Libr 430 Week 5


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Libr 430 Week 5

  1. 1. LIBR 430 Week 5 Reading Statutes
  2. 2. Some Differences <ul><li>No real narrative to speak of </li></ul><ul><li>Can be technical, dry and tedious </li></ul><ul><li>Require careful attention to language </li></ul><ul><li>Context (like with cases) is extremely helpful </li></ul><ul><li>Still have to read cases that apply, construe or interpret statutes </li></ul>
  3. 3. Forms of Statutes <ul><li>Slip or public laws </li></ul><ul><li>Codes </li></ul><ul><li>Annotated Codes </li></ul>
  4. 4. How Statutes are Organized <ul><li>TITLE 1. HEADING </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SUBTITLE A. HEADING </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>CHAPTER 1. HEADING </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>SUBCHAPTER A. HEADING </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>PART 1. HEADING </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Sec. 1.01. Heading. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(section) (a) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(subsection)(1) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(subdivision) (A) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(paragraph)(i) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(subparagraph) (a) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(sub-subparagraph) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. How are Statutes Organized (cont’d.) <ul><li>TITLE 1. HEADING </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CHAPTER 1. HEADING </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Art. 1.01. Heading. (article) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sec. 1. (section) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Best way to read a statute? <ul><li>Establish Context! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Read headings, chapters, sections etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Check dates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Review legislative notes or comments </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Read it through multiple times! Don’t expect to get it at once. </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on language and it’s use. Precision is critical when reading statutes. One word can change meaning drastically! </li></ul>
  7. 7. Things to look for… <ul><li>Read the complete heading (code/title/chapter/subchapter/section) to establish how the section fits into the entire code organization. </li></ul><ul><li>Look for a definitions section (if present, it is usually found at the beginning of a chapter or subchapter) and read it. </li></ul><ul><li>Pay close attention to the statute format and organization. Look for breaks in the text. Assume everything in the statute has meaning, including punctuation and format. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Importance of Language <ul><li>Important “action” words such as “may,” “shall,” or “must” establish whether a provision is required or authorized; </li></ul><ul><li>Exceptions to the application of the statute, signaled by keywords such as “only,” “under,” “over,” “more than,” “less than,” “if,” and “unless”; </li></ul><ul><li>A series ending in “and” or “or”indicates whether all the elements of the series are included or only one of the elements needs to be included to satisfy the series. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Language and Structure <ul><li>Do not skip over words that you do not know or fully understand. Do not rely on context for the meaning of a word about which you are unsure. Do not assume a word (e.g., “person”) has the same meaning that it has in everyday conversation. </li></ul><ul><li>Read through cross-referenced sections in their entirety. If a cross-reference is to an entire chapter or subchapter, read through the chapter’s or subchapter’s table of contents and definitions section to learn the context. </li></ul>
  10. 10. What is the goal? <ul><li>Unlike cases you shouldn’t try to summarize what a statute says! </li></ul><ul><li>There’s a saying in law that ‘You can’t paraphrase a statute’. </li></ul><ul><li>Instead, try to answer the following: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>1. Why was this statute/section enacted? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>2. How does this statute/section apply in concrete situations? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>3. Why does this statute/section go as far as it does? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>4. Why doesn’t this statute/section go further than it does? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>5. Is this statute/section in need of reform? (Is it good for policy?) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Statutory Interpretation <ul><li>Need to interpret when plain meaning is not clear </li></ul><ul><li>Grounded in policy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>At the time of the statute being enacted (historical) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>At the time the statute is being applied (current) </li></ul></ul>