“The Human Rights Act has revolutionized the way in which judges interpret statues”
Prior to Human Rights Act 1998, the European convention was not relevant to statutory interpretation unless a statue was ambiguous it could not be used for statutory interpretation however Section 3 of Human Rights Act 1998 provided:
“So far as it is possible to do so, primary legislation and subordinate legislation must be read and given effect in a way which is compatible with Convention rights."
The above section allowed the judges to read and interpret domestic legislation in a way which is compatible with the European Convention Rights however the questions that whether it revolutionized the way in which judges interpret statues will be discussed in the following essay with the help of case law and legislation.
According to the traditional view, statutory interpretation required judges to interpret and apply the laws enacted by the Parliament and as Lord Steyn Argued:
‘The language used by Parliament does not interpret itself. Somebody must interpret and apply it. A democracy may, and almost invariably does, entrust the task of interpretation to the neutral decision making of the judiciary’. However while in interpretation, the judges used rules such as literal rule, golden rule, mischief rule and lastly the purposive interpretation.
As per the literal rule the courts had to consider statue even if the plain and simple meaning of the words leaded to absurdity. As, Lord Esher in R v Judge of the City of London Court (1982) said ‘If the words of the act are clear than you must follow them even though they lead to a manifest absurdity’. Furthermore Lord Dip lock in Duport Steel v Sirs stated that ‘where the words of statue are plain and unambiguous, plain meaning is to be followed’.
Moreover as per the golden rule even if the statue bears two meaning than the courts are required to consider the one which has the most reasonable meaning as in British Pregnancy...