The literal rule means giving words their plain, ordinary and grammatical meaning, even if it leads to a ridiculous outcome. lord Esher once said: ' If the words of an act are clear you must follow them even if they lead to a manifest absurdity. The rule respects the supremacy of parliament and the separation of powers.
CHEESEMAN V DPP (1990)
Cheeseman was caught exposing himself to two undercover police officers in a public toilet. he was charged for 'exposing himself to the annoyance of passengers'. the word 'passengers' refers to passers by. As the officers were stationary, and not passers by, cheeseman was found not guilty.
LONDON AND NORTH EASTERN RAILWAY CO V BERRIMAN (1946)
Berriman was killed by a train while oiling the track, his widow wanted to sue. the fatal accidents act stated that you must have a lookout while relaying or repairing the track. berriman was maintaining, not relaying or repairing. his widow wasn't entitled to any money.
WHITLEY V CHAPPELL (1868)
whitely impersonated a dead person to gain an extra vote in the election. the poor law amendment act stated that it was an offence to impersonate 'a person entitled to vote'. dead people were not entitled, and so whitley got away with it.
FISHER V BELL (1961)
it was illegal to sell flick knives, but the defendant had one in his shop window with a price on it. for it to be illegal, it had to have been an 'offer for sale'. however as it was in the shop window, it classed as 'an invitation to treat'. the defendant couldn't be arrested for it.
THE GOLDEN RULE
the golden rule is used if the literal rule produces an absurd result. judges can use the golden rule to escape the absurd result.
R V ALLEN (1872)
The defendant was charged with bigomy. the offences against the person act stated 'whosoever being married shall marry any other person'. this would've allowed him to be found not guilty, so the court changed the wording to 'whosoever being married shall go through a marriage ceremony'. he was found guilty.
RE SIGSWORTH (1935)
The defendant murdered his mum and was due to inherit her money. the administration of justice act looked at the law and decided that it wasn't possible to inherit the money from someone that you murdered.
ADLER V GEORGE (1964)
The defendant was arrested in an RAF BASE AND WAS CHARGED WITH BEING IN THE VICINITY OF THE PROHIBITED PLACE. THE DEFENDANT ARGUED AS HE WAS IN THE BASE, HE WASN'T IN THE VICINITY. THE OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT CHANGED IT SO THAT VICINITY MEANT IN OR AROUND THE AREA.
THE MISCHIEF RULE
THE MISCHIEF RULE COMES FROM HAYDON'S CASE. IT TRIES TO LOOK AT THE MISCHIEF THAT PARLIAMENT WERE TRYING TO STOP.
CORKERY V CARPENTER (1951)
THE DEFENDANT WAS CAUGHT DRUNK DRIVING A BICYCLE. THE LICENSING ACT 1872 STATED IT'S AN OFFENCE TO BE 'DRUNK AND DRIVING A CARRIAGE'. ALTHOUGH HE WASN'T DRIVING A CARRIAGE, HE WAS FOUND GUILTY AS HE WAS STILL DOING THE MISCHIEF THAT PARLIAMENT WAS TRYING TO STOP.
SMITH V HUGHES (1960)
6 PROSTITUTES WERE SIGNALLING MEN FROM BALCONIES AND WINDOWS. THE STREET OFFENCES ACT STATES IT'S 'ILLEGAL TO SIGNAL IN THE STREET / PUBLIC PLACE'. THEY WERE FOUND GUILTY.
ROYAL COLLEGE OF NURSING V DHSS (1981)
THE COLLEGE WAS INQUIRING ABOUT THE ABORTION ACT, WHICH HAD STATED THAT ONLY DOCTORS COULD CARRY OUT THE PROCEDURE AS THEY WANTED IT TO BE SAFER. AS THE PROCEDURE OF AN ABORTION BECAME SIMPLER, NURSES BEGAN TO DO IT. THE COLLEGE WANTED TO SEE IF LEGALLY THIS WAS ALLOWED. IT WAS.
ELLIOT V GREY (1960)
A CAR WAS JACKED UP ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD AND HAD NO WHEELS AND ENGINE. IT WASN'T INSURED. THE LAW STATES THAT VEHICLES MUST BE INSURED WHILE ON PUBLIC ROAD. EVEN THOUGH THE CAR WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ABLE TO MOVE, THE DEFENDANT WAS FOUND GUILTY AS INSURED DRIVERS COULD'VE HIT THE CAR AND THEN NOT BEEN ABLE TO CLAIM INSURANCE.
THE PURPOSIVE APPROACH
THE PURPOSIVE APPROACH IS VERY SIMILAR TO THE MISCHIEF RULE. MOST EUROPEAN COURTS USE THIS AND IT LOOKS AT THE WIDE PURPOSE OF THE LAW.
a black employee was abused physically and emotionally by co-workers outside of the workplace. the race relations act states the employer has a legal duty to stop it. as they didn't, the abused man was able to sue the employer.
R V REGISTRAR-GENERAL, EX PARTE SMITH (1990)
A VIOLENT MURDERER WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES IS TOLD HE IS ADOPTED WHILE IN PRISON. UNDER THE ADOPTION ACT, YOU ARE ALLOWED RECORDS OF YOUR BIOLOGICAL PARENTS. HE APPLIED TO FIND HIS MOTHER, BUT BLAMED HER FOR EVERYTHING AND THERE WAS FEAR HE WOULD KILL HER. THEREFORE HE WAS DENIED ACCESS TO THE FILES.
R (QUINTAVALLE) V SECRETARY OF STATE FOR HEALTH (2003)
THE COURT HAD TO DECIDE WHETHER CLONED EMBRYOS COULD BE USED OR NOT. WHEN THE HUMAN FERTILISATION AND EMBRYOLOGY ACT WAS PASSED, CLONED EMBRYOS DIDN'T EXIST. THE COURT DECIDED CLONED EMBRYOS COULD BE USED.