Ordinary Rule, Mischief Rule and Golden Rule

Discuss the difference between Common Law and the Statutory Acts made by the Powers that be, (PTB)

Ordinary Rule, Mischief Rule and Golden Rule

Postby joeontheland » Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:10 pm

Hey Peeps!!

I have come across this on my research today and I am interested in finding out more. It seems that Judges are open to interpret words in statutes in 3 different ways.

Here is a wiki page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plain_meaning_rule

Here is part of the definition of the "Ordinary Rule"

The plain meaning rule dictates that statutes are to be interpreted using the ordinary meaning of the language of the statute, unless a statute explicitly defines some of its terms otherwise. In other words, the law is to be read word for word and should not divert from its ordinary meaning.


Now, is legalese the language of statutes? Is legalese actually a language? Or does this simply mean that under the 'Ordinary Rule' Statutes must be interpreted as plain English meanings?

:)
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Re: Ordinary Rule, Mischief Rule and Golden Rule

Postby holy vehm » Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:21 pm

joeontheland wrote:is legalese the language of statutes?


This is the language of the law society and is spoken by those who are members of such society.

The ordinary rule is to my mind saying that it is the spirit of the law, in the manner it was written is the manner it is intended to apply.
Others more complex statutes require the interpretations act and these cases can be drawn out affairs as each side is seeking clarification of the meaning of certain words in the statute. The spirit of the law still applies but the words are open to interpretation and thus clarification is sought, often through prior negotiation to a court case.
"A ruler who violates the law is illegitimate. He has no right to be obeyed. His commands are mere force and coercion. Rulers who act lawlessly, whose laws are unlawful, are mere criminals".
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Re: Ordinary Rule, Mischief Rule and Golden Rule

Postby joeontheland » Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:28 pm

So, unless otherwise defined within the statute, words are interpreted based on legalese and not plain English?
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Re: Ordinary Rule, Mischief Rule and Golden Rule

Postby holy vehm » Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:39 pm

Define plain english. It is very difficult so an excepted language of law is used and from that language the statute is interpreted by all parties concerned. The statute itself may be written more in 'plain english' and then interpreted by those in the legal business. This is why things are amended and clarified in statute laws. When you look at a piece of legeslation you will often see amendment notes and this is where certain words or sentences have been clarified.

Thats just my opinion though.
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Re: Ordinary Rule, Mischief Rule and Golden Rule

Postby holy vehm » Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:45 pm

When you are arrested for something and law is put before you, you are often asked if you understand. You could say no, and then an interpretor is assigned to you and it is called a solicitor, they interpret the words of the language legalese for you so you have a better understanding. If it was in plain english you would only need a good understanding of english and a dictionary to understand the law put before you.

Statute has definitions and amendments to help clarify the spirit in which that law applies.
"A ruler who violates the law is illegitimate. He has no right to be obeyed. His commands are mere force and coercion. Rulers who act lawlessly, whose laws are unlawful, are mere criminals".
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Re: Ordinary Rule, Mischief Rule and Golden Rule

Postby BenOfEtc » Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:26 pm

holy vehm wrote:The ordinary rule is to my mind saying that it is the spirit of the law, in the manner it was written is the manner it is intended to apply.

That's either misleading of simply wrong, depending on what you mean.

When interpreting a statute the judge has to decide what the statute means. The ordinary rule suggests that the judge should not concern himself with the spirit of the law or what parliament intended the law to mean - he should just interpret the words using their ordinary everyday meaning.
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Re: Ordinary Rule, Mischief Rule and Golden Rule

Postby BenOfEtc » Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:45 pm

The rules you're reading about are traditional ways of interpreting statutes. They aren't rules per se. Judges don't *have* to follow them closely.

The literal rule: it just means that unless the statute says otherwise, words should be interpreted using their ordinary, dictionary meaning. It's assumed that the people making the law said exactly what they intended to say.

The golden rule: it means that the literal rule should be departed from if the result would be silly. It might be that the people who wrote the law made a mistake, or it might be that the world has changed and left the law out of date in some fashion.

The mischief rule: this means that the judge decides what 'mischief' the new statute was supposed to remedy and interprets the law accordingly.

It's obvious that the literal rule gives the judge the least leeway and the mischief rule gives him the most. The mischief rule is a bit more controversial than the others for that reason. You should be clear though, that the mischief rule is NOT about the judge deciding himself what the law is supposed to be. Instead he decides (by looking at Hansard, for example) what Parliament intended the law to do.
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