. on how courts use these methodologies. on how courts use these methodologies



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The United Kingdom
written law is known as statute law, also identified as legislation. These laws
are created and implement by Parliament and enforced by various authorities. This
assignment has the objective to give a better explanation of statutory
interpretation and the methodologies associated with it. Moreover, it shows a
more comprehensive understanding on how courts use these methodologies to
interpret statutes when is needed. There are three main rules associated on
statutory interpretation described as the literal rule, the golden rule and
mischief rule. This assignment will be completed by setting; the reasons for
the courts using these rules will be thoroughly explained.


Before sketching out the methodologies of statutory
interpretation, it is important to comprehend the correct importance of it. Statutory
interpretation is the process by which courts interprets legislation or an act
of parliament to a better understanding of the statute. House of Lords receives
the cases and those cases are concerned with statutory interpretation, the
words of a statute can have straightforward meaning, however, sometimes courts
have to interpret statutes because those words can be confusing and indistinct
to understand as they can have diverse meaning. These words need to be understood
precisely in order that the respondents get the right sentence for the crimes
they are being accused, that is one of the reasons that judges role is clarify the
uncertainty of these words may cause. To approach the correct method
parliaments created the interpretation Act 1978 to guide judges when applying
statutes as bills and legislation and the interpretation Act 1978 states that “In any Act, unless the contrary intention
appears; words importing the masculine gender include the feminine, words importing
the feminine gender include the masculine, words in the singular include the
plural and words in the plural include the singular.”  (Essay sauce, 2017) This part of the act was
designed to help the judges with general words. Nowadays, most statutes contain
an interpretation section to facilitate the courts. These sections summaries
what the words contains and how they should be conducted. 

Statutory rules

To assess the statutory interpretation is needed the use of three
explicit statutory rules. Rules had been established so framework of
interpretation could be provided, these rules are the common approach in terms
of examining the meaning of languages used in courts. These are known as the
Literal Rule, the Golden Rule and the Mischief Rule.


Literal rule

This rule is the first of many rules of statutory
interpretation. Literal rule is can be defined as giving words as they are
given their ordinary and natural meaning. Courts normally applies to literal
rule before applying to any other rules, although, when this rule are applied
the law is read word by word and courts have the job to interpret this word as
they actually are and not explain in the way they think they should be
explained. As an example of literal rule case of Fisher v Bell (1960), where a retailer
had a knife for display on his shop window. “Any person who manufactures, sells or hires or offers for sale or hire
any knife which has a blade which opens automatically by hand pressure applied
to a button shall be guilty of an offence” (Essay Sauce,2017) Restriction
of offensive weapon Act (1959) Essay sauce, 2017). This Act practically
recommends that the retailer should be convicted as guilty. But, the court
determined that this retailer was not a victim of any offence. The owner only
had the knife in the shop window with a price and was not selling it. Even
though, the Restriction of Offensive Weapons Act 1959 says that an individual should
not bargain knife blade for sale, it is certain that this term should be given
the literal rule and the shop owner should not be prosecuted. Many cases which
involves the literal rule have caused numerals problem, there have been
circumstances in which literal rule has caused injustice. The public could
believe that judges are being partial and that some people do not deserve the sentence
that they have been given. Also, the literal rule can be very difficult to
apply in some cases.

Golden Rule

This rule has the same principles of literal rule and is
used when literal interpretation causes an unjust result, in other words the
golden rule is a modification of literal rule and it enable the judges to look
at the words in context. The court always begins the case with literal rule
approach, however, if this rule fails on its logic, then golden rule could be
applied. The golden rule can be interpreted in two ways; a narrow approach and
a wide approach. The narrow approach term reflects on the judge’s views of how
the golden rule must be applied and has more than one meaning, in this case the
judge applies the meaning which best outfits the situation in which the word is
being interpreted. The R v Allen 1872 and Adler v Georgia 1964 cases are
probably the best case which exemplifies the use of golden rule, the R v Allen
case, the defendant Allen was accused adultery. The section 57 of the Offences
Against the Person Act 1861 evidently states that ‘anyone who being married shall marry any other person during the life
of the former husband/wife shall be guilty of bigamy.’   (Legislation.gov.uk, 2002) The challenge
caused in court was in relation to the word marry. So, to make sense the court decided that the word married should
also means a legal form and ceremony of marriage with another person.
Nevertheless, as the defendant was already married it only made sense to the judges
to implement the general meaning of the word. If the judges applied to another
meaning of the word, otherwise this would have led to bigamy and could result
in an absurd verdict.

The wide approach by Adler v George 1964 showed that the defendant
was accused for obstructing a guard in the execution of his duty as the Act
1920 outlines that no person in vicinity duty or the chief officer shall be
obstructed or the person will be convicted as guilty. The defendant claimed
that since he was in the forbidden place and not in the vicinity of it, he
should not be found guilty.  Moreover, If
the court agreed to use the first term, that would say that the defendant would
be innocent as and that would be an absurd decision. Courts came across this
decision to clarify that whether a person are near or in the vicinity of the
prohibited place, it is not right to obstruct it.


Mischief Rule

Mischief rule is the oldest rules. This rule is principle
used to interpret statutes, judges can apply into statutory interpretation to discover
Parliament’s intention but this rule requires that he court should look first
to what the law was before the statute, in order to discover what gap or
mischief the statute was intended to cover. The court is then essential for the
interpretation of the statute in a way that the gap is covered. The rule
summaries the Heydon’s Case (1584), where it was said that for the true
interpretation of a statute, a few aspects have to be taken in consideration
such as what was the common law before the making of the Act, what was the
mischief and defect for which the common law did not provide and the true
reason of the remedy.

At one level it is evidently the most flexible rule of
interpretation, but it is limited to using previous common law to determine
what mischief the Act in question was designed to remedy. The case itself concerned
a dispute about legislation passed under Henry VIII in 1540 and a legal action
against Heydon for intruding into certain lands in the county of Devon.

As an example, for mischief rule is found in the case of
Corkery v Carpenter (1951). In 1951 Shane Corkery was condemned to one month in
jail for being drunk in charge of a bicycle in public. At about 2.45 p.m. on 18
January 1950, the defendant was drunk and was pushing his pedal bicycle along
Broad Street in Ilfracombe. He was subsequently charged under section 12 of the
Licensing Act 1872 with being drunk in charge of a carriage. The 1872 Act made
no actual reference to bicycles. The court elected to use the mischief rule to
decide the matter. The objective of the Act was to prevent people from using any
form of transport on a public highway whilst in a state of intoxication. The
bicycle was clearly a form of transport and therefore the user was correctly
charged. (Law student, 2010) Lawade.com



To summarise, this assignment explained that statutory
interpretation is a method of interpreting and applying legislation.  It is vital to use statutory interpretation as
a guide to control the fundamental meanings to statutes and legislation. This
includes applying the common law rules of statutory interpretation against the
present case.