The English legal System: The system of Precedent

Courts approach the task of interpretation  of statutes on the basis of two assumptions that are made in this regard: (a) the legislation has a certain meaning which may be gleaned from the words used in the statute and that if the words are not ambiguous, they must be applied as they are written, since their meaning is “plain” and leaves no room for doubt. This is known as the plain meaning or literal rule.5  In this instance, the Court will interpret the words in the statute literally and take only the literal meaning of the statute, even if the intent behind the legislation appears to be something else.
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