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Understanding Common Law LegislationDrafting and Interpretation$
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F. A. R. Bennion

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199564101

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199564101.001.0001

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Linguistic canons and interpretative technique

Linguistic canons and interpretative technique

(p.103) 12 Linguistic canons and interpretative technique
Understanding Common Law Legislation

F. A. R. Bennion

Oxford University Press

A linguistic canon reflects the nature and use of non-legal language. An Act is read as a whole. Except in a consolidation Act, different words are given different meanings and the same words the same meaning. If there is no sensible meaning, the word will be disregarded. Latin maxims include: noscitur a sociis (it is recognised by its associates), ejusdem generis (of the same kind or nature), reddendo singula singulis (render each to each), expressum facit cessare tacitum (express words end implication), and expressio unius est exclusio alterius (to express one thing is to exclude another). The enactment's factual outline and legal thrust should be identified. When the facts fall within the factual outline, the legal thrust ensues. Then each relevant interpretative factor should be identified. Where these do not all point one way, the weights of the relevant factors should be assessed and which of the opposing constructions they indicate on balance should be determined.

Keywords:   linguistic canon, consolidation Act, factual outline, legal thrust, Latin maxim, expressio unius

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