Interpretation of statutes is about understanding enacted law-texts, in other words, making sense of the total relevant legislative scheme applicable to the situation at hand. Apart from poor reading and writing skills, one of the more striking current interpretation problems is the inability of law students (as well as the latest generation of legal practitioners) to interpret and apply legislation within the total legal environment.
- In Part 1 (‘Statute law’) students are introduced to the different types and categories of legislation, the structural components of legislation, the sometimes confusing ‘codes’ used in legislative texts, as well as the challenges of applying old order legislation together with new legislation (since 1994).
- Part 2 (‘How legislation is interpreted’) comprises a chapter on the theoretical foundations of interpretation, and an overview of the basic approaches to statutory interpretation in South Africa; and a chapter dealing with the practical application of the rules of interpretation according to an arrangement based on Lourens du Plessis’s five interrelated dimensions of statutory interpretation.
- Part 3 (‘Judicial law-making during interpretation, and peremptory and directory provisions’) deals with a number of day-to-day applications, and’,
- Part 4 is a basic introduction to constitutional interpretation. In the process students are introduced to less well-known aspects such as deeming clauses, the suspension of legislation, sunset clauses, legalese and the counter-majoritarian difficulty.
This sixth edition is a user-friendly introduction to the basic principles of statutory interpretation. It is aimed mainly at undergraduate students, but practitioners used to old order rules of interpretation will also find it useful. The rules and principles of statutory interpretation are explained with hypotheticals and practical examples from case law and legislation.
PART 1: STATUTE LAW
1 GENERAL INTRODUCTION
1.1 LEGISLATION AS SOURCE OF LAW
1.2 WHAT IS INTERPRETATION OF STATUTES?
1.3 THE NEW CONSTITUTIONAL ORDER
2 THE TERM ‘LEGISLATION’
2.1 WHAT IS LEGISLATION?
2.2 CATEGORIES OF LEGISLATION
2.3 WHAT IS NOT LEGISLATION?
2.4 LEGISLATIVE STRUCTURE AND ‘CODES’
2.5 RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LEGISLATION AND COMMON LAW
3 IS IT IN FORCE? THE COMMENCEMENT OF LEGISLATION
3.1 ADOPTION AND PROMULGATION OF LEGISLATION
3.2 HEAR YE, HEAR YE! THE REQUIREMENT OF PUBLICATION
3.3 PULLING THE TRIGGER: COMMENCEMENT OF LEGISLATION
3.4 BACK IN THE TIME WARP: THE PRESUMPTION THAT LEGISLATION ONLY APPLIES TO THE FUTURE
4 IS IT STILL IN FORCE? CHANGES TO AND THE DEMISE OF LEGISLATION
4.2 CHANGES TO LEGISLATION
4.3 THE DEMISE OF LEGISLATION
4.4 SUSPENSION OF LEGISLATION ALREADY IN FORCE
4.5 THE PRESUMPTION THAT LEGISLATION DOES NOT INTEND TO CHANGE THE EXISTING LAW MORE THAN IS NECESSARY
PART 2: HOW LEGISLATION IS INTERPRETED
5 THEORETICAL FOUNDATIONS
5.2 JURISPRUDENTIAL PERSPECTIVES ON STATUTORY INTERPRETATION
5.3 SOUTH AFRICAN THEORIES OF INTERPRETATION
6 A PRACTICAL, INCLUSIVE METHODOLOGY: THE FIVE INTERRELATED DIMENSIONS OