Statutory interpretation (The rules of interpretation (Mischief rule =…
The rules of interpretation
Mischief rule = Wider approach than the literal rule. Using this rule, judges can look outside the Act to discover the purpose behind the law (true intention of Parliament for passing it). They loom at the problem or mischief that the original law law was passes to solve to identify the purpose behind the new law. E.g. Smith v Hughes (meaning of soliciting in the street), RCN v DHSS (meaning of registered medical practitioner).
Enables judges to look at external aids (flexible).
Promotes purpose of law - allows judges to look at gap in law which Act was designed to cover, ensuring it's filled. (e.g. Smith v Hughes - guilty because law aimed to stop nuisance in street).
Likely to produce just result - judges aim to produce result Parliament intended.
Purposive approach = Widest approach, modern and goes beyond the mischief rule. Judges seek to identify the purpose behind the law and interpret it in a way that best achieves the result Parliament intended. E.g. Fitzpatrick v Sterling (meaning of member of the family).
Golden rule = An extension of the literal rule. Where the literal rule would have produced a an absurd or unjust outcome, judges use this rule to adopt a wider interpretation to avoid this. E.g. Re Sigsworth (interpreting next of kin), R v Allen (meaning of marry), Adler v George (meaning of in the vicinity).
Avoids absurd results (e.g. R v Allen - meaning of marry to catch bigamy).
Provides escape route where there's a problem with literal rule.
Only used in limited situation so avoids judges making decisions to great extent. Respects Supremacy of Parliament as it assumes absurd result was not intended.
Not always possible to define absurdity - open to interpretation by judges (e.g. Whiteley v Chappell - could be absurd result)
Not always possible to predict when it will be used - Michael Zander described as feeble parachute (an escape route but cant do much).
Limited use - only used on rare occasions where there'd be an absurd or unjust outcome.
Literal rule = Where judges give words their ordinary, natural meaning. Links with common sense and often produces the result Parliament intended. E.g. Dpp v Cheeseman (meaning of passenger), Whiteley v Chappell (meaning of person entitled to vote), LNER v Berriman (meaning of repairing).
Respects Supremacy of Parliament - follows word used by democratically elected Parliament.
Provides more certainty in law - predictable, consistent outcome as law is interpreted exactly as written.
Often achieves result Parliament intended.
Assumes Act is perfectly written (LC says perfection in drafting not possible) - not possible to word an Act to cover every situation. (e.g. Whiteley v Chappell - defendent found not guilty due to person entitled to vote).
Words have more than 1 meaning in dictionary so literal meaning can be unclear.
Following words exactly can lead to unjust decisions (e.g. LNER v Berriman - case failed due to not allowing maintenance in repairing.