Interpreting statues

In the modern legal system judges rind it very hard to interpret the meaning of what statue want to achieve and are supposed to stand for. Approximately 50% of 'Court of appeal cases and 75% of house of Lord cases are related to interpretation of statues. The problem mainly exist in what does the statue actually mean and what was their purpose, this has been a problem because of the fact that some statue are so old. Other problems may include that some words within the statues may have more than one meaning.

To solve this problem the 'Interpretation act of 1978' helps the judges prescribe the manner in which certain words and phrases should be interpreted. For example when a statue may say 'If a man shall… ' it also means women. To make the job easier for the judge they gave several methods to help their interpretation statues, they include 'The literal rule' 'The golden rule' and 'The mischief rule, or the rule is Haden's case. ' The judge also has at their disposal Maxims, this are other methods which can help a judge interpret statues, they also give the judge more insight to why the statues where made and the purpose.

Methods include, maxims, presumptions of interpretation and aids to construction e. g. intrinsic and extrinsic aids. The literal rule is when the judges interpretation the law exactly how it's written including all grammatically influence. For example in the case of Measure vs. Measure (1960), the Matrimonial causes act 1950 stated that you can file for divorce, if your partner was in a mental institution for 5 years continuously. Mrs. Measure was in a mental institution for a total of seven years, but she was treated cancer for a total or two weeks during her stay of seven years.

The judge used the literal rule when deciding on the outcome, saying that Mrs. Measure didn't stay in the mental institution for 5 years continuously. The husband was denied a divorce. Another part of the statue is the actual wording of it. For example words within it can have several different meaning, for example the word 'mean' in maths means the average but in general terms it to not be nice to somebody. So to help the judge he must use the general meaning of a word when it concerning ever body, but when the statue is concerning a specific trade of industry the interpretation of that word would be one of tat trade or industry.

Th rule is highly criticised because of much reason. Old statues consist of many difficult to understand words. And by using this rule it can create a lot of controversy and the judge may not interpret it, the way it was meant for. An example includes the case of Inland Revenue vs. Hincky (1960). The case was concerning the incorrect competition of a tax form. Where the penalty was 'three times the ought to of been paid' presumably the law meant that Mr. Hincky was supposed to pay three times the difference owed.

Th literal rule interpreted Mr Hincky should pay three times tax owed. The high court rules that he should pay i?? 48 instead of i?? 481. On the other hand the literal rule is their so judges interpreted the law as it reads, and in direct result the law it interpreted the way it was meet for. This rule was often used in earlier stags of statue interpretation. But with the existence of so many cases, judges are changing their ways. The next rule that a judge can use when interpreting statues in the 'Golden rule. ' Or sometimes referred to as the modifying rule.

If the application of the literal leads to absurdity, repugnancy or inconsistency with the rest of the instrument then the judge can change or modified the statues meaning that they think parliament originally intended. This came about from the case of Becke vs. Smith (1836). For example in the case of Maddox vs. Storer (1936), the road traffic act 1960 stated that is was an offence to drive at over 30 mph in a vehicle which ahs been adapted to carry over 7 passengers. The literal would have meant that any vehicle that could carry over 7 passengers wasn't allowed to drive over 30 mph.

The appellant was convicted of driving over 30 mph in a minilouses. That made the law very absurd, so the judge modified the statue to mean suitable or adapted. The conviction was later over turned. Criticisms of the golden rule come few and far between. The idea of the rule is to make the literal rule less ridiculous and more sensible, by changing the way the statue was intended to say. It is also in the situation of absurdity, that the statues make sense. For example in the case of R vs. Allen concerning the offences against the persons act (1861). Stated 'any person who being married.

Marries another… ' The literal rule would make that an absurdity. So the judge used the 'Golden rule'. Saying that parliament would of intended the statue to interpret saying 'if you are already married, and go through the marriage ceremony with the intention of marriage' You are liable to be prosecuted. On the other hand the modifying rule if very subjective, and can take away the whole idea of the literal rule and in some cases the statute may not be interpreted the way it was meant for. It is also given a judge a lot more control on how they see a statue.

And then the way they modify the statue. Like in the case of Cookery vs. Carpenter (1981). Where the stated that a if a person who is drunk and who is in charge of a carriage, can be in arrayed without a warrant. At the time the defendant was riding a bicycle and then the judge ruled that a bicycle was classed as a carriage. This is a classic example of the modifying rule where used and the judge ruled that a bicycle was a carriage. The last rule of interpretation statues is the Mischief rule or the rule in Heydon's case. When the judge is considering interpretation of statues.

Along with interpretation rules, the judge must consider maxims when deciding on what statues mean. Maxims are Latin terms with are briefly covered when we talk about the rule of statuary interpretation. The first maims is 'Noscritura Socis' which means that words within the statue must be judge in the company that's is keeps. In other words like in the literal rule, the words are either interpretation as it's general application when talking in general, or the word associated with their specific industry or trade when a case is about a certain industry or trade.

'Ejus Dem Generis' this Latin term means the general word used by the way of summary are taken to refer only to things of the kind in which they fall within the category. And you directly associated a topic. For example when you put cats into a topic you are exclude dogs. The final maxim is 'Expressio iniv s est exclusiv alterius' this means when on thing is mention it also means the exclusion of an another. For example when you mention green cars I also means that it means the exclusion of all blue cars. The second part of maxims is presumption, intrinsic and extrinsic aids.

These are there to tell the judge more about what the statues purpose was and insight to the statues. Presumption is what the judge has to already assume the statue include. Presumption include, that the act applies to 'England and Wales. ' The crown is not bound by an act of parliament. Presumptions are against the alteration of common law, and retrospect effect and presumption are against infringement of international law. This are there to make sure everybody is bound by the law. The final stage of interpretation of statues is 'Aids to construction' or Intrinsic and Extrinsic aids.

These aids are from outside and inside the act, and help a judge's interpretation of statues easier. Intrinsic aids are help within statues and can raise form the title of the act, the punctuation and the headings. It must be noted that this is and aid not a rule, so the judge may use this as optional. An Extrinsic aid, is help from outside the statues, for example the Interpretation act 1978, e. g. it can assume variation unless the contrary intention appears. In other words if the statues state a singular it also means plural and vice a versa.

The advantage of extrinsic aids is that using information form outside the statues you are given more of an idea of why that statue was created and it's purpose. Causing less problems when judges interpreting statues. The disadvantages of extrinsic aids is that the statues went created with this is mind, and by using this method it could possible change the meaning of statues for the worse. Intrinsic aids are very useful, this can also tell us better ways to interpret the, unlike the extrinsic aids this is very useful in interpretation because when righting out the statues they would of taking into account grammatical influence.

The only disadvantage is that not all statue took so long to consider, and especially really old the parliament might not of taking so much care. Conclusion Judges have much method in which of interpreting statues, ranging from aids of construction to rule of interpretation. Although some of the methods are very subject able, and come with many advantages and disadvantages. It really comes down to judge's interpretation. Ranging from methods, to rule and maxims the judge has a wide range of decision, which can present a problem in it's own, but judges won't be able to complain.

In the case of interpreting statues using the three rules. It can cause a lot of controversy. Due to the fact of human error and the defendant of the plaintiff would want the statue interpreted differently. Over the years judges have changed the way they interpretative statues have moved away from the traditional 'the literal rule' to the 'golden rule' because of taking surrounding circumstances into consideration. As shown in the Pepper vs. Hart case (1993).