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Judges and the law
Judges and the law

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6.7 Intrinsic aids

Intrinsic aids are matters within an Act itself which may help make the meaning clearer. The court may consider the long title, the short title and any preamble. Other useful internal aids may include headings before a group of sections and any schedules attached to the Act. There are also often marginal notes explaining different sections; however, these are not generally regarded as giving Parliament's intention as they will have been inserted after parliamentary debates and are only helpful comments put in by the printer.

Some Acts include sections in which words are expressly defined. For example, the 1963 Animal Boarding Act section 5(2) states: ‘In this Act animal means any dog or cat.’ The Interpretation Act 1978 section 6 also states that unless the contrary intention appears, words importing the masculine gender also include the feminine and words importing the feminine gender also include the masculine. In addition, words in the singular also include the plural and words in the plural include the singular.