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Chapter

This chapter discusses how to use legislation. It first looks at the ‘anatomy’ of an Act of Parliament and describes each of its composite parts. It then considers the various means by which the courts can interpret the wording of statutory provisions, including a discussion of the impact of the European Communities Act 1972 and the Human Rights Act 1998.

Chapter

This chapter discusses how to use legislation. It first looks at the ‘anatomy’ of an Act of Parliament and describes each of its composite parts. It then considers the various means by which the courts can interpret the wording of statutory provisions, including a discussion of the impact of the European Communities Act 1972 and the Human Rights Act 1998.

Chapter

7. Interpreting the terms  

Construction, rectification, and mutual mistake

This chapter considers how the courts make sense of contracts whose terms are capable of more than one interpretation. It begins by discussing two broad approaches to construing contracts, both of which have influenced English law and both of which continue to form part of the law: literalism and contextualism. It then examines the role English law currently assigns to literalism and contextualism and how the courts decide which to apply, with particular emphasis on the Investors rule and contextual readings. It also evaluates an alternate remedy known as rectification and concludes with an analysis of the limits of construction and the law of mutual mistake.

Chapter

This chapter explains the significance of statutory interpretation and how problems of interpretation arise. The chapter considers in detail the courts’ approach to interpretation, and traditional rules such as the literal rule, the golden rule, and the mischief rule are all analysed with examples from the case law. In modern times the courts employ a more purposive approach to interpretation, and there is coverage of how this approach works in practice. In particular, the chapter outlines a range of intrinsic and extrinsic aids to interpretation that the courts can rely on in interpreting an Act of Parliament. Among others, these aids include the long title, cross-headings, marginal or side notes, dictionaries, pre-parliamentary materials, statutes on the same subject matter, and, most notably, Hansard. The chapter concludes with an overview of the rules of language, namely ejusdem generis, noscitur a sociis, and expressio unius est exclusio alterius.