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Learning Legal RulesA Students' Guide to Legal Method and Reasoning

Learning Legal Rules: A Students' Guide to Legal Method and Reasoning (11th edn)

James Holland and Julian Webb
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date: 03 October 2023

p. 2247. Making Sense of Statuteslocked

p. 2247. Making Sense of Statuteslocked

  • James HollandJames HollandEmeritus Professor of Employment Law University of the West of England, Bristol
  •  and Julian WebbJulian WebbProfessor of Law University of Melbourne, Australia


This chapter focuses on a topic rarely covered in academic texts: why statutes have a particular form and how to read and apply that statutory language (the next chapter deals with specific points of interpretation of statutes). The chapter discusses the techniques and problems of analysing the structure of statutes. It describes how statutes are set out, what particular catch phrases mean, and how to make sense of the opaque language often used. It covers drafting styles and practices; the problems of drafting statutes in English law, comprehensibility, and awareness of how the courts are likely to interpret them; examples of drafting practices and how to approach them; techniques for amending earlier statutes, either wholesale or in section and other key points on drafting.

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