# User:Zariski/Temp/553.1.2.rtf

Section 1.2 How do we work under the Interpretation Act?

PREVIEW

Your local Interpretation legislation is of paramount importance in drafting. As the usual title implies, the Interpretation Act (in some countries called the General Clauses Act) deals with how legislation is to be construed by your courts. But, in many of its features, it has been devised by drafters for drafters. Its purpose is to cause legislation to be interpreted as intended by the drafter. If the drafter complies with practices authorised by the Act, the relevant provisions will be given effect as the Act requires. So it offers useful rules about the form, application and presentation of enactments, many of which enable you to produce a text that is easier both to use and to draft.

This is legislation that you must always have to hand, and that you need to know thoroughly. In particularly, you must be fully aware of all that it offers to the drafter.

Section Objectives

In this Section, then, the objectives of the study are to enable you, when drafting legislation:

-to apply the drafting practices authorised by the Interpretation legislation in your jurisdiction; and

-to implement the requirements of that legislation as to the form, application and presentation of legislation.

Essential Questions

In this Section, you will be working out the ways in which to take account of your Interpretation legislation in the drafting of legislation.

We have divided the Section into three parts:

1. The importance of Interpretation legislation

2. Application of the Interpretation Act

3. The effects of the Act on drafting practice.

In particular, we consider the following questions:

1. THE IMPORTANCE OF INTERPRETATION LEGISLATION

Why is the Interpretation Act important to drafters?

How are the benefits of the Act to be secured?

How well do users of legislation know the Act?

2. APPLICATION OF THE INTERPRETATION ACT

To what provisions does the Act apply?

What is the effect of the requirement that the Act applies "unless the contrary intention appears"?

3. THE EFFECTS OF THE ACT ON DRAFTING PRACTICE

How does the Act influence the drafting of legislation through its provisions for:

- the form and application of legislation;

- commencement of legislation;

- standardised definitions;

- convenient short-hand expressions;

- common legislative style;

- resolution of specific uncertainties in interpretation;

- implying specific rules of law?

Studying this Section

In studying this Section, you will need to refer constantly to the
Interpretation legislation in force in your jurisdiction (with all current amendments)
and to the model Interpretation Act 1992 (In the Resource Materials).

Make sure that you have both available before you start work on this Section.

The aim of this Section is to make you familiar with the entire contents of your Interpretation Act and to put it most effectively to work when you are drafting legislation. To do this we propose that you compare your Act with a model statute we have prepared for the purpose. This model Interpretation Act 1992 has been drafted to draw attention to the rules most commonly found in this type of legislation. Our commentary in the Course is directed to this model. By comparing the individual provisions of your legislation with the model in the light of the commentary, and by undertaking the Activities and Exercises, you will be able to develop a clear picture of how these matters affect drafting in your jurisdic­tion.

This Section warrants your closest attention. It almost certainly includes many features that are new, especially in indicating what individual provisions enable drafters to do. Concentrate on finding out what is in your legislation, and so what it permits you to do.

Various provisions of Interpretation legislation are referred to throughout this Course. You will need to refer to the legislation on many occasions, both when working with the text and in undertaking Drafting Projects. Keep it handy whenever you are studying, and particularly when drafting. Constant recourse to it will increase your facility in using it.

Study of this Section is designed to ensure that you are thoroughly at home with Interpretation legislation and that you are fully aware of its potential in drafting. Drafting Project 1 is designed to give you an immediate opportunity to put what you have learned into practice. Complete it as soon as possible after you finish your study of this Section,

1. The importance of Interpretation legislation

Activity Box 1

Obtain a copy of the local Interpretation legislation currently in force. As you study this Section and the model Interpretation Act 1992, print out and fill in the table in the Annex you will find at the end of this Section.

1In Column 2 of the table (which lists the sections of the Model Act), enter references to the equivalent provisions of your Interpretation Act;

2.In Column 3, note any significant differences between your Act and the Model Act;

3.On the last page, enter references to provisions of your Act that have no equivalent in the Model Act, with short reference to the substance and its effect on drafting.

