Modern Approach to Statutory Interpretation

Modern Approach to Statutory Interpretation

The modern approach to statutory interpretation is more flexible and expansive than the traditional approach. It recognises that the language of the statute is just one factor to be considered, and that other factors, such as the purpose of the legislation, the context in which the statute was enacted, and the social and political values of the community, should also be taken into account.

Under the modern approach, the court will first examine the language of the statute in its context, giving the words their ordinary meaning, but not necessarily restricting itself to the strict grammatical meaning of the words. The court will then consider the purpose of the legislation, and the mischief that the legislation was intended to remedy. This approach, known as the mischief rule, allows the court to look beyond the strict wording of the statute to the underlying problem that the legislature was trying to solve.

The modern approach also recognises that legislation is often enacted in response to social or political pressures, and that the values and attitudes of the community may change over time. As a result, the court may interpret the statute in light of contemporary values and attitudes, rather than simply relying on the intentions of the original drafters.

Another key feature of the modern approach is the use of purposive interpretation, which involves looking at the overall purpose and objective of the statute, rather than just the specific words of the provision in question. This allows the court to give effect to the underlying purpose of the legislation, even if the strict wording of the statute does not provide for it.

The modern approach to statutory interpretation is more flexible and nuanced than the traditional approach. It recognises that the meaning of legislation is not always clear-cut, and that the court must consider a range of factors to arrive at an interpretation that is both legally sound and responsive to the needs of the community.
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