While not be read into any more than

While using
the literal rule, words from the statue are read in just the way they are
presented and in a ‘literal’ sense (hence the name) and therefore will not be
read into any more than the face value will have you believed. So they will not
be misconstrued into any other meanings. One Example
of The Literal Rule was the Fisher v Bell case (1960). Under the offensive
weapons act of 1959, it is an offense to offer certain offensive weapons for
sale. Bristol shopkeeper, James Bell displayed a flick knife in his shop
window. When brought to trial it was concluded that Bell could not be convicted
given the literal meaning of the statute. The law of contract states that
having an item in a window is not an intention of sale but is an invitation to
treat. Given the literal meaning of this statute, Bell could not be convicted.The R V
Harris case (1836), where the defendant bit the nose of the victim. The statute
stated the offense was ‘to stab or wound’. Under The Literal Rule, biting is
not stabbing, cutting or wounding (implying the use of an instrument). The
defendant was proven not guilty.The
advantages of using the literal rule are 1) There is
no room for the judge’s thoughts or prejudices to interfere.2) The rule
is understanding of any supremacy of the parliament and therefore upholds a
separation of power.3) I feel
the rule promotes certainty within a case and reduces the chance of litigation being
a demanding factor.The
disadvantages of using the literal rule1) I feel
there is a greater chance of loopholes being found within the system when the
literal rule is used.2) The
literal rule also assumes that there are no errors within the legal system, no
drafting errors and written without any mistakes. I would also say that it is
not always possible to write an act in order to cover every intended situation.3) Some
words have several meanings and I feel rules may get misconstrued.    Golden rule The golden rule used to try to and prevent the chances of
any inconsistency when an Act is interpreted in a literal sense. Narrowly or
widely are the only two ways in which it can be received. Under the narrow
approach, the court “can only choose between the possible meanings of a word”, i.e.
if one meaning is clear then that meaning must be adopted. In Adler v George
(1964), the defendant was charged under the Official Secrets Act 1920, with
obstruction “in the vicinity” of a prohibited area. Although the defendant had
carried out the obstruction inside the area, the court did not restrict itself
to the literal wording of the Act and found him guilty.Whereas with the wider approach, the courts are open to
modify the words in order to avoid any issues. An example would be when there
is a stand out meaning but the interpretation would end up with a ridiculous
answer. For instance, in Re Sigsworth (1935) the defendant had murdered his
mother. Under the relevant Act of Parliament, the next of kin would inherit the
deceased’s estate. Whilst this was clear, the literal rule would produce an
unjust result. The golden rule was applied so that the next of kin would not
inherit the estate where they had killed the deceased.        Advantages1)     
The golden rule still adheres the Parliament and
what it has to say (interprets them in a literal way) but with exceptions. Sometimes
there is potential for a case to display absurdity in the use of the literal
rule, the golden rule can provide a way around that.2)     
The golden rule does not allow the word of an
act limit the meaning and will allow judges to choose the most sensible
meanings in situations.Disadvantages1)     
The golden rule is quite limited in its use as
it relies on the failure of the literal rule or any absurdities and, therefore,
it is used very in frequently. Lawyers and the public can be caught off guard
as to when the golden rule is going to be used as It is also not always
possible to predict when the courts will use it.2)     
It is said to only be used as a ‘feeble
parachute’ (Michael zander) as to say courts only use it to escape problems
caused by the literal rule.  Mischief rule Sometimes, courts will cast a much broader view on statues
when they are being defined to deal with loopholes which maybe hidden within
the legislation, this may prevent parliament’s original intention being
honored. This is known as the mischief rule and will be used where there is
ambiguity.The mischief rule was laid down in the landmark Heydon’s
Case in 1584 where the court said four issues need to be considered when
interpreting statutes. These were to: examine the common law prior to the Act,
locate the mischief or defeat in the common law, identify the remedy Parliament
meant to propose to eliminate the mischief, and finally, to give effect to that
remedy. The mischief rule is narrower than the golden rule and only
applied to determine the mischief and defect that the statute was intended to
remedy. Advantages1)     
The mischief rule allows the law to play out
looking at all sides and does not solely rely on the literal meaning. This gives
judges freedom look at the law and fill in any voids that the Act was
implemented to cover.2)     
The mischief rule has been a preferred rule as
far back as 1969; the mischief rule should be the only rule used in statutory
interpretation stated the law commission.Disadvantages1) There is a risk of judges
taking the law into their own hands. Unelected judges are filling in the gaps
as they see fit and every judges interpretation is going to be different from
the next.

       2) With the mischief
rule being frequently used and judges using their own interpretation, could
lead to uncertainty in the law. It is not possible to know when judges will decide
when to implement the rule and what the result of the interpretation will be.

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