Statutory Interpretation - Introduction (The Need for Statutory…
Statutory Interpretation - Introduction
separation of powers: parliament makes laws, judges apply them
words can be blunt, with more than one meaning or using old fashioned language, leading to absurd results
interpretation sections are used to aid understanding, by defining terms etc.
for example, :black_flag: s.1 Theft Act 1968 defining 'theft'
The Need for Statutory Interpretation
there may be words designed to cover several possibilities
in the :black_flag: Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 there is a phrase 'any dog of the type known as the pit bull terrier'
in :red_flag: Brock v DPP it was decided that 'type' had a wider meaning than 'breed' and it could cover characteristics too
this is where a word has two or meanings and it may not be clear which meaning should be used
a drafting error
the Parliamentary Counsel who drafted the original Bill may have made an error unnoticed by Parliament.
likely to occur where the Bill is amended several times while going through Parliament
where several old Acts have been brought together in one Act, there may be differences in the wording, which causes confusion
seen in :black_flag: s.18 and s.20 of the OAPA where s.18 uses the word 'cause' whilst s.20 uses 'inflict'.
:red_flag: R v Burstow, HL decided that they did have different meanings, but it would be absurd to differentiate the two sections
new technology may mean that an old Act of Parliament does not apply to cover modern day situations
this is seen in :red_flag: Royal College of Nursing v DHSS where medical science and methods had changed since the passing of the Abortion Act 1967
changes in the use of language
the meaning of words can change over the years.
seen in :red_flag: Cheeseman v DPP