Over time, the judiciary has developed four rules to help in the interpretation of a statute. They are the literal rule, the golden rule, the mischief rule and the purposive approach.
Any one of these rules can be referred to if Statutory interpretation is necessary in a legal case, where a Statutes meaning and purpose is not entirely clear.
It is at the discretion of a judge or court as to whether they use any of the rules and in what order.
The literal rule is used to interpret a statute 's wording in its most basic form. When words in the statute have a very clear definition that cannot be misconstrued, the everyday meaning will apply to the facts and a judgment will rule to that effect.
An example of the literal rule is highlighted in the case of R v Harris  7 C & P 446, the statute made it an offence 'to stab, cut or wound ', the offence in question was biting. The courts ruled that biting did not fall under the same description as to stab, cut or wound as these also implied a weapon would need to have been used. The defendant was found not guilty (The Open University, 2015a, 4.1).
The golden rule is applied when the literal rule would lead to interpreting a statute in a very narrow context, broader meanings can be looked for and applied.
Where language has evolved since the statutes ' creation and Parliament could not have foreseen words having more than one definition, or would not accept an unfair outcome, the court or judge can look at the meaning of the statutes words in a broader context, ...
... middle of paper ...
...o costly appeals and miscarriages of justice. Great care must be taken when cases come before them and this is where statutory interpretation assists.
Precedent is used throughout the common law system and began as judge-made case-law in England dating back to 1154. Past decisions of judges have been documented by the courts since this time in the form of written
and law reports.
a statute law does not exist a court is bound to follow a judicial precedent from a court of higher standing should a like-for-like case be presented to them.
the common law system that relates to a reported
or decision that has been made in a court that becomes binding on other courts to follow the same process and
where a like case exists. There is a hierarchy to how judicial precedent filters through the court systems
a statute does no
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