Why is the Interpretation Act important to drafters?

The Interpretation Act contains rules of law about matters that are central to drafting, for example, the form, language and syntax, and the application and operation, of legislation, as well as its construction and interpretation. In the main, these rules deal with frequently occurring matters in ways that are likely to accord with users' expectations. As a result, the Act enables drafters to adopt particular drafting practices in the clear knowledge that they are backed by the rules of law in the Act. Drafters are, perhaps, its principal beneficiaries.

Remember, however, that the Act is not the exclusive source of law on interpretation. Other provisions of general application and local case law (some of which can contain parallel or even contradictory matter) may be relevant to interpretation.

As far as can be established, all common law systems have an Interpretation Act, though in some jurisdictions it is entitled the "General Clauses Act". The origins are found in legislation first introduced in the United Kingdom in 1850 and developed in the Interpret­ation Act 1889. Many jurisdictions now have much fuller legislation than that in force in the United Kingdom (Interpretation Act 1978), and there is a growing variety of provisions. But there is still much common ground. The model Interpretation Act 1992 (in the Resource Materials) contains provisions in more general use.

If you take all the opportunities offered by the Act, you will:

- contribute towards a common legislative form;

- achieve greater standardisation in legislative expression and language;

- achieve greater consistency between instruments;

-reduce repetition in legislation by using expressions that are defined in the Act;

-shorten and simplifying legislation;

-prevent doubts of interpretation arising when you use particular provisions or expressions.

How are the benefits of the Act to be secured?

-have a completely up-to-date version of your Interpretation Act always to hand;

-be fully conversant with all its provisions;

-know exactly when the provisions will or might apply to their drafts.

Secondly, remember that the provisions of the Act apply automatically by operation of law when the circumstances they refer to arise. So, be aware at all times what those circumstances are and when they arise in the course of drafting and then:

either take the relevant rule fully into account and ensure that its requirements are precisely followed;

or, if those requirements are not appropriate, make sure that the rule cannot apply, by expressly making a different provision.

How well do users of legislation know the Act?

Many users of legislation are far less familiar with the Interpretation Act than you will be; some will never have heard of it. You may have drafted a clause intending them to read into your draft one of the substantive rules in the Act (e.g. the model Act, s.49 on the quorum of a statutory body). But the provision may be overlooked, even by lawyers.

In a case where your draft relies on a particular provision of the Act of importance, always consider whether to indicate expressly that the provision applies. This you can do in two principal ways:

1.state specifically that the section of the Act applies for the purposes of the draft.

Example Box 1

The model Act, s.47 confers on the body that appoints an office holder a wide range of additional powers over the officer (e.g. to discipline). The section itself requires that its provisions must be declared to apply by the legislation conferring the power.

Some Acts make this provision apply automatically, but where the provisions are important to a particular legislation, it can be useful to state that they are to apply.

2. repeat the effects of a rule in your draft.

Example Box 2

s.42(1) of the model Act gives to expressions in subsidiary legislation the same meanings as are given to them in the parent Act. In consequence, when drafting a subsidiary instrument, you need not repeat definitions that are to be found in the Act.

But if the main users of the instrument might find access to the parent Act difficult, consider repeating in the draft of the instrument any definition in the parent Act that is important.

Fortunately, on most matters, users do not experience difficulties arising from the Act. Many of its provisions reflect the general approach to interpretation considered in Section 1 of this Module and contain nothing unexpected. Nonetheless the Act provides the security of a statutory basis to their use.

The Act allows legislation to be written without using many of the words, phrases or expressions that in the past, under the literalist tradition, would have been regarded as necessary. Users now are generally familiar with, or can benefit from, the drafting conventions which the Act makes possible, without referring to the Act.

Example Box 3

The model Act, section 23(2) (the singular includes the plural) supports the practice of writing rules with the subject or an object expressed in the singular. Users find no problems in reading the rules as covering both singular and plural subjects and objects, without needing to look up section 23(2).

