4 Aids to interpretation Activity PowerPoint

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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
Statutory Interpretation
Approaches to statutory interpretation
© The Law Bank
1
Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
Starter
You be the Judge …
Each students gets one card
containing a case in which the
courts used statutory interpretation
to make a decision.
Examine the facts of the case and
the outcome and then decide
which rule was applied by the
courts and why.
Example
Royal College of Nursing of the UK v DHSS (1981) 1 All ER
545
Use of nurses to carry out abortions who used drugs and
procedures not thought of when the Act was passed in
1967. The Act required abortions to be carried out by a
‘registered medical practitioner’.
Principle – The Act was intended to provide for safe
abortions and nurses could do this. Lord Wilberforce and
Lord Edmund Davies claimed that judges were not
interpreting legislation but re-writing it.
Share your thoughts in a mobile
paring activity.
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
Objectives
• State the different
intrinsic aids to
interpretation
• State the different
extrinsic aids to
interpretation
• State the different
rules of language
© The Law Bank
Look at each of the objectives and then
taking into account your pre-reading colour
code yourself for each of them.
Red – I don’t get it. I need some help
understanding
Amber – I think I understand but I need a
little support
Green – I understand and can try to help
others who are not so clear
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
Key Terms
• Presumptions
• Intrinsic Aids
• Extrinsic Aids
• The ejusdem generis rule
• Expressio unius est exclusio alterius
• Noscitur a sociis
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
What aids are available to judges?
Look at the following section of the Human Organ
Transport Act 1989 (you have your own example on your
desk). Highlight the words or phrases you think might
cause a problem for the court. Use a QCI format if this
helps.
Presumptions
Intrinsic
Extrinsic
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
Aid One: Presumptions
Meaning: Things we assume to be true
Common law is not
changed unless the act
expressly say so
R v Shivpuri
Criminal Attempts Act 1981 s.1(3)
Queen is not bound
Human Rights Act 1998
Criminal Offences require
mens rea
B v DPP 2000
Sweet v Parsley 1970
The law should not act
retrospectively
Human Rights Act 1998
War Crimes Act 1991
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
Aid Two: Intrinsic Aids
Meaning: Things that are internal to the Act itself
Definition sections
Look at your Human Organ Transplant Act
again – can you find examples of each of
the intrinsic aids in the statute?
Headings
Long (& short) titles
Schedules
Other sections of the Act
Draftsmen/side notes
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
Lets try it for ourselves…
Look at your Human
Organ Transplant Act
1989 again.
Using the Act answer
the following questions.
1. Look at the following scenarios:
Dan texts all his
friends asking
them if they want
to make some
money by
donating an eye.
Mark is given a
new liver by Nat,
he hands over the
keys to his house
in return.
Ian’s grandfather
donates his
kidney to Ian, who
pays for his
medical expenses
for the donation.
a. Have they broken the law?
b. What other sections of the Act did you
find useful in working out the answers?
c. Link the different sorts of law together –
can you find the delegated legislation
element of the Act?
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
Intrinsic Aids – Long and Short Title
May be used as guidance
Abortion Act 1967
Fully entitled ‘An Act to
amend and clarify the law
relating to termination of
pregnancy by registered
medical practitioners.
1. Read your copy of the Act.
2. Does the short and long title
help you answer the following
question:
a. Is it OK for nurses to carry
out abortions?
Royal College of Nursing of the United Kingdom v DHSS (1981)
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9
Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
Royal College of Nursing of the UK v DHSS (1981) 1 All ER
545
Use of nurses to carry out abortions who used drugs and procedures not thought of
when the Act was passed in 1967. The Act required abortions to be carried out by a
‘registered medical practitioner’.
Principle – The Act was intended to provide for safe abortions and nurses could do
this. Lord Wilberforce and Lord Edmund Davies claimed that judges were not
interpreting legislation but re-writing it.
