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Friday, June 4, 2010

Presumption Against Intending What Is Inconvenient Or Unreasonable

The opening paragraph of c. 10 of Maxwell on Interpretation of Statutes, 12th ed. (1969), p. 199, reads:
“Construction Most Agreeable To Justice And Reason
“1. Presumption Against Intending What Is Inconvenient Or Unreasonable
“In determining either the general object of the legislature, or the meaning of its language in any particular passage, it is obvious that the intention which appears to be most in accord with convenience, reason, justice and legal principles should, in all cases of doubtful significance, be presumed to be the true one. ‘An intention to produce an unreasonable result is not to be imputed to a statute if there is some other construction available.’ Where to apply words literally would ‘defeat the obvious intention of the legislation and produce a wholly unreasonable result’ we must ‘do some violence to the words’ and so achieve that obvious intention and produce a rational construction. The question of inconvenience or unreasonableness must be looked at in the light of the state of affairs at the date of the passing of the statute, not in the light of subsequent events.”
The presumption is amplification of another presumption that states that  Parliament/legislature acts reasonably.There appears to be no material difference between the two.The earlier presumption appears at the link given below.[blogger] 
Link for Presumption that Parliament Acts reasonably

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