Essay: Statutory Interpretation Is Indeed

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[. . .] In this case, a greater amount of illumination was rained down on the Employment Rights Act and was done so in a way which better protected workers.

"Another important development with respect to statutory interpretation in the UK is to be found in the Human Rights Act of 1998. This states in s.3(1) that so far 'as it is possible to do so, primary legislation and subordinate legislation must be read and given effect in a way which is compatible with the Convention rights."

This showcases yet another benefit and possibility of statutory interpretation as it widens the amount of freedom that judges have when using a purposive approach. While many of them are taking advantage of this freedom, the bulk of the legal system is benefiting from it as it makes the legislation that is more antiquated have the ability to "breathe" and engage more like living documents that are applicable to modern times of humanity, while judges and courts are able to pinpoint what the spirit and intention of parliament was."The Human Rights Act 1998 (also known as the Act or the HRA) came into force in the United Kingdom in October 2000. It is composed of a series of sections that have the effect of codifying the protections in the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law.

All public bodies (such as courts, police, local governments, hospitals, publicly funded schools, and others) and other bodies carrying out public functions have to comply with the Convention rights."

Fundamentally, the existence of the act and its refinement over time means that people can engage in these cases in domestic courts, no longer needing to wait to go to the European Court of Human Rights, something which makes engaging in the justice process much more applicable and accessible for the average citizen of the UK. Rights protected under the Human Rights are the right to life, freedom from torture or degrading treatment, right to liberty and security, freedom from slavery and forced labour, right to a fair trial, respect for your private and family life, home and correspondence, freedom of thought, belief and religion, freedom of expression.

The proper protection and deduction of these rights is made possible in case after case because of statutory interpretation. As stated earlier, the provision given to judges within the Human Rights Act has granted them a considerable interpretative freedom.

Even so, it would be faulty to think that the literal rule is dead; this is not at all the case. "The judges will not give a text a strained construction which turns the words in the text into something which they are not even if a functional argument would suggest that a strained construction is desirable."

This again demonstrates how statutory interpretation can truly transform older, outdated legislation into living, relevant documents, as well as improve upon poorly written forms of legislation so that they don't wield such a narrow or constrictive interpretation of the law. Judges have a great deal of creative freedom when it comes to statutory interpretation and there simply isn't a practical way to properly limit it.

The judge needs to be receptive to the subtleties and complexities of language, to the fallibility of draftsmen and the range of interests that can be held in legal documents; at the same time a judge needs to be cognizant of the limits of language and not force on the disputed words a meaning that they would not fairly bear.

Thus there's a balance that needs to be taken between intelligent interpretation and creative function.

This was certainly the case in Clarke v. Kato which is a case about the actions of an uninsured driver. In this case, there was an issue about the events which occurred in a car park and whether or not this car park could be considered a road. "Lord Clyde agreed with the County Court judge in that the car park taken by itself was not a road although found the Court of Appeal was wrong to take account of the passage. Lord Clyde found that the character and the function of the car park did not change although one can drive a motor cycle or push a pram through the passage in order to enter or leave the car park."

Ultimately, the court decided that just because the passage within the car park became a road or was used as a road did not at any point mean that the car park became a road. The Lord Clyde decided that ultimately it was a need for the legislature to determine in terms of policy whether or not a remedy can be offered for these cases.

In fact, during the case, when considering what a road was, European law was taken into consideration. This reflects how in a recent case, "the House of Lords said that 'it might be perfectly proper to adopt a strained construction to enable the object and purpose of legislation to be fulfilled, but it could not be taken to the length of applying unnatural meanings to familiar words or of so stretching the language that its former shape was transformed into something which was not only significantly different but had a name of its own"

In this case the ruling may have been more controversial as that House of Lords flat-out refused to allow a car park to encompass what was considered to be a road. Depending on the perspective, some people find that to be valid, whereas others find that to be ludicrous.

One could argue that in this case a strict interpretation of language was engaged upon and the strictness of this definition was so that the real intention of Parliament could be honored. Other people could argue that the realities of the law were lost in such a rendering. In reality, with a case like Clarke v. Kato, the honoring of the fact that this incident did not occur on a road but within the confines of a car park, truly did alter the way in which it must be interpreted.

It's also permissible to use statutory interpretation so that a literal approach was taken for functional and political reasons as it was in the case Birmingham CC v. Oakley [2001]. This was a case which demonstrates what kind of rulings one might expect when the words and situations under consideration are taken in their most literal sense and the underlying facts are examined in absolute starkness. With this particular case, the issue at hand was whether or not a given property was or was not hygienic and up to sanitary standards. "The magistrates found that it was unacceptable, in the interest of hygiene, to expect people using the lavatory to either wash their hands in the kitchen sink or to cross the kitchen to the bathroom to do so. They ordered that the lavatory be moved into the bathroom, with an extractor fan, and that the door to the bathroom be resited."

However, these orders were ultimately dismissed by the High Court, saying that while the premises were novel, they were not so unhygienic as they would cause a health risk and that none of the attributes of the house fell within the Environmental Protection Act of 1990.

Examining all of these cases have all provided to be direct manifestations of the courts' freedom to engage in statutory interpretation. Fundamentally, while the outcome and final rulings of these cases might not please everyone, they demonstrate how creativity, innovation and a modern mindset can pervade when it comes to the contemporary interpretation of the law and how these elements are truly necessary when it comes to interpretation. Statutory interpretation allows a greater amount of flexibility with deduction and analysis, ultimately empowering the courts to better embody the desires of Parliament when these forms of legislation were originally created.

Bibliography

Birmingham CC v. Oakley [2001] AC 617.

"Cases Judicial Creativity."

http://sixthformlaw.info/02_cases/mod2/cases_precedent_law_making.htm#Anisminic%20Ltd%20v%20Foreign%20Compensation%20Commission%20%2

81969%29%20HL

Clarke v. Kato [1998]1 W.L.R 1647; [1998] 4 ALL E.R. 41

Croner. "Bumped or transferred redundancies"
http://www.croner-i.croner.co.uk/croner-i/gateway.dll/hra-resources/hra-features/hra-features-content/hra-gold-features-dcam-5261800?f=templates$fn=hra-frameset.htm$3.0

"Environment Nuisance"

http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/environment-nuisance-0

Robinson, Z.K. "Ouster Clauses in English Law"

http://suite101.com/article/ouster-clauses-in-english-law-a161264#.UWw_EbU3uSo

R v Secretary of State for the Environment, Ex-parte Nottinghamshire County Council [1986]

Smits, J.M. Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law (Northhampton, Edward Elgar) 179.

Tufal, A. "Statutory Interpretation."

http://www.lawteacher.net/PDF/Statutory%20Interpretation%201.pdf

Twinning, W. How to do things with rules. 1999. (London, Cambridge University Press).

Safeway Stores v Burrell [1997] IRLR 200

"The Human Rights Act."

http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/human-rights/what-

are-human-rights/the-human-rights-act/

Zander, M. The Law-Making Process. (London, Cambridge University Press) 213.

Asif Tufal. "Statutory Interpretation." http://www.lawteacher.net/PDF/Statutory%20Interpretation%201.pdf

J.M. Smits. Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law (Northhampton, Edward Elgar) 179.

Zoe-Kirk Robinson. "Ouster Clauses in English Law" ? http://suite101.com/article/ouster-clauses-in-english-law-a161264 l ." UWw_EbU3uSo" ?http://suite101.com/article/ouster-clauses-in-english-law-a161264#.UWw_EbU3uSo?

Ibid.

Ibid.

http://www.justcite.com/Document/b2qto0KtmSaaa ?R v Secretary of State for the Environment, Ex-parte Nottinghamshire County Council ?[1986] AC 240

"Cases Judicial Creativity." ? http://sixthformlaw.info/02_cases/mod2/cases_precedent_law_making.htm l… [END OF PREVIEW]

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