2. Application of the Interpretation Act

The Act itself typically states the classes of instruments, and the extent, to which it applies. In particular, its provisions are expressed to have effect "unless the contrary intention appears" or "unless the context otherwise requires", making clear that its provisions must give way if they conflict with provisions in the instrument itself to different effect.

To what provisions does the Act apply?

The Act is invariably limited, in its application, to legislation, i.e. to Acts and subsidiary instruments that have legislative effect. Typically, those terms are themselves defined in the Act.

Where a new Interpretation Act has introduced major innovations, those new provisions may apply only in relation to instruments made after they take effect. Unexpected results may follow if they were made to apply to pre-existing legislation that has not been prepared relying on them. This restriction applies only to those innovations that effect on the construction or meaning of words or their application. Others that affect the form of legislation can usually be applied to existing legislation (e.g. when it is republished).

Activity Box 2

Read the model Act, section 2 & 3 and the definitions of the expressions used in those sections (e.g. "enactment" (s.25(1)); "subsidiary legislation" (s.25(1) & (2)).

Summarise the equivalent provisions of your Act. In doing so, indicate:

1.what kinds of legal instruments are not subject to your Act;


2.whether any provisions of your Act apply only to instruments enacted or made after the Act came into force.

* if you need to know how to create your own blog entry, please refer to the “Setting Up a Blog in Moodle” instruction.

What is the effect of the requirement that the Act applies "unless the contrary intention appears"?The Act does not apply to legislation if a contrary intention is expressed or can be implied in that legislation. So, make that clear in your draft if a rule in the Act, which would otherwise apply, is not to do so. To do this for provisions in your draft to which the Interpretation Act would apply:

-work out whether the application of the Act will lead to a legal result that is contrary to the one you require;

-if such a result appears likely, make it clear at that point in your draft that the relevant provision of the Act is not to apply.

You can make a contrary intention clear in a number of different ways:

1.Use express words that deal with the case in the way you require, thereby displacing the application of the Act.

Example Box 4

The Act usually contains a definition of "public place" (model Act, s.29). If this is unsuitable (e.g. because the legislation is not to apply exactly as envisaged in that definition), provide a definition that is suitable (perhaps adapted from that in the section) for your draft.

2.Ensure that the substantive provisions are drafted in such a way as to indicate that a different case must have been intended.

Example Box 5

The model Act, section 50(d) states that the exercise of the powers of a board are not affected by the participation in a meeting of a person not entitled to be present.

A provision that certain board decisions, of a confidential nature, are to be taken by a committee of specified members of the board would almost certainly displace the section.

3.Deal with the matter among provisions that make sense only if a different meaning from that required by the Act is given to the matter, i.e. the context displaces the Act.

Example Box 6

A section that is drafted in plural terms is usually treated as applying also to singular cases (model Act, s.23(2)). This will not be the case if the associated provisions indicate that only a plural condition is contemplated. The context then indicates an intention to exclude the Interpretation provision.

4.Satisfy yourself that the context of your draft makes the provision of the Act wholly inapplicable or cannot sensibly support its application.

Example Box 7

The model Act, section 29, defines "person" so as to include a corporation. That definition can have no application to a section that penalises persons for sexual offences, as such offences could only be committed by natural persons.

But a provision penalising theft should use, e.g. "individual", rather than "person", if it is intended to apply only to natural persons, since corporations can commit theft.

So, if you are in any doubt whether the Act might be relied upon when it should not be, include words that remove that doubt.

3. The effects of the Act on drafting practice

How does the Act influence the drafting of legislation?

The Act facilitates drafting in a number of ways, by:

1.providing for the form and application of legislation;

2.creating general rules for the commencement of legislation;

3.prescribing standardised definitions;

4.enabling convenient short-hand expressions to be used;

5.supporting a common legislative style;

6. resolving uncertainties in interpretation;

7.specifying rules of substantive law that are to be implied into legislation.

