The golden rule is that the words of a statute must prima facie be given their ordinary meaning. It is yet another rule of construction that when the words of the statute are clear, plain and unambiguous, then the courts are bound to give effect to that meaning, irrespective of the consequences. It is said that the words themselves best declare the intention of the law-giver. In law, the Golden rule, or British rule, is a form of statutory construction traditionally applied by English courts. The golden rule allows a judge to depart from a word's normal meaning in order to avoid an absurd result.
The term "golden rule" seems to have originated in an 1854 court ruling, and implies a degree of enthusiasm for this particular rule of construction over alternative rules that has not been shared by all subsequent judges. For example, one judge made a point of including this note in a 1940 decision: "The golden rule is that the words of a statute must prima facie be given their ordinary meaning."
Although it points to a kind of middle ground between the plain meaning (or literal) rule and the mischief rule, the golden rule is not, in a strict sense, a compromise between them. Like the plain meaning rule, the golden rule gives the words of a statute their plain, ordinary meaning. However, when this may lead to an irrational result that is unlikely to be the legislature's intention, the golden rule dictates that a judge can depart from this meaning. In the case of homographs, where a word can have more than one meaning, the judge can choose the preferred meaning; if the word only has one meaning, but applying this would lead to a bad decision, the judge can apply a completely different meaning.
The main advantages of the golden rule of interpretation are a) Errors in drafting can be corrected immediately . b) Decisions are generally more in line with... [continues]
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