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Approaches to statutory interpretation by the judiciary

The drawback set is approaches to statutory interpretation by the judiciary. In concept, parliament is the supreme law-making authority in the land. However, it’s up to judiciary to interpret laws and as such they will often modify a legislation beyond what was originally supposed, therefore setting a precedent and arguably “making” a law. Statutory interpretation considerations the role of judges when trying to use an Act of Parliament to an precise case. Language utilized in statues could cause issues, for example the word is in all probability not very clear within the context of the sentence, it could presumably be that the word is particularly old in light of todays context or it may mean that the parliament hasn’t foreseen certain conditions that will come up in the future because of new development or new technologies.

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An example of where the language was unclear may be seen in the case of Twining v Myers (1982), where court needed to determine whether curler skates amounted to a “vehicle”.

It can be a troublesome process for the judiciary of absolutely understanding what parliament meant to realize or what they meant. As a result, there has been a development of there in how words in statues may be interpreted.

The literal rule says that the judges must apply the regulation literally – utilizing the phrases in statute of their ordinary signification. Lord Esher in R v Judge of the City of London Court (1892) mentioned if the phrases of an act are clear then you have to follow them even when they result in a manifest absurdity.

An example case the place the literal was used is Whiteley v Chappell (1898). The details of the case had been that defendant was charged underneath a statute where it was an offence to impersonate “any person entitled to vote”. The defendant had pretended to be a person whose name was on voter’s record, but had died. In making use of the literal that means of the phrases in the statue, the defendant couldn’t be discovered responsible as a outcome of useless folks, literally speaking, aren’t entitled to vote so the defendant received away with it even though it was an absurd outcome.

An benefit of the literal rule is that it prevents unelected judges from making law, by preserving to the literal rule it implies that the judges don’t enter that harmful place of moving away from what parliament intended and creating legal guidelines that in any other case wouldn’t have exist. The literal rule additionally makes the regulation extra sure and simpler to understand. However, not each act is perfectly drafted. For instance, within the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 there was confusion over the words “type” and “breed”. Additionally, not every act covers each scenario. There are new developments in societies that wouldn’t have been foreseen. Words could have a couple of meaning and the act be unclear as phrases change additional time. Literal rule can lead to an absurd, unfair or unjust decision. This could be seen in London & North Eastern Railway Co v Berriman (1946), the place a widow was denied compensation because the Fatal Accidents Act acknowledged that a lookout man should solely be supplied “for the purposes of relaying or repairing” as oppose to oiling.

The golden rule was developed to deal with the absurd, unfair and unjust conditions arising from the applying of literal rule. This rule allows judges slightly more leeway, allowing judges to refer to varied different documents across the statute such as the report of Parliamentary commissions to assist understanding of the statute. There are two approaches to the golden rule – the slender software and the broader utility. The narrow software of the golden rule could be seen within the case Alder v George (1964). Official Secrets Act 1920 made it an offence to hinder Her Majesty’s Forces “in the vicinity” of a prohibited place. The defendants obstructed HM Forces in a prohibited area but they argued they were not guilty as literal wording of Act didn’t apply as “in the vicinity” means exterior but close to it. However, the court docket found them guilty to avoid an absurd outcome, stating it should be read as “in or within the neighborhood of” the prohibited.

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