Which Is The Offshoot Of Literal Rule Of Construction?

Which Is The Offshoot Of Literal Rule Of Construction
Golden Rule It is basically reverting to the literal rule but if a manifest absurdity results, judges can consider contextual alternatives, i.e. it is an extension or ‘offshoot’ of the literal rule.

Which of the following is an example of the literal rule?

Under this rule the judge considers what the statute actually says, rather than what it might mean. In order to achieve this, the judge will give the words in the statute a literal meaning, that is, their plain ordinary everyday meaning, even if the effect of this is to produce what might be considered as an otherwise unjust or undesirable outcome.

The literal rule says that the intention of Parliament is best found in the ordinary and natural meaning of the words used. As the legislative democratic part of the state, Parliament must be taken to want to effect exactly what it says in its laws. If judges are permitted to give an obvious or non-literal meaning to the words of parliamentary law, then the will of Parliament, and thereby the people, is being contradicted.

Lord Diplock once noted: Where the meaning of the statutory words is plain and unambiguous it is not then for the judges to invent fancied ambiguities as an excuse for failing to give effect to its plain meaning because they consider the consequences for doing so would be inexpedient, or even unjust or immoral.

Duport Steel v Sirs (1980) The use of the literal rule is illustrated by the case of Fisher v Bell (1960). The Restriction of Offensive Weapons Act 1959 made it an offence to offer for sale certain offensive weapons including flick knives. James Bell, a Bristol shopkeeper, displayed a weapon of this type in his shop window in the arcade at Broadmead.

The Divisional Court held that he could not be convicted because, giving the words in the statute a tight literal meaning, Mr Bell had not offered the knives for sale. In the law of contract, placing something in a shop window is not technically an offer for sale; it is merely an invitation to treat.

An invitation to treat is an invitation to others to make offers, as by displaying goods in a shop window.) It is the customer who makes an offer to the shop when he proffers money for an item on sale. The court upheld that under the literal meaning of offer, the shopkeeper had not made an offer to sell and so was not guilty of the offence.

Parliament subsequently changed the law to make it clear that displaying a flick knife in a shop window was an offence. The literal rule has both advantages and disadvantages. Constitutionally it respects parliamentary supremacy and the right of Parliament to make any laws it might wish no matter how absurd they may seem.

It also encourages precision in drafting and ensures that anyone who can read English can determine the law, which promotes certainty and reduces litigation. Some disadvantages, however, can also be identified. It fails to recognise that the English language itself is ambiguous and that words may have different meanings in different contexts.

The use of this rule can sometimes lead to absurdities and loopholes which can be exploited by an unmeritorious litigant. Judges have tended to over-emphasise the literal meaning of statutory provisions without giving due weight to their meaning in a wider context.

What is meant by the literal rule of interpretation?

The literal rule is a rule of statutory interpretation and is where the courts simply look at the words of the statute and apply them as they are written giving them their ordinary and natural meaning. In applying the literal rule, the courts work on the assumption that Parliament knows what it meant to achieve, and as such the judges are not required to put a gloss on the words or seek to otherwise make sense of the statute.

Which rule is also called as literal Legis?

The term Interpretation has been derived from the Latin term interpretari which means to explain or understand. Every statute has to be interpreted by the judge the way it is meant to be understood. The purpose of interpretation is always to find out what the statute stands for, what is the defect it intends to remove and what is the remedy it seeks to advance.

  1. The basic principle of the construction of statutes is that, the words have to be read and understood in their true literal sense.
  2. The Literal Rule is the first rule applied by the judges.
  3. The literal rule is also called grammatical rule by some jurists.
  4. The literal rule means that a judge has to consider what the statute says ‘literally’, i.e its simple plain meaning without any ambiguity.
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It is said that the words themselves best declare the intention of the law- givers. The interpretation or construction means the process by which the courts seek to ascertain the intent of the Legislature through the medium of the authoritative form in which it is expressed.

