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The most comprehensive coverage on the construction of Statutes. It includes parts of statutes,Extrinsic-Aids,Intrinsic aids, Reading down, Amendments,Repeals,codifications,Quasi-Judicial agencies,Non-obstante clause,Mandatory/Declatory provisions,Tax ,Beneficial, Criminal,Fiscal Statute's Interpretation and sub-ordinate legislations.Besides it contains the Rules of Interpretation and the Role of Judiciary.Citations are in abundance.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Plain Meaning Rule...Contd..

It is an established rule of construction that a literal interpretation should not be departed from unless there are adequate grounds for such departure[1].In the present case the meaning of the word’practice’ was being analysed. Plain Meaning Rule

The Plain meaning rule is also known as the literal rule, is a type ofs construction which dictates that statutes are to be interpreted using the ordinary meaning of the language of the statute. According to the this rule, words must be given their plain, ordinary and literal meaning. If the words are clear, they must be applied, even though the intention of the legislator may have been different or the result is harsh or undesirable[2]. The Literal Rule applies words of a statute in their natural and ordinary sense with nothing added and nothing taken away, even if an inexpedient, unjust or immoral outcome occurs, i.e. the court can neither extend the statute to a casus omissus [an omitted case which should have been, but has not been, provided for in the statute] nor curtail it by leaving out a casus male inclusus [a case that the statute literally includes, though it should not have].

Widow of a railway worker tried to obtain compensation after her husband was killed by a train, He had been routine maintenance and oiling not ‘relaying or repairing‘ tracks. So she was not entitled to compensation[3].observations Viscount Simonds 10 years later in said he “did not detract one jot from what I said in London & North Eastern Ry. Co. v Berriman[4]

The "golden rule" of statutory construction is stated succinctly in Grey v. Pearson [supra] at pages 104-5 as follows:

... in construing wills and indeed statutes, and all written instruments, the grammatical and ordinary sense of the words is to be adhered to, unless that would lead to some absurdity, or some repugnance or inconsistency with the rest of the instrument, in which case the grammatical and ordinary sense of the words may be modified, so as to avoid the absurdity and inconsistency, but no further.

This "rule" can be divided into two principles: a) the principle which requires that the words of a provision be interpreted in their grammatical and ordinary sense; and b) the principle that the grammatical and ordinary sense of the words be followed unless it leads to an absurdity, repugnancy, or inconsistency. These principles are useful for resolving the issues in this case[5].



[2] Prof. Larry Solum's expands on this premise[ Legal Theory Lexicon]

“Some laws are meant for all citizens (e.g., criminal statutes) and some are meant only for specialists (e.g., some sections of the tax code). A text that means one thing in a legal context, might mean something else if it were in a technical manual or a novel. So the plain meaning of a legal text is something like the meaning that would be understood by competent speakers of the natural language in which the text was written who are within the intended readership of the text and who understand that the text is a legal text of a certain type.”

[3] London and North Eastern Railway Company v Berriman (1946) HL

[4]Tool Metal Manufacturing Co, Ltd v Tungsten Electric Co, Ltd [1955] HL

[5] IN THE MATTER OF THE UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE ACT - and - IN THE MATTER OF a claim for benefit by Timothy J. BENOIT IN THE MATTER OF an appeal to an Umpire by the claimant from the decision of a Board of Referees given at London, Ontario on September 6, 1996.

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