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10
Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
Intrinsic Aids – Other sections
Older statutes may have a
preamble serving as a purpose
statement
Newer acts may have objectives
or purposes section - E.g. Climate
Change and Sustainable Energy
Act 2006
Look at your copy of the purpose section of
the Act:
1. How might this extra section help judges
make decisions?
2. What does the purposes section tell you
about the intention of the drafters?
3. What are the main objectives of the Act?
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
Intrinsic Aids – Schedules
Schedules appear as additions to main body of Act
Look at your copy of the Hunting
Act 2004
1. What are the exemptions to
hunting contained in the
Schedule?
2. I ask my neighbour to bring
his Jack Russell around to
dig out some rats I have
found in my garden – does
the schedule exempt my
neighbour from prosecution?
3. Make a list of five other
exemptions
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
Intrinsic Aids – Schedules
Most new Acts contain a special interpretation definition section
Look at your copy of the Law
Reform (Year and a Day
Rule) Act 1996:
1. How does the Act define a
fatal offence?
2. Which section is this
contained in?
3. How do you think this
might specifically help a
judge in interpreting the
Act?
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
Intrinsic Aids – Punctuation
Punctuation is now seen to have an effect
`in Hanlon v Law Society (1981)
Lord Lowry commented;
“To ignore punctuation disregards
the reality that literate people,
such as parliamentary draftsmen,
do punctuate what they write.”
In your groups come up with two
sentences which use the same
words but which have two
different possible meanings
because of the way you have
punctuated it.
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
Aid Two: Extrinsic Aids
Meaning: Things that are external to the Act itself
Dictionaries
Vaughan v Vaughan (1973)
Previous Acts
The Interpretation Act 1978
Reports of the Law Commission
International Treaties
Hansard
Explanatory Notes
Textbooks
© The Law Bank
1. Before you read the facts of the case what
do you think the word molest means?
2. Now check your meaning against a
dictionary definition.
3. Are they the same, close or different?
4. If I pester my wife to take me back after a
marital split does that merit molestation?
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
Vaughan v Vaughan (1973) 1 WLR 1159
In this case the court had to interpret the word ‘molest’. D had been subject to
injunctions in respect of previous violence towards his ex-wife who was afraid of him.
D argued that pestering his ex-wife to resume their relationship by going to her home
early in the morning and late at night and also calling on her at work, did not amount to
molesting her.
Principle – The judges consulted the dictionary, which defined molest as ‘to cause
trouble, vex, annoy or , to put to inconvenience’ and held that the defendant's
behaviour did amount to molestation.
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
Extrinsic Aids – Previous Acts
Wheatley (1979)
Explosives Substances Act 1883
amending the Explosives Act
1875
How can the judge use the 1883 short
title to justify applying the previous 1875
Act when he defined the term explosive
in Wheatley?
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
R v Wheatley [1979] 1 All ER 954
A man D was found in possession of a metal pipe filled with sodium chlorate and
sugar, and was charged with possessing an explosive substance contrary to s.4 of the
Explosive Substances Act 1883. He argued that its effects would be pyrotechnic rather
than explosive, but the court referred to the Explosives Act 1875, in which "explosive"
was defined as including "pyrotechnic".
Principle – Since the long title of the 1883 Act referred expressly to the 1875 Act, the
definition from the earlier statute could be imported into the later.
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
Extrinsic Aids – The Interpretation Act 1978
1. How does section 6 assist the Judge when making a decision?
2. How many other idiosyncrasies of the English language need clearing up to
make things easier to interpret?
3. Can you find 3 more in your groups?
4. Can you think of any occasion when this may still not make things clear?
Extrinsic aids also includes Reports of the Law Commission (e.g. when they
highlight what is wrong with old Act) and International Treaties (such as the
EU Law)
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
Extrinsic Aids – Hansard
Click here or on the image
opposite to access the
Parliamentary Hansard Page
1. Take a look around the
Hansard web site
2. When do you think Judges
might want to consult Hansard
as an extrinsic aid?
3. What might be the problems
using Hansard?
Hansard (the Official Report) is the
edited verbatim report of
proceedings of both the House of
Commons and the House of Lords.
