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Statutory Interpretation - Key Cases


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Lord Esher
This man described the literal rule, saying it should be used when words or phrases have unambiguous meanings.
Cheeseman v DPP
The court had to intepret the word, 'passengers', after police officers caught a man masturbating in public toilets.
LNER v Berriman
Man was killed while oiling track, as opposed to 'reparing or relaying track', therefore the widow's case failed.
Whitely v Chappell
A man impersonated a dead man to vote. The dead man was not entitled to vote, therefore the D was not guilty of 'impersonating someone entitled to vote'.
In Re Sigsworth
The court changed the meaning of 'issue' to stop a son from inheriting the assets of his mother, whom he had murdered.
Adler v George
The court changed the meaning of 'in the vicinity of' after a man protested inside a military base.
Professor Michael Zander
Described the golden rule as a 'feeble parachute'.
Heydon's Case
This case established the mischief rule.
Smith v Hughes
Prostitutes were soliciting behind windows and on balconies, yet found guilty as the mischief was harassment in streets.
DPP v Bull
Male prostitute was not guilty as the mischief was female ('common') prostitutes.
Royal College of Nursing v DHSS
Discussed whether nurses could carry out abortions. Nurses were classed as 'registered medical practitioners' in this case, as the mischief of backstreet abortions was being avoided.
Fitzpatrick v Sterling Housing Association
A gay man was deemed to be included in 'family' after his partner died, as Parliament would not have intended to discriminate against gay men.
Jones v Tower Boot Co
Employers are vicariously liable for employees being racist, as the purpose of the Act was to prevent racism in the workplace.
R v Rogers
Man called Spanish women 'foreigners' before threatening them, and was found guilty of a racially aggravated offence of using threatening, abusive or insulting words.
ejusdem generis
'of the same kind'
expressio unius exclusio alterius
'the mention of one thing excludes others'
noscitur a sociis
'a word is known by the company it keeps'
Powell v Kempton Park Racecourse
'House, office, room or other place for betting' - all these words refer to indoor places, so the outdoor location (Tattersall's Ring) could not be classed as the 'other place'.
Allen v Emerson
'Theatres and other places of amusement' - Only one specific word, so the 'other places of amusement' applied to funfairs.
Tempest v Kilner
The Statute of Frauds - specifically mentions 'goods, wares and merchandise', no general terms, therefore anything not in the list is not covered.
Inland Revenue Commissioners v Frere
'Interest, annuities or other annual interest' - 'Interest' alone could refer to any interest, however the surrounding words limit it to 'annual interest'.
Bromley London Borough Council v GLC
GLC could not run a cheap fare system which would meant the system would run at a loss, because of the word 'economic' required running on business lines (not at a loss).
R (Quintaville) v Secretary of State for Health
Purposive approach - interpret new technology - embryos produced through CNR were covered despite having not been 'fertilised'.
Pepper v Hart
Permits the use of Hansard.
Kensington and Chelsea LBC ex p Kihara
Unpredictability of ejusdem generis rule - the inclusion of tenants as 'vulnerable people' was surprising.
Lister v Hesley Hall
Salmond on Torts was used in this case.
Mendoza v Ghaidan
As in Fitzpatrick, only using the Human Rights Act.
Energy Act 2006
The purposes section of this Act outlined the purpose as being to enhance the UK's contribution to combating climate change.
Law Reform (Year and a Day Rule) Act 1996
The interpretations section of this Act defines fatal offence.
Hunting Act 2004
This act contains schedules which define different types of hunting.
Leach v R
The presumption that legislation leaves common law unaltered was confirmed in this case. Wife giving evidence.