This is an extract of our Introduction To Statutory Interpretation document, which we sell as part of our Scottish Legal System Notes collection written by the top tier of The University Of Edinburgh students.
The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Scottish Legal System Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:
Introduction to Statutory Interpretation
Sometimes legislation can have different interpretations because law is linguistic in nature, and words are subjective in regards to interpretation
Statutory interpretation involves 2 processes:
1- Construction: text must be scrutinised to establish what the rule actually is/ extracting the rule 2- Interpretation: to establish what the rule actually means in the context of a case
Legislation can be analysed into 5 aspects:
1- Case 2- Condition 3- Subject 4- Declaration 5- Exception
Semantic ambiguity: when one word means more than one thing
Example: fair- appropriate, just, fun fair entertainment, light hair colour,
The meaning of a word would often be given within its context, but that context itself can create its own ambiguities under uncertainty
Syntactic ambiguity: when the context/ message of a sentence is ambiguous
Example: "no eggs of hens or ducks can be eaten…"- does this refer to eggs of hens and eggs of ducks, or eggs of hens and whole ducks?
1- Words change over time (family)
2- Difficulties with drafting because complex ideas are put into simple form and time pressure
There are different perspectives in statutory interpretation, so there is no absolute certainty
- Intention of parliament:
To interpret legislation, the intention of parliament in creating that legislation is determined
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