3.1 The form and application of legislation

The Act contains a series of standard rules describing or for referring to legislative instruments and generally on the form of written law (model Act, ss.4 & 25).

references to legislative instruments

Standard terms are provided that drafters should use when referring to different types of legislative instruments and the methods of making them law.

Activity Box 3

Make a new Blog entry as follows:

Enter the terms in use in your jurisdiction to refer to:

all forms of legislation:

("written law")

primary legislation:

("Act")

secondary legislation:

("subsidiary legislation")

the types of secondary legislation:

("regulation, rule, order, bye-law", etc)

the process of legislating:

("enactment"; "making")

citation and words of enactment

Similarly, the way in which legislation may be cited and the correct enacting words that must appear in all Bills are commonly specified. You must comply with these.

Activity Box 4

Make a new Blog entry as follows:

the methods of citing legislation:

(model Act, s.5)

the words of enactment:

(model Act, ss. 6 & 10

& Schedule 1)

other rules as to form or application

The Act contains a number of other rules about form and application that have particular relevance for the drafter. These are the ones in the model Act.

(i) Acts to be public Acts (s.7)

Public Acts need not be proved before the courts. Under this section, no Act is to be treated as merely local or personal; so, they too need not be proved.

(ii) Territorial application of written law (s.8)

If legislation is to apply to part only of your jurisdiction or outside it, this section requires you to make clear provision to that effect.

(iii) Binding the State (s.9)

When legislation is to impose burdens upon the State, the Government or State institut­ions, this section requires you to make provision to that effect.

(iv) Intrinsic aids (ss.12 to 14)

These sections set out the status of various features found in legislation as aids to interpretation (These are considered in Section 1 of this Module).

Activity Box 5Read the cited provisions of the model Act on form and application.

Make entries in the Annex to this Section, for future reference, if your Act contains provisions on these matters.

3.2. Commencement of legislation

The Act contains standard rules about the dates on which written law is to be treated as enacted and as coming into force (model Act, sections 17-19). These determine when you need to include a commencement section in legislation. The model Act, section 18, contains standard rules for commencement that take effect automatically if no other provision is made. Therefore, you need only provide for commencement when the date of coming into force is not dealt with by those standard rules as you intend or the result of the rules is unsatisfactory.

The Act also contains general rules for taking preparatory steps in order to make legislation fully effective on the date it comes into force (model Act, section 19). Therefore, you need not repeat these when they are suited for the legislation that you are drafting.

3.3 Standardised definitions

The Act creates standard meanings for expressions in frequent legislative use (model Act, sections 25-29). Unless you make different provision, these expressions carry the meanings assigned by the Act in any legislation in which you use them. In consequence, if you use any of these expressions in a draft:

-you need not provide a definition in your draft, if the standard definition meets your requirements; but

-you must provide a definition of the expression, in appropriate terms, in your draft, if the meaning given in the Act is not the one you require.

What kinds of definitions are provided?

It is usual to find four main kinds of definitions in Interpretation Acts.

1. definitions of official authorities, officers or public bodies or institutions.

Example Box 8

The following are examples of expressions for which the model Act (sections 26 &27) provides definitions:

"Attorney-General"; "court of summary jurisdiction"; "Gazette"; "Government"; "Judge"; Supreme Court".

2. definitions of expressions that have no obvious meaning but are to be given a settled one for legal purposes.

Example Box 9

The following are examples of expressions for which the model Act (sections 27 &29) provides definitions:

"financial year"; "public holiday"; “statutory declaration".

3. definitions of expressions that have a usual meaning, but are to carry a different legal meaning (usually an extended one) when used in legislation.

Example Box 10

The following are examples of expressions for which the model Act (section 29) provides definitions:

"oath"; "person"; "sell"; "swear"; "will"; "word".

4.definitions that are intended to give precision to commonly used expressions that are indeterminate or capable of more than one meaning.

