(4) Interpretive Techniques, Presumptions & Principles Flashcards Preview

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What interpretive techniques may the courts adopt in relation to Parliamentary Sovereignty?

For the majority of the 20th Century Courts used the literal approach to Statutory Legislation - seeking to enforce the natural meaning of the statutory wording. However, more recently Courts have begun to give more weight to the context in which Parliament issues Statutes, Parliament do not operate in a vacuum.


What interpretive presumptions may the courts make in relation to Acts of Parliament?

In using the literal approach Courts would employ a number of interpretive presumptions, examples of such presumptions, however, include;
1. Parliament will intend to legislate compatibly with the UK's obligations under International Law
2. Domestic Statutes aren't to apply outside the jurisdiction
3. Statutes are not to be applied retroactively


When will the courts interpretive presumptions take on more significance?

These presumptions will be seen to take on more significance in instances of ambiguity in statutory wording.


What may displace the use of such interpretive presumptions?

In all cases, however, express Statutory wording may displace such presumptions. While Courts acknowledge the degree of judicial discretion in interpreting Statutes they continue to place great significance on the application of Statute Law. Consequently, instances of overt judicial disobedience are hard to come by.


How do the courts, through statutory interpretation protect individual rights?

The judicial expectation that Parliament will achieve certain objectives only through an explicit statement of intent in Primary Legislation is an important tool of Statutory interpretation which enables the Courts to offer a degree of protection to individual rights threatened by somewhat ambiguous Statutes.


Which case illustrated the courts use of such a common law protection?

R v Lord Chancellor, ex parte Witham


How did R v Lord Chancellor, ex parte Witham represent a common law restriction on the form in which legislation might be expressed?

Ultimately, the key finding was that secondary legislation purporting to restrict constitutional rights were unlawful, in circumstances where the relevant parent (primary) legislation was not deemed sufficiently specific.


How has the introduction of the HRA affected Common Law protection?

While the introduction of the HRA in 1998 has somewhat marginalised the role of the Common Law as a tool for rights protection, yet it still holds some influence and have been deployed and expanded upon in subsequent judicial decisions.


In what other way may the courts restrict or limit the implications of Parliaments Primary Legislation in favour of Common Law rights?

The principle of legality can be used as a mean of protecting Common Law rights and the values that attach to the Rule of Law.


Which two cases demonstrate the courts use of the principle of legality to defy Parliamentary Intention in favour of Common Law Rights/ Values of the Rule of Law?

1. R (UNISON) v Lord Chancellor
2. Evans/Black Spider Memos Case


How did the courts restrict the legislative power of Parliament in the UNISON Case?

In R (UNISON) v Lord Chancellor the Supreme Court struck down a Statutory Instrument increasing the Court Fees payable in respect of Employment Tribunal Cases on the grounds that the provision under which the instrument was made did not confer a power to limit the Common Law right of access to Courts.


How did the courts restrict the legislative power of Parliament in the Evans Case?

The Supreme Court decision in the case of Evans saw Lord Neuberger limit the instances in which the power of 'ministerial override' could be used by arguing that the source of it - s. 53 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 - fell far sure of the clarity required by the principle of legality - this explicitly illustrates how the principle of legality can be utilised in the defence of Constitutional Principles.


Overall what is the relationship between the principle of legality and parliament's legislative power?

The employment of the principle of legality to ensure the compliance of general or ambiguous provision of Primary Legislation holds the potential to amount to a significant incursion into Parliament's primary legislative power.