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Davis v Johnson (1979)
To
Pepper v Hart (1993)
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
Extrinsic Aids – Hansard
Davis v Johnson (1979) To Pepper v Hart (1993)
Research Task – Take a look at
the decisions in the two cases
above.
What was Lord Denning’s position
about the use of Hansard in
Davis?
What did the House of Lords say?
When did the rules change?
What do the rules say now?
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
Davis v Johnson [1978] 2 WLR 553 House of Lords
This case concerned the interpretation of the Domestic Violence and Matrimonial
Proceedings Act 1976. At the Court of Appeal Lord Denning referred to Hansard
stating, that not to do so would be like 'groping in the dark without switching on the
light'. On appeal to the House of Lords the Lords reprimanded Denning for referring to
Hansard and restated the rule that Hansard must not be referred to.
Lord Kilbrandon - "It has always been a well established and salutary rule that
Hansard can never be referred to by counsel in court and therefore can never be
relied on by the court in construing a statute or for any other purpose.”
Viscount Dilhorne: - "While, of course, anyone can look at Hansard, I venture to think
that it would be improper for a judge to do so before arriving at his decision and before
this case I have never known that done. It cannot be right that a judicial decision
should be affected by matter which a judge has seen but to which counsel could not
refer and on which counsel had no opportunity to comment.”
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
Pepper (Inspector of Taxes) v Hart [1993] 1 All ER 42
The House of Lords had to decide whether a teacher at a private school had to pay
tax on the perk he received in the form of reduced school fees. The teacher sought to
rely upon a statement in Hansard made at the time the Finance Act was passed in
which the minister gave his exact circumstance as being where tax would not be
payable. Previously the courts were not allowed to refer to Hansard.
The House of Lords departed from Davis v Johnson and took a purposive approach to
interpretation holding that Hansard may be referred to and that the teacher was not
required to pay tax on the perk he received. The rules were however:
1. The wording in the Act must be ambiguous or obscure, or a literal interpretation
would lead to an absurdity.
2. Judges may look only at the statement as made by a minister or other promoter of
the bill.
3. The statements must be clear in order for them to be relied upon.
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
Extrinsic Aids – Texts and Notes
Explanatory notes are not part of Act so not an internal aid
Re Castioni (1891) – J. F. Stephen referred to his own book History of the
Criminal Law of England to define ‘political crime’
Task
You have 200 words. Explain the
difference between intrinsic and
extrinsic aids to statutory
interpretation using examples. You
have a +/- 10% margin on your word
count.
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
The Rules of Language
These are all about lists – often referred to as subsidiary rules
The courts may also choose to look at other words in the statute to ascertain
the meaning of specific words. To enable them to do this they have
developed a number of rules of language to help make the meaning of
words and phrases clear. There are three main rules of language. The first
is Ejusdem generis. There is also Expressio unius est exclusio alterius where there is a list of words which is not followed by general words, then
the Act applies only to the items in the list and Noscitur a sociis which
means the words must be looked at in the context and interpreted
accordingly. This involves considering other words in the same section of
the Act.
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
The Rules of Language - ejusdem generis
Where general words follow particular words the general words are interpreted
to be of the same kind as the particular words:
Dogs cats and other
animals
Particular words
General words
Under this rule ‘other animals’ interpreted like
‘cats and dogs.’ They are domestic animals so
this means other domestic animals
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
Powell v Kempton Park Race Course (1899) AC 143
D’s company kept an open-air enclosure used by bookmakers and
race-goers who wished to place bets. Under a Regulation it was
prohibited to keep a ‘house, office, room or other place’ for betting
purposes.
Held – The court applied the ejusdem generis rule and held the
defendant was not guilty because the enclosure was not a relevant
place. The general words of ‘or other place’ following the specific
words ‘house,’ ‘office,’ and ‘room’ referred to any defined spaces
used for betting which their enclosure was not.
