Flashcards in Statutory Interpretaion (1): Appraoches To Statutory Interpretation Deck (6)
Why don’t judges simply apply the words to legislation?
- the English language is not as precise as mathematics, the meaning of words are ambiguous
- the English language is poetic and metaphorical, To determine meaning of words and phrases you need to understand the history, colour, context, etc.
- weasel words that we need judges to interpret e.g. ‘likely’ or ‘probably’
- tiny errors changes things fundamentally e.g. ‘must’ is not the same as ‘may’
- law works at the margins of words e.g. spencer franks v Kellogg’s, brown and root 2008 is a door on an oil rig equipment.
- Legislation always has gaps (courts fills those gaps) and society develops e.g. R(TT) v registrar general for England and Wales 2019. Can a (trans) man who gives birth be registered as a mother?
Searches for parliamentary intention: where judges interpret the way parliament intended them to be interpreted, the meaning given is the way parliament intended.
But intention is a state of mind that is inside the brain of a human. Parliament is not human
The mischief rule I.e. what’s the mischief Parliament is seeking to address?
E.g. Smith v Hughes 1960. Female prostitution, crime of soliciting. The mischief was public prostitution
Cookery v Carpenter 1951 drunk in a bicycle mischief was purring other road users as risk.
The literal rule: apply literal meaning of words. Even if they leave to a manifest absurdity R v city of London court 1892
E.g. whitely v chapel 1868. Crime to impersonate someone who is entitled to vote. The dead are not entitled to vote.
The golden rule: start with literal meaning of words but if they leave to absurdity you change meaning
E.g. lee v knapp 1967. Road traffic act. Stop