Example Box 11

The following are examples of expressions for which the model Act (section 29) provides definitions:

"document"; "publication"; "public place"; "writing".

Activity Box 6

1.Familiarise yourself with the four kinds of definition by examining how the model Act deals with the terms set out in Example Boxes 8, 9, 10 & 11.

2.Read through the standard definitions in your Interpretation Act, giving thought as to which of the four kinds each falls.

3.4 Convenient short-hand expressions

The Act contains a series of convenient short terms that you can use, knowing that the Act stipulates a precise meaning for each.

Example Box 12

Use the expression "prescribed" (model Act, section 25(1)) in an Act to indicate that the matter that it describes is to be regulated or explained by subsidiary legislation made under the Act. It can be used as an adjective or a verb.

A person holding the prescribed qualifications ....

The Minister may prescribe the qualifications that must be held by members of the Board.

COMPLETE EXERCISE 1.2.1

3.5 Common legislative styleThe Act contains a series of standard rules for construing written laws. When these are taken into account by drafters, a common legislative style is more likely to develop. Example Box 13 contains three examples.

Example Box 13

To understand the effect of these examples read the cited sections of the model Act

1. model Act, section 16(3)-(5) (References to internal divisions):

These provisions are particularly valuable as they enable you, when drafting, e.g. an Act:

- to refer to its individual sections, or Schedules, without adding "of this Act";

- to refer to a subsection of the section you are drafting without adding "of this section";

- to refer to a paragraph in your subsection without "of this subsection".

You can follow these practices in subsidiary instruments too.

2. model Act, section 40(4) (Application of subsidiary legislation):

A general power to make subsidiary legislation is treated as including a number of ancillary powers. You need only provide expressly with respect to these if you must deal with the matter in a different way.

This power should be read with the model Act, section 45, which authorises the power to be used as often as it is needed. If you intended the power to be used, e.g. only once, or in the same way for everyone subject to the parent Act, you will have to say so.

3. model Act, section 54(2) (Cumulative penalties):

You can authorise a court to impose several penalties together or in the alternative, merely by stating those penalties linked by the word "and". There is no need to restate the cumulative position, e.g. by adding, "or to both such fine and imprisonment".

......liable to a fine of \$500 and to imprisonment for 2 months.

Now let us take a look at other provisions of this kind and work out how you can take full advantage of them.

COMPLETE EXERCISE 1.2.2

3.6 Resolution of specific uncertainties in interpretationSome sections of the Act are intended to remove judicial doubts about the ways in which particular kinds of provisions should be interpreted. They provide standard rules, which apply unless you make different provision.

They relate to:

- time;

- the effects of repeals;

- powers and duties;

- miscellaneous matters.


● provisions relating to time

These rules are similar in most Interpretation legislation (model Act, sections 30-33). They enable you to write, e.g. time provisions, in ways that leave no uncertainty about when the time begins or ends.

Example Box 14

The model Act, section 32(2) & (3) indicates how a period of time that has a fixed opening and closing dates can best be drafted.

Applications may be made in the period beginning on 1 April and ending on 31 May.

Under the rules in this section, 1 April and 31 May are both included in the period.

● provisions relating to the effects of repealHere too the rules (model Act, sections 35-39) follow standard lines. They set out standard ways in which transitional matters are to be dealt with when legislation is replaced or repealed.

Example Box 15

The model Act, section 39(2) deals with the consequences of the repeal of an enactment that creates an offence.

Under this subsection, prosecutions for offences under an Act that were committed before its repeal came into effect can be started and completed, and the penalty applied, even after, and although, the Act been repealed. You need not provide for that case in transitional provisions.

