Describe four rules used by courts in interpretation of statutes.

Rules used in interpretation of statutes:-

  • Literal rule: This is the primary rule of interpretation. It requires judges to interpret the words of a statute according to their grammatical or dictionary meaning
  • Mischief rule: Under this rule the court will examine the Act or Rule to ascertain what; its purpose was and the ‘mischief’ or defect for which the common law had no provision.
  • Golden rule: This rule will be used by the court in order to avoid arriving at an absurd, decision.


Ejusdem generis rule: The rule states that, where general words in an Act or rule follow particular words, the general words are to be construed as being limited to the persons or things within the class designated by the particular words

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