  1. In the literal rule of interpretation, the law has to be considered as it is and the judges cannot go beyond ‘litera legis’.
  2. The literal interpretation is a means to ascertain the ‘ratio legis’ of the statute.
  3. In the literal rule, the intention of the parliament while framing the statute, is the ordinary meaning of the words used.

Justice Jervis, has described the meaning of literal rule in Abley v Gale, Lord Diplock observed in Duport Steel Ltd v Sirs that: Where the meaning of the statutory words is plain and unambiguous it is not then for the judges to invent fancied ambiguities as an excuse for failing to give effect to its plain meaning because they consider the consequences for doing so would be inexpedient, or even unjust or immoral.

The words of a statute are to be first understood in their natural, ordinary or popular sense and phrases and sentences are construed according to their grammatical meaning, unless that leads to some absurdity or unless there is something in the context, or in the object of the statute to suggest the contrary.

No judge can deviate from the meaning of the statute though decision maybe unjust. The words of a statute must prima facie be given their ordinary meaning. The literal rule accepts supremacy of the Parliament: the right to make laws, even though sometimes, they seem absurd.

In the literal rule of interpretation, there is no contrary meaning within the statute. Where there is no ambiguity in words, the question of intention ought not to be admitted. The words are plain and clear under literal rule. The literal rule helps the judge in administering justice in a neutral manner.

When the language of the statute is clear and unambiguous it is not necessary to look into the legislative intent or object of the Act. The literal rule puts a virtual boundary upon the judges from not deviating from the ordinary or literal meaning of the words used in the statute.

When the language of the statute is uncertain or ambiguous on then the judge have the duty to interpret. The literal rule appreciates precision and certainty which help the reduction of litigation. The judges have to act upon the true intention of the legislature. The judges have no liberty to modify the law even if they feel that the true intention of the legislature have not been expressed rightly in the law.

Though literal interpretation must be accepted, it should not be followed if the statute is defective.

Why literal rule of interpretation is called as plain meaning rule?

It is also. known as ‘Plain Rule of interpretation’. In this form of interpretation the ‘words’ used in the. statute are construed according to their ‘literal’ meaning or according to the popular and. dictionary meaning of the term, in other words its plain sense.

What is the literal rule of construction?

The Literal Rule means that the words need to be interpreted in the strict ordinary meaning and the scope of words should not be considered more than its ordinary meaning. The words are to be understood in their ordinary and natural meaning unless the object of the statute suggests otherwise4.

What is literal construction?

The determination by a court of the meaning of the language of a document by an examination of only the actual words used in it, without any consideration of the intent of the parties who signed the writing except for the fact that they chose the language now in dispute.

Which case is related to literal rule?

Sub Rules under the Literal Rule of Interpretation –

There are a few sub-rules that are followed in the literal rule of interpretation:

  1. Ejusdem Generis: It literally translates to “of the same kind”. It means to follow the general meaning of word or words of similar kind.
  2. Casus Omissus: It literally means cases omitted. It can also be interpreted as a point which is not provided for by the statute. Where a point is not provided for by the statute, it is governed by case laws.
  3. Expressio Unius Est Exclusio Alterius: It literally means that one thing has been mentioned whereas the other has been left out.

Why golden rule is known as modification of literal rule?

The Golden rule – The golden rule is a deviation from the literal rule. It is used to modify the meaning of the absurd term to give it a useful and apt meaning to suit the context. It is discussed in depth below. Which Is The Offshoot Of Literal Rule Of Construction The golden rule of interpretation was propounded in the case of Grey v. Pearson by Lord Wensleydale in the year 1957. This is why it is also known as Wensleydale’s Golden Rule. This rule is the modification of the literal rule. The golden rule modifies the language of the words in a statute to successfully interpret the actual meaning of the legislation.

It takes into account the context in which the words are used so that justice can be done to the intention of the legislation. It is to be noted that the rule can be used only when the language of the statute is ambiguous or grammatically incorrect. Thus the judges need to be extremely careful with their interpretation and only exercise this power when it is absolutely necessary.