● provisions relating to powers and dutiesAs a result of provisions such as those in model Act, Part XI, you need not state that:

(a)a function may be performed whenever the circumstances envisaged arise (s.45);

(b)a power-bearer has, in addition to the specified power, all other necessary powers to enable that power to be carried out (s.46);

(c)the person appointing an officer is the authority that has the power to dismiss and discipline the officer and to make acting appointments (s.47);

(d)those acting in, or temporarily appointed to, an office may perform all the functions of that office (s.48), including any powers delegated to the office-holder (s.51(3));

(e)delegated powers may be delegated subject to conditions or exceptions specified by the delegating authority, and the delegation is subject to safeguards (s.51).

● miscellaneous

When you are requiring a prescribed form to be used, you need not add words stating that a form that is substantially the same (e.g. "in the form prescribed or to like effect") may be also used. This deviation in forms is permitted by the Act (s.44).

3.7 specific substantive rules of law that are to be implied

The Interpretation Act contains a number of specific rules of substantive law that apply by implication. These must be read into legislation if the circumstances they describe arise in the legislation. Our earlier words of caution about a possible lack of awareness of other users have particular relevance to these provisions.

The most important of these rules are the following:

● majority and quorum of statutory bodies (s.49)

This section permits statutory bodies to reach decisions by a majority of the persons who comprise it, and establishes standard rules for determining when the body is quorate. However, it is good practice to include provisions on these matters in the legislation initially creating the body, where most users will look for them.

● statutory bodies not affected by vacancies (s.50)

This section reverses some unfortunate common law rules, under which technical irregularities vitiated the decisions of corporate bodies. It is sensible to include a section on these matters too in legislation initially establishing such a body. This is particularly the case if the matter is not dealt with in your Interpretation Act.

● double jeopardy (s.52)

If you are drafting an offence provision that overlaps with the terms of an existing offence, this section ensures that the same act or omission cannot be punished under both provisions. It is a re-statement of the common law. Today many Constitutions also contain rules that prevent a person being prosecuted twice in these circumstances.

Activity Box 7

Make a new Blog entry as follows:

Enter the references to any provisions dealing with double jeopardy in your Constitution:

● punishment of corporate officers (s.53(2))

A provision of this kind is often included in legislation dealing with activities that are particularly likely to give rise to offences by corporate bodies. This section creates a general rule that applies to all legislation.

● fining as alternative to imprisonment (s.53(3)-(4))

As corporate bodies cannot be sent to prison, this section provides specified levels of fine for those bodies if convicted of an offence, where the legislation creating the offence does itself not provide for fining. So long as the scale is adequate, you need not make further provision for this purpose when writing offence provisions.

● forfeitures and fines (s.55)

This section provides for the standard ways in which fines and forfeitures are to be paid. It is only where you wish to make alternative provision (e.g. exceptionally, for the penalty to be paid to an informer or a victim), that these matters need specific attention.

● service of documents (s.56)

This section contains standard rules for serving documents and for determining when service is taken to have occurred. These are usually adequate for normal purposes. If different arrangements are called for, include express provisions in your draft.

Example Box 16

If relying on these provisions, it is usually enough to state:

the defendant must deliver [serve] the notice to [on] the plaintiff; or

the plaintiff must send the document by post to the defendant not later than......

● membership of the Commonwealth (s.57 & Schedule 2)This contains general provisions for establishing which countries are "Commonwealth countries" (see also the definition in s.27). You can use that term to refer to all the member states, without having to include, e.g. a list of the countries in the Commonwealth in your draft. In the past, such lists have proved unreliable as the membership changed.

