Principles of Business Lw LAW4250
DATE: Autumn 2011
18th October 2011
What are the principal powers available to the courts in connection with the interpretation and application of statutory legislation. How do judicial principles of statutory interpretation engage with these interpretive powers.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETION OF THE ASSIGNMENT:
Candidates will be expected to present the assignment in the form of an essay of no more than 1500 words. Candidates will be expected to refer to the recommended textbook, Keenan & Riches’ Business Law (10th Edition). Credit will be given where candidates have clearly shown independent research by reference to other relevant textbooks and legal journals/articles.
Marks will be given for:
* Level of response to the presented reflective questions (analysis and reflection). * Level of response to and engagement with the challenges posed by Project A and B (research). * Extensive discussion of self-development and self-directed learning (communication and management). * Reflective writing focusing on the module subject area (analysis and reflection).
Statute legislation is a primary source of law, superior to common law, possessing the power to override this law where necessary. A court would generally assume that the common law stated has not been altered unless the statute law shows blatant intention to change it. For this reason the courts will be concerned about how the language expressed in this law should be interpreted. With statutory interpretation come presumptions. In addition to the assumption that common law remains unchanged, the court would presume that the statute does not propose to be in retrospective, therefore does not aim to make illegal something previously legal in its time of occurrence, unless the statute clearly states intent. In criminal cases, the accused necessitates mens rea. ‘This term refers to the mental element in the definition of crime. This mental element is usually denoted with words such as, ‘intentionally’, ‘knowingly’, ‘maliciously’, ‘recklessly’, or ‘negligently’. To outline the principal powers available to the courts regarding statutory interpretation and application, we must look at cases and the enforcement of the principal rules of statutory interpretation, the literal rule, the golden rule, the mischief rule, and the purposive approach.
The literal rule
The literal rule was initiated on the supposition that the Parliament portrayed their intentions in passing the act by the words they used. The rule revolves around the basis that you look at what exactly was said and not what it might mean, leading judges to give words their literal meaning although this might sometimes lead to insensible results. In the Duport Steel vs. Sirs case in 1980, Lord Diplock said, “If statute’s meaning is clear and unambiguous then it must be applied, even if the result is inexpedient, unjust or immoral.” ‘If the words of an Act are clear then you must follow them even though they lead to a manifest absurdity. The court has nothing to do with the question whether the legislature has committed an absurdity’ per Lord Esher in R vs. Judge of the City of London Court  This rule was developed in the 19th century and has been, since then, the main of the interpretation rules applied.
These are some examples of cases that show use of this rule.
Whiteley and Chappell (1868)
In this case, the defendant used the identity of a dead person to vote and was charged with the impersonation of ‘anyone entitled to vote’. Due to the courts holding that the dead were not entitle to vote, the defendant was not guilty of an offence and walked.
London & North Eastern Railway Co. v. Berriman 
In this case, while oiling several points on the track, doing maintenance work, a railway worker was. His widow made a claim with the...
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