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
The Rules of Language - Expressio unius est
exclusio alterius
Expression of one thing implies the exclusion of another. Where ‘particular’
words are used and not followed by ‘general words’ the Act applies only to the
particular words
Inhabitants of Sedgley (1837)
Rates were charged on ‘land, titles
and coal mines’ – therefore rates
could not charged on any mine other
than coal mines.
Q - So what if I
bite off your nose
and the Act says
its an offence to
‘stab, cut or
wound.’
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
R v Harris (1836) 7 C & P 446
The defendant bit off his victim's nose. The statute made it an
offence 'to stab cut or wound'.
Held – under the literal rule the act of biting does not mean that it
comes within the act of stabbing, cutting or wounding as these words
implied an instrument had to be used. Therefore the defendant's
conviction was made void.
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
The Rules of Language - Noscitur a sociis
Meaning of word is to be gathered from the context in which it is written.
Refreshment Houses Act 1860
– all houses, rooms, shops or
buildings kept open for
‘entertainment’ during certain
hours of the night must be
licensed.
© The Law Bank
Using the definition above if a
café stays open during the night
without a licence do they break
the law under the Refreshment
House Act? If so why?
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
Muir v Keay (1875) QBD
D ran premises called The Café; it was found open during the night,
and seventeen women and twenty men were there. They had been
supplied with cigars, coffee, and ginger beer, which they consumed..
Held – The Court applied noscitur a sociis rule and implied that
‘entertainment’ did not only mean music and theatre, but meant other
form of entertainment including drinking coffee.e house was kept
open for public refreshment, resort, and entertainment, and required
a licence.
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
Apply the Rules of Language
Consider all three rules of language and explain (using case
examples) which rule is likely to be applied to each situation
Decision
Reason
Case example
1. An Act uses the phrase ‘hamsters, dogs, cats and other animals’ and
the animal in question is a pig.
2. An Act states that it specifically applied to ‘hamsters, dogs and cats’
and the animal in question is a pig.
3. An Act mentions tigers, cages and food’ and the food in question is
domestic cat food.
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
Consolidate your understanding of
Statutory Interpretation
Question
Consider whether the current approach to Statutory
Interpretation gives too much power to the judges
Describe the impact of membership of the EU on
statutory interpretation
Choose a question
appropriate to your
level of understanding
– try and push
yourself.
Prepare an answer
that you will have to
explain to other
members of the class
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Describe the difference between the broad and narrow
approaches in the golden rule
Explain what is meant by the literal rule
Identify one word which has caused problems for the
court and explain why.
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
Can you apply all you have learnt?
The Christmas Day Act 2010
This is an act to encourage the celebration of Christmas
as a national holiday and time of charity
This Act provides that:
Apply the law to the following scenarios,
using the rules or aids to interpretation
1.
2.
3.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Christmas shall only be celebrated in Christmas the
month of December
Every household shall buy a tree, wreath or other
greenery.
Every household shall display a wreath at the
entrance to their house
All deer shall be given a red nose for the occasion.
All adults shall be entitled to a free mince pie,
Christmas cake or food in celebration
Breach of the sections will result in a summary
conviction punishable by a maximum of £200 fine
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4.
5.
6.
Bob owns a very large house with a
long, windy drive. He has placed a
wreath at the gate at the top of the drive.
The Smiths decide to purchase a holly
bush to celebrate
Louise has decided to paint the noses of
the deer in the local park red for
Christmas
Carol does some research and
discovers that Jesus was born in March.
She decides to celebrate Christmas
then.
James does not like mince pies and
takes a in turkey as his free food.
Pick two cards from the act which you
think will cause problems, and come up
with a better definition!
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Statutory Interpretation
Aids and rules
Objectives
• State the different intrinsic
aids to interpretation
• State the different extrinsic
aids to interpretation
• State the different rules of
language
© The Law Bank
Look at each of the objectives and
then colour code yourself for each of
them.
Red – I don’t get it. I need some help
understanding
Amber – I think I understand but I
need a little support
Green – I understand and can try to
help others who are not so clear
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