Statutory Interpretation Essay

2052 words - 8 pages

What is Statutory Interpretations?Statutory Interpretations is the process by which Judges interpret Acts of Parliament. 75% of cases heard by the House of Lords are concerned with statutory interpretation. Statutory Interpretation is the process of reading and applying statutory laws, and judges trying to find out the intention of parliament when passing the law. Sometimes the words of a statute have a plain and straightforward meaning. But in most cases, there is some ambiguity (can be interpreted in more than one way) or vagueness (unclear) in the words of the statute that must be resolved by the judge. An example of where the language was unclear can be seen in the case of Twining v Myers (1982), where court has to decide whether roller skates amounted to a 'vehicle'. There may be other cases where the meaning of words change over time, for example the Offences Against a Persons Act 1861 uses the word "malicious" and "grievous" which either would not be used in this modern day and time, or if used have different meanings to which was intended when the Drafts Man of the act write it. Other means of when Statutory interpretations would be needed is when Drafting errors are present in the bill, this happens mostly when bills are rushed in times of emergency.Problems of interpreting statutes?The problems with interpreting statues is that Judges have to decide what parliament meant by a particular piece of legislation. In most cases judges correctly judge of what the intentions of parliament was at the time of passing the law and whether it still applies in the present time. However, as you with all methods there are disadvantages. Judges can often miss-interpret the act or legislation. Other factors which may arise as a problem is their ruling must abide with the Human Rights Act and European Law. This may lead to laws not being applied by which parliament intended as it contradicts higher laws which may not have been present at the time of the passing of legislation.How judges deal with problems of statutory interpretation?i. PresumptionsA judge begins by assuming certain things. These will be taken to be true unless a good argument is given to demonstrate that the presumption should not apply. These presumptions are:· That the law has not been changed - unless the act shows a clear intention to change it;· That mens rea is required in criminal cases;· That parliament has not changed the law 'retrospectively' (that the stature does not affect past acts, to make illegal something that was legal at the time it was done).ii. Presumptions of language:· Ejusdem generis (of the same kind) - general words following particular words are of the same class: (for example, 'tradesman, workman, labourer or other person whatsoever' will only cover person of a similar type). In the case of Powell v Kempton Park Racecourse (1899), the words 'other place' were held to mean 'other indoor place' because the list referred to a 'house,...

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