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Statutory Interpretation | 4 rules to remember

By July 30, 2019 September 24th, 2019 No Comments
statutory interpretation
Statutes of law are the written laws that govern the United Kingdom. They are made by the parliament and enforced by the various law enforcement authorities. However, establishing the meaning of any given legislation is not always easy. In some instances, courts are called upon for statutory interpretation. Below is a discussion about what statutory interpretation entails as elaborated by our law tutors in London.

What is Statutory Interpretation?

Statutory interpretation is necessary where there is uncertainty with regards to how a law should be applied in a given situation. Although the people who draft statutes do their best to craft legislations that are unambiguous, the meaning of given sections of the law may not always be straightforward, leaving room for multiple interpretations. Some problems include drafting errors, ambiguity, new legal developments, and changes in language use. For instance, some statutes are hundreds of years old, and the language used in drafting them may have a different meaning today.

Rules of Statutory Interpretation

Statutory interpretation is strictly a courts’ matter. Some of the rules that the courts may follow when interpreting legislation include:

The Literal Rule

Under this rule, the words of a law are given their natural and ordinary meaning. This means that the laws are read literally, and there is no need for further analysis.

The Golden Rule

This rule seeks to prevent absurdity and inconsistency when interpreting a statute literally. It can be applied widely and narrowly. When it comes to the narrow approach, a judge can choose between the possible meaning of a phrase or a word. Under the narrow approach, a judge can modify words to avoid problems.

The Mischief Rule

When there is ambiguity, the court seeks to understand the problems (loopholes and mischief) that that parliament sought to address when making a given statute.

The Takeaway

Judges also have the authority to apply the rules of statutory interpretation the way they deem appropriate. If you would like to learn more about the statutory interpretation, we at Advanced Law Tutors have experts who are willing to assist you.