COMPLETE EXERCISE 1.2.3

ANNEX

Table of comparisons of Interpretation legislation

 Model Act Local Act Variations 1. Short title and commencement. 2. Application. 3. Act to bind the Republic. 4. Style of statutes. 5. Citation of written laws. 6. Words of enactment. 7. Acts to be public Acts. 8. Application of written law. 9. When written laws bind the Republic. 10. Provisions to be sub- stantive enactments. 11. Acts may be amended in the same session. 12. Preambles and Schedules. 13. Headings, notes, etc. 14. Punctuation. 15. Use of extrinsic materials in interpretation. 16. References in written law. 17. Date of passing, etc, of written laws. 18. Coming into force of written laws. 19. Exercise of powers before commencement. 20. Law always speaking. 21. Application of interpretation provisions in written laws. 22. Corresponding meanings of parts of speech. 23. Rules as to gender and number. 24. Construction of "shall" and "may". 25. Definitions for legislative purposes. 26. Definitions for judicial purposes. 27. Definitions for official purposes. 28. Definitions for local government purposes. 29. Miscellaneous definitions. 30. Standard time. 31. Provision where no time time fixed. 32. Expressions relating to time. 33. Reckoning years and months. 34. Distance. 35. Repeal of written law as amended. 36. Repeal of a repeal. 37. Repeal and substitution. 38. Effects of re-enacted provisions. 39. Effect of repealing provisions. 40. Provisions relating to the making of subsidiary legislation. 41. Expressions in subsidiary legislation. 42. Relationship with parent legislation. 43. Rules of court. 44. Deviation in forms. 45. Exercise of powers and duties. 46. Incidental powers. 47. Provisions as to holders of offices. 48. Exercise of powers of holders of offices. 49. Power of majority, quorum, etc, of statutory body. 50. Power of statutory board not affected by vacancy, etc. 51. Exercise of powers to delegate. 52. Double jeopardy. 53. Offences by corporate bodies. 54. Expressions prescribing penalties. 55. Forfeitures and fines. 56. Service of documents. 57. Membership of the Commonwealth. SCHEDULE 1 - Words of enactment SCHEDULE 2 - Common- wealth countries

 Section Subject Drafting
How do we work under the Interpretation Act?

REVIEW

By the end of this Section, you will have looked closely at all the provisions of your local Interpretation Act in comparison with the model Act. You will have seen the many opportunities the legislation offers drafters to produce a text that contains no unnecessary provisions and expressions and is somewhat easier to use. You should now be clear that it is essential for you to be fully acquainted with what is in the Act and how it can ease your task.

The objectives of this Section were to enable you, when drafting legislation:

-to apply the drafting practices authorised by the Interpretation legislation in your jurisdiction; and


-to implement the requirements of that legislation as to the form, application and presentation of legislation.


You should now feel that you know what your Act contains and how to apply or, as necessary, exclude the application of its provisions.

You should also be in a position to answer the questions posed at the beginning:

Topics Covered

1. THE IMPORTANCE OF INTERPRETATION LEGISLATION

Why is the Interpretation Act important to drafters?

How are the benefits of the Act to be secured?

How well do users of legislation know the Act?

2. APPLICATION OF THE INTERPRETATION ACT

To what provisions does the Act apply?

What is the effect of the requirement that the Act applies “unless the contrary

intention appears"?

3. THE EFFECTS OF THE ACT ON DRAFTING PRACTICE

How does the Act influence the drafting of legislation and,

in particular, enable you to:

-apply its provisions on the form and application of your legislation;

-use the provisions on the commencement of legislation;

-decide when to rely upon the standardised definitions in the Act;

-take advantage of the short-hand expressions which the Act supports;

-apply the provisions that support a common legislative style;

-resolve specific uncertainties in interpretation;

-put into effect specific rules of substantive law which the Act requires

or allows to be implied?

If, after considering the questions and completing Drafting Project 1, you are uncertain as to the answers to any of the questions, or as to how you should take account of those answers, try to establish which features you are unclear about. Then, take another look at the relevant pages, and the related activities and exercises. Re-work that part of the Section once more before going any further.

Even more than the rules of interpretation considered in Section 1, this is a feature of the general context with which drafters are constantly working. Your work on the later parts will confirm the understanding you have gained here. At this stage, it is important that you feel fully conversant with the Act and its potential. In subsequent Modules, we return to particular provisions which influence the drafting practices in connection with particular topics. In that way, you will develop a full working knowledge of your Act. But do not hesitate to refer back to this Section when you come across related matters in later parts of the Course.

NOW COMPLETE
DRAFTING PROJECT 1