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Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Presumption against Implicit changes in Law
"I cannot believe that the power to effect such radical and far-reaching changes in the law of contract was intended, or should be deemed to have been intended, by a loosely drafted sub-section in an Act that has declared its purpose and scope to be otherwise."
The question of the application of the principle to criminal law statutes was raised before the Supreme Court in DPP v Gray. The Supreme Court reiterated the general principle that general words in a later Act should not be presumed to repeal or amend earlier legislation, so long as they were capable of reasonable construction without effecting any such amendment. However, McCarthy J, dissenting, noted that there was no authority regarding the application of this principle to criminal law statutes . The principle that criminal statutes should be strictly construed for the benefit of the individual could have an impact on the operation in this area of the presumption against unclear changes. The Court applied the principle and found that the two statutes which were at issue in the case could stand together and operate separately and individually, without one being considered to have implicitly repealed another.
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- Contd..Long Title
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