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Judges and the law
Judges and the law

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6.9 Summary of Part E

Rule, approach or aidCommentCases
The literal ruleUses plain ordinary grammatical meaning of words and avoids judicial law making, but can lead to absurd decisions and injustices and assumes unattainable perfection in draftsmanshipFisher v Bell (1960)
The golden ruleThis starts from the literal approach but avoids absurdity or inconsistency and the court can modify or add words. It is limited in scope and there is no definition or measurement for an absurdityAdler v George (1964) Re Sigsworth (1935)
The mischief ruleThis looks at the gap in the previous rule and interprets the words so as to advance the remedy. Is very near to the purposive approach and has been favoured by the Law Commission in a review of the rules of statutory interpretationCorkery v Carpenter (1951)
The purposive approachLooks for the intention of Parliament and allows for judicial law makingPickstone v Freemans plc (1998)
Rules of languageLooks at other words in the statute: general words which follow a list are limited to the same kind; a list of words which is not followed by a general word is limited to the items on the list; a word is known by the company it keeps
Intrinsic aidsThings in the Act, especially short or long title, any preamble and definition, sections. Also 1978 Interpretation Act
Extrinsic aidsThings outside the statute which help place it in context, e.g. earlier statutes, Hansard, international conventions