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The golden rule can be applied in a narrow or a broad sense:

Narrow approach – This approach is taken when the words in the statute are capable of multiple interpretations. Through this approach, the judge is able to apply the meaning which is clear and properly portrays the true intention of the statute. This approach was used in the R v. Allen, (1872) case. Broad approach – This approach is taken when there exists only one possible interpretation of a word. In some cases, the meaning might cause absurdity. In order to avoid this problem, the judges can use this approach to modify the meaning of the word but this modification should be limited and shouldn’t deviate from the actual intention of the legislation. In Re. Sigsworth: Bedford v. Bedford (1954), this approach was used.

The golden rule of interpretation is the second step after the literal rule. As we’ve discussed, the literal rule would apply only when the plain meaning of the word gives justice to the intention of the legislation. When the literal rule fails due to the existence of multiple meanings of a word in the statute, the golden rule is to be applied.

An apparent advantage of the rule is that it allows the judge to modify the meaning of words to remove absurdity and apply the modified term effectively in the case at hand.When the literal rule of interpretation fails to achieve clarity, the golden rule steps in to help the court.It guides the judges in applying appropriate principles while interpreting the meaning of the statute. It takes away the requirement of amending the legislation to make minute changes as the judges can do that for the Parliament. For example, in the R v. Allen case discussed above, the Court stepped in and closed the loopholes by applying the golden rule. The interpretation was in line with the original intention of the Parliament. Thus, no amendments were required.

The golden rule is restricted in its use as it can be used only when the literal rule leads to ambiguities in interpretation. Its use thus becomes limited and rare.It is unpredictable and lacks guidelines.One of the main disadvantages of the rule is that judges can twist the meaning of the words and change the law. This would cause a disbalance in the separation of powers.

Which Is The Offshoot Of Literal Rule Of Construction Some scholars have tried to lay down ways by which the meaning of the statute is to be ascertained. Earl T. Crawford, in his book ” The Construction of Statutes “, has written that the first source of interpretation should be sought from the words of the statute.

After that, the meaning ascertained should be examined in the context and subject matter of the enactment. If the legislative intent is still unclear, the various external sources of assistance can be consulted. In this case, the external source of assistance shall be the rules of interpretation. Austin has also contributed to the vast literature on rules of interpretation.

He has divided the interpretative process into three sub-processes:

Finding the rule.Finding the intention of the legislature.Extending or restricting the statute to cover cases.

Similarly, De Sloovere recommended the following steps:

Finding the right statutory provisions.Interpreting the statute in its technical sense.Applying the meaning to the case at hand.

In both the recommendations, the first step is to find the appropriate rule/provision and apply it to the case at hand. If the literal meaning of the statute is appropriate, it shall be applied. It is only when the meaning is absurd, that the golden rule of interpretation shall come into play.

The court shall extend or restrict the statute using this rule to cover the case at hand and apply the modified meaning to come to a better judgement. Through the years, eminent jurists have shared their thoughts about the golden rule of interpretation either through judgements or books. Justice Holmes had stated that a word is not a crystal, transparent or unchanged.

It is the product of thought and has the ability to vary greatly in colour and content based on the surrounding circumstances and the time in which it is used. Wherever the meaning of the words is uncertain, there may be a requirement for the application of the golden rule.

  • The court’s main purpose is to supply justice and to do that, proper interpretation has to be made.
  • The literal rule should be used first but if it results in absurdity, the ordinary meaning of the word then may be modified to avoid that absurdity, but no further.
  • Lord Moulton in the case of Vacher & Sons v.

London Society of Compositor, (1912) emphasised the need for caution before applying the golden rule of interpretation. He stated that there exists a danger that the rule may lead to mere judicial criticism of the correctness of the Acts of legislature.

We have to interpret the statutes based on the language used in them. Although the result of two conflicting interpretations may guide us in making a choice between them, we can be sure that the words used cannot be attributed to the conflicting interpretation by taking the Act as a whole and viewing it in the context of the existing State law at that time.

