Introduction to Statutory Interpretation

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  • What do we think about the language used?
  • One word used twice – 2 meanings! Taken from a real statute as are the following…
  • Does it include just public schools or any school? What/who has to be in GB – the owner/vehicle? Who has the disease the person/bathhouse?
  • Can we identify what crime this is?
  • Introduction to Statutory Interpretation

    1. 1. Statutory Interpretation <ul><li>By the end of this class you will be able to : </li></ul><ul><li>Explain what statutory interpretation is and why it is necessary </li></ul><ul><li>Explain what is meant by the two ‘approaches’ </li></ul><ul><li>use at least one of the approaches to interpret legislation </li></ul>
    2. 2. Statutory Interpretation Finding the meaning of Acts of Parliament!
    3. 3. Who needs to interpret statutes? <ul><li>Judges when </li></ul><ul><ul><li>deciding civil cases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Directing the jury on points of law in criminal cases </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Solicitors and Barristers when advising their clients </li></ul><ul><li>Law students when writing essays! </li></ul>
    4. 4. Parliamentary supremacy <ul><li>Judges cannot challenge legislation – they have to apply the law </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Judges can interpret Acts narrowly or widely – so they can develop the law </li></ul>
    5. 5. Why is statutory interpretation necessary? <ul><li>Uncertainty or ambiguity </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>broad terms </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>bad drafting </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>unforeseeable developments </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>changes in the use of language </li></ul>
    6. 6. Offences Against the Person Act 1861 (c.100) <ul><li>s20 Inflicting bodily injury, with or without weapon </li></ul><ul><li>Whosoever shall unlawfully and maliciously wound or inflict any grievous bodily harm upon any other person, either with or without any weapon or instrument, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and being convicted thereof shall be liable . . . to be kept in penal servitude ... </li></ul>
    7. 7. David has been arrested for being in the park <ul><li>and charged under the following section: (fictitious) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ men with beards and moustaches are prohibited from parks.’ </li></ul><ul><li>Is David guilty? </li></ul>
    8. 8. What is a person?
    9. 9. Words derive their meaning from their context: <ul><li>Every person wilfully, openly, lewdly and obscenely exposing his person with intent to insult any female… </li></ul>
    10. 10. Bennion’s book “Statute Law” identified some problems: <ul><li>Public hospital or school </li></ul><ul><li>Every owner of a vehicle in Great Britain </li></ul><ul><li>No person shall enter or remain in a bathhouse suffering from a communicable disease </li></ul>
    11. 11. S3(1) Theft Act 1978 <ul><li>... a person who, knowing that payment on the spot for any goods supplied or service done is required or expected of him, dishonestly makes off without having paid as required or expected and with intent to avoid payment of the amount due shall be guilty of an offence. </li></ul>
    12. 12. Things you may need to know <ul><li>Bigamy is a criminal offence – e.g. Ron a lorry driver has a wife in Liverpool and another in London </li></ul><ul><li>Indirect discrimination is where a rule has the effect of discriminating against a group of people e.g. You have to be over 6ft tall to apply for a job – less women would be able to satisfy the condition </li></ul>
    13. 13. Quiz <ul><li>Name one person who may need to interpret statutes </li></ul><ul><li>Why is statutory interpretation necessary? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the literal approach to statutory interpretation? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the purposive approach to SI? </li></ul><ul><li>Which is used in Europe? </li></ul>

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