126.96.36.199 Words or phrases in an Act are
given their ordinary, natural or
dicitonary meaning. The literal rule
does not allow a judge to create law.
It requires application of law as
stated by Parliament.
188.8.131.52 Fisher v Bell (1961) - The defendant displayed flick knives in his shop
window. He was charged under The Restriction of Offensive Weapons Act
1959. The act makes it an offence to "sell or offer for sale" an offensive
weapon. In contract law it was an invitation to treat so the defendant was
1.1.2 The golden rule
184.108.40.206 An extentionto the literal rule but without using the
literal interpretation so it wouldn't lead to an absurd
220.127.116.11.1 Narrow approach
18.104.22.168.1.1 If the word has more than one literal meaning the judge will pick the
definiation that avoids abdurdity. Allen wanted to remarry to a relative
but he was charges under s57 Offences Against the Person Act 1861 which
states you cannot remarry if the first marrigae id not end. he went
through a ceremony but it was void but the court used the rule to mean
that the ceremony was enough.
22.214.171.124.2 Broad approach
126.96.36.199.2.1 When a word only has one meaning but it would cause
absurdity so the jugde will modify the meaning. In Adler
vGeorge (1964) the defendant was charged under the Official
Secrets Act 1920, he obstructed an army person "in the
vicinity of a prohibited place". The defendanted areguend
that he was in the prohiited place not the vicinity, the judge
interpreated that "in" was part of the "in the vicinity of".
1.1.3 The mischief rule
188.8.131.52 The court looks at the gap in the law that parliament felt nescessary to fill, it
interprets that Act to fill the gap and remedy the mischeif rule. In Heydon's Case
(1584) the court had to consider 4 things. 1) What was the common law before the
Act. 2) What was the defect or mischief for which the common law did not provide a
remedy. 3) What remedy does the Act attempt to provide to cure the defect. 4) What
is the true reason for the remedy.
184.108.40.206 Smith v Hughes (1960) under the Street Offences Act 1959 its an offence to solicit "in the street or
publice place. The defendant used that the prostitute was on a balcony but the court knew that this Act
was passed to stop behavouir like this nevermind where where the soliciting originated from.
1.1.4 The purposive approach
220.127.116.11 This focuses on what Parliament was trying to fill with passing an Act. It is a modern version of the mischief
rule, it is minor technicality. instead of looking at words and their meaning a judge will look at the purpose
2 The definiation is the interpretation of Acts of
Parliament by judges. 75% of cases in the Supreme
Court are concerned with SI.
3 Aids to interpretation
3.1 Intrinsic aids
3.1.1 Found within the Act, the judge may use words or phrase
3.1.2 Long/short title of an act can be guidance. Abortion Act 1967's long title is "An Act to
amend and clarify the law relating to termination of pregnancyby registered medical
3.1.3 Older statues have a preamble which is a statement preceding the
main body of the Act, setting out the purpose. Newer statues have their
purpose at the beginning.
3.1.4 Modern Acts have a definiation section which explains the
meaning of key words.
3.1.5 Grammar will decide on the definition of a word
3.2 Extrinsic aids
3.2.1 Found outside the Act refered to by
3.2.2 Dictionaries can be used to find literal meanings. In
Vaughan v Vaughan (1973) to interpret "molest", the
defendant was pestering his ex-wife to resume the relation
ship by calling her at work and seeing her early in the
morning and late at night. He was found guilty because
"molest" means annoy, vex or put to inconvenience".
3.2.3 Previous Acts may be referred like it did in Wheatley (1979).
3.2.4 The court may look at Reports of the Law Commission, Royal Commissions and
other law reform bodies. A Law Commission report can highlight what is wrong
with the old law, and suggest options.
3.2.5 Texts Books can be used.
4.1 Literal rule - Respects parliamentary sovereignty and leaves
law-making to democratically elected Parliament.
4.2 Golden rule - Prevents absurd/unjust results and it's more likely to give effect
to parliament's intentions.
4.3 Mischeif rule - Avoids absurd/unjust outcomes, it promotes flexibility and it's
the preferred approach of the Law Commission.
4.4 Purposive approach - Consistent with European approachand it gives effect to
Parliament's intentions and it's Denning.
5.1 Literal rule - Produces absurd outcomes, it doesn't reflect Parliament's
intentions and it assumes perfection from draftsmen.
5.2 Golden rule - Too much power to the judiciary, has uncertainty to an absurd
5.3 Mischief rule - Too much power to the judiciary, it lets
judges update legislation and it's out of date.
5.4 Purposive approach - Too much power to the judiciary and it makes judicial
decisions on policy.