The Supreme Court in the case of State Bank of India v. Shri N. Sundara Money, (1976 ) stated that the rights of the public are paramount and are to be considered superior in comparison to individual rights. If the words of the statute are absurd in the context of the case, they should be considered repugnant in order to apply the golden rule of interpretation.

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What is strict rule of construction?

Bakhtawat Singh v. Balwant Singh, (1927) – The Allahabad High Court held that if punishment has been issued for failing to observe the requirements of any legislation, it shall be construed strictly.

Strict Construction of penal statutes Liberal Construction of penal statutes
1. Strict Construction states that each word in legislation must be interpreted letter by letter, and the interpretation must not go beyond the scope of the statute. Liberal construction indicates that the interpretation must be liberal in order to advance the legislation or accomplish the legislation’s purpose.
2. Courts favour literal rule under this construction. Courts favour the golden rule or mischief rule under this construction.
3. Taxing and criminal laws are strictly construed. The Employers State Insurance Act and the Contract Labour Act are both liberally construed.
4. Strict construction denies widening the law, resolving all reasonable disputes against the applicability of penal Acts, and disabling statutes. Liberal construction broadens the law by resolving any reasonable uncertainties against the applicability of welfare laws, unclear words or sentences, and disabling statutes.
5. It refers to the process through which legislation is broadened in order to express legislative purpose. It refers to the process through which legislation is constrained in order to express legislative purpose.
6. This construction implies that the bench believes that the original text has all of the answers to any present or future difficulties. If the legislation is unclear or ambiguous in nature, this interpretation can be expanded to grasp the attitudes and things change.
7. This strict construction can be used even if just one interpretation is needed. This statute construction is performed when a statute does not allow for two or more interpretations.
8. A strict interpretation is necessary for sales tax. For the prevention of animal cruelty, a liberal interpretation is necessary
9. The strict construction is interpreted rigidly by the courts. They do not mistake in their interpretations of the legislation, and the decision is solely based on the original text. The liberal construction is freely interpreted by the courts. They are not bound by the exact interpretation of the law and can interpret it in a variety of ways using liberal construction.

What is the first rule of construction?

The best way to avoid a dispute with your contractor is to insist on a detailed, complete, and carefully drafted contract. Among the terms to include in such a contract are the following: (1) The full names of the parties, the job address, and all contact information; (2) A highly detailed description of the scope of construction work, including specific materials to be used; (3) Start and completion dates; (4) Total price of the project, including labor and materials, and a payment schedule; (5) List of allowance items (lighting, fixtures, plumbing fixtures, appliances, etc.) and the budgeted amount, if any; (6) List of required or potentially required permits, including who will be responsible for obtaining and paying for them; (7) Agreement that any changes to the contract will only be done upon written “change orders” signed by both the contractor and the homeowner; (8) Signature of both parties to the contract.

What is a literal meaning example?

Literal language is used to mean exactly what is written. For example: ‘ It was raining a lot, so I rode the bus.’ In this example of literal language, the writer means to explain exactly what is written: that he or she chose to ride the bus because of the heavy rain.

How many types of literal are there?

6. Null Literals – Null literals represent a null value and refer to no object, Nulls are typically used as a marker to indicate that a reference type object isn’t available. They often describe an uninitialized state in the program. It is a mistake to try to dereference a null value.

What is literal and its types?

Types of Literals in Java with Examples | Java Literals Explained one by one What are Literals in Java? They are used to represent the constant value. Literals are source code representation of a fixed value or the sequence of characters which represents the constant value that is to be stored in a variable. There are five types of literals in Java.

Integer Literals Boolean Literals Character Literals String Literals Floating Point Literals

Now let us see more details about these literals.

What are literal examples?

Literal language is used to mean exactly what is written. For example: ‘ It was raining a lot, so I rode the bus.’ In this example of literal language, the writer means to explain exactly what is written: that he or she chose to ride the bus because of the heavy rain.