Introduction to Statutory interpretationStatutoryinterpretation is the process in which Judges attempt to interpret variousdifferent acts of Parliament; over 75% of cases that are heard by the House ofLords are in-fact concerned with statutory interpretation1. Statutoryinterpretation is simply the process of reading and then applying variousstatutory laws, judges will often attempt to decipher the intention ofparliament when passing a law2. Thereare three key rules and an approach that are used in order to deal withstatutory interpretation; the Literal rule, the Golden rule, the Mischief ruleand the Purposive approach. Human Rights Interpretation and Applicationwithin UK LawInjoining the EU, UK law has been drastically affected, which in turn affects howthe Court of Appeal and Supreme Court approaches statutory interpretation, forinstance; prior to the enactment of the Human Rights act 1998, The EuropeanConvention was pertinent on statutory interpretation as the treaty had not yetbeen incorporated into English Law, therefore it could not possibly be a sourceof rights, therefore it could not be used for statutory interpretation3 (R.

v Secretary of State for the HomeDepartment Ex p. Brind). Considering this point, it becomes clear that the HumanRights Act 1998 has given apparent effect to the rights that are contained inthe European Convention to be enforced in our domestic courts, allowing them toconsider the decisions of the Strasbourg court, however are not bound to followit under section 2(1) of the Human Rights act 19984. Section3(1) of the Human rights act has forced an obligation onto UK courts (Includingthe Supreme Court), to interpret domestic legislation in a way that is fullycompatible with the ECHR, this applied to both primary and secondarylegislation whether it was passed before or after the enactment of the HRA 1998.However in rare cases, UK courts may declare that interpreting legislation in away that is compatible with the ECHR is impossible; therefore a declaration of incompatibilitymust be made (Carson v Secretary of Statefor Work and Pensions5).It is still to be considered that the HRA 1998 allows parliament to enact any legislationthat is violating the European Convention rights if necessary. A potentialissue with the interpretation of European Convention rights is thatjurisprudence may have changed, in relation to this issue, section 3(1) of theHRA 1998 requires the UK’s domestic and Supreme court(s) to create legislationin the context of European Convention rights as they are at the time ofjudgement, therefore the meaning of statutes may change as interpretations overtime6.  In conclusion to this section, it is clearthat section 3 gives the courts a much greater sense of latitude wheninterpreting legislation than was previously available.

1 Ibid3 Regina vSecretary of State for the Home Department, Ex parte Brind and Others, page 762. AC 6964,Paragraph 25 Carson v Secretary of State for Work andPensions, UKHL 376 Ibid 4(Paragraph 6)


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