Statutory Construction

Topics: Law, Plain meaning rule, Statutory law Pages: 22 (7493 words) Published: October 18, 2012
STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS 1. Statutory Construction - is the art or process of discovering and expounding meaning and intention of the authors of the law, where that intention is rendered doubtful by reason of the ambiguity in its language or of the fact that the given case is not explicitly provided for in the law - is the drawing of warranted conclusions respecting subjects that lie beyond the direct expression of the text, conclusions which are in the spirit, though not within the letter of the text 2. Statutory Interpretation is the art of finding the true meaning and sense of any form of words, while Statutory Construction is the process of drawing warranted conclusions not always included in direct expressions, or determining the application of words to facts in litigation. Interpretation is limited to exploring the written text. Construction on the other hand is the drawing of conclusions, respecting subjects that lie beyond the direct expressions of the text. 3. Necessity for Statutory Construction Rules of statutory construction are tools used to ascertain legislative intent. They are not rules of law but mere axioms of experience. Rules of statutory construction help the courts resolve bad cases. Thus, where there is ambiguity in the language of a statute, courts employ canons of statutory construction to ascertain its true intent and meaning. 4. Statutory Construction in relation to the present structure of government. In our system of government:  Legislative power is vested in the Congress of the Philippines – the Senate and the House of the Representatives.  Executive power is vested in the President of the Republic of the Philippines.  Judicial power is vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law. Legislative – makes the law Executive – executes the law Judicial – interprets the law * Construction is a judicial function. It is the duty of the Courts of Justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government. Supreme Court is the one and only Constitutional Court and all other lower courts are statutory courts and such lower courts have the power to construe and interpret written laws. The duty and power to interpret or construe a statute or the Constitution belong to the judiciary. The Supreme Court construes the applicable law in controversies which are ripe for judicial resolution. It construes or applies the law as it decides concrete and controverted cases based on the facts and the law involved. It does not give legal opinion on hypothetical cases or in cases which have become, as a rule, moot and academic. * Legislature cannot overrule judicial construction. The legislature has no power to overrule the interpretation or construction of a statute or the Constitution by the Supreme Court, for interpretation is a judicial function assigned to the latter by the fundamental law. * When judicial interpretation may be set aside. By amending the Constitution, the framers of the fundamental law may modify or even nullify a judicial interpretation of a particular provision thereof. The rule that the Supreme Court has the final word in the interpretation or construction of a statute merely means that the legislature cannot, by law or resolution, modify or annul the judicial construction without modifying or repealing the very statute which has been the subject of construction. 5. Kinds of Construction and Interpretation  Hermeneutics – the science or art of construction and interpretation.  Legal hermeneutics – is the systematic body of rules which are recognized as applicable to the construction and interpretation of legal writings. Dr. Lieber in his work on Hermeneutics gives the following classification of the different...
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