looked at the dictionary and Sheakspare to determine what an "accident" was The court went against the presumtion in favour of liberty Road Traffic Act 1972, s 8: could he refuse to give a breath test when he drove through the fence on purpose? The court found that the word "accident" was wider than only what you did on purpose, and Mr. Lees was found guilty
Boulton v Pilkington (1981) RTR 87 Literal approach "goods" Purposeive approach - goods of some substance, size and commercial value, not chinese takeaway Example that the court didnt apply the presumption of liberty Galmorgan County Council Order 1972 If a car is left in Wyndham Street outside a Chinese takeaway for a few minutes is it a good defence for the driver to state that in collecting the takeaway he was enabling “goods to be loaded”?
Adler v George (1964) 2 QB 7 The judge may read words in which he considers to be necessarily implied by words which are already in the statute - to prevent absurdities Official Secrets Act 1920, s3: "No person shall in the vicinity of any prohibited place obstruct any member of Her Majesty’s Forces” He was inside the place itself, and therefore not "in vicinity" The court read in the words "in, or in the vicinity" to prevent the statute from being absurd
Coltman v Bibby Tankers Ltd [1988] AC 276 Purposive interpretation Liability (Defective Equipment) Act 1969, s 1: “employer is liable to an employee who suffers injury … “equipment” includes plant, machinery, vehicle, aircraft and clothing” Q: Was ship "equipment" House of Lords: "includes" means that the list is on-exhaustive. Things not listed could be included. Found that ship was "equipment" by looking at the intention/purpose of the legislation
Duncan v Jackson (1905) 8 F 323 The Eiusdem generis principle: When you have a list of examples and a general point at the end – you need to look at the examples listed to determine what is covered by the general term at the end. Duncan owned gassmeter house. You can register to vote where you had: "Any house, warehouse, counting house, shop, or other building” The court: All the examples have commercial value, a gassmeter house have not - therefore it is no "other building"
R v Oakes (1959) 2 QB 350 Interpreting the words "and" "or": sometimes and means or, and sometimes or means or/and Court didnt apply the presumption of liberty Official secrets act Court interpreted in the case "and" to mean "or" so that the provision had meaning. Unless it would be meaningless. Was therefore found guilty
Hynd’s Trustees v Hynd’s Trustees 1955 SC (HL) 1 Presumption against unclear changes in the law Conveyancing (Scotland) Act 1944, s 18 (1) People that are unable to write - need to be in the present of the solicitor? The court found: since the meaning of the new law wasn’t clear, presumption that the smallest change was made → solicitor had to be in the present of the person unable to write
Williams v Evans [1982] STC 498 Example on syntactic ambiguity (the context of the word makes the meaning word uncertain) whats the meaning of: “Fixed plant or machinery” Did "fixed" refer to both plant AND machinery, or ONLY plant? Court: Both
Bromley LBC v Greater London Council [1983] 1 AC 768 A thing is known by its assiociates Provide “integrated, efficient, and economic transport facilities and services for greater London” Not economic: London is running this with a loss What did economic mean? HL: Use of the word “efficient” indicated that the use of “economic” was meant to be interpreted in a commercial way
Re DML [1965] Ch 1133 The mention of one thing is to the exclusion of all others ("rule" 3 of language - expressio unius est exclusio alterius) Mental Health Act 1959 s,102 Paragraph b: “Family” – limited to immediate family, not to cover nieces and nephews, because paragraph c: “other persons” would cover them
Heydon’s case (1584) 2 Co Rep 7a Examle on the Mischief Rule - if provision is unclear --> look at the mischeif the Act was designed to overcome, and interpret it in order to "suppress the mischief and advance the remedy"
IRC v Hinchly [1960] AC 748, 767 Literal rule - courts may only look at the legislative text itself
Grey v Pearson (1857) 6 HLC 61, 106 Golden rule - literal meaning should be applied, unless ut produces an inconsistency or an absurdity, or inconvenience so great as to convince the court that the intention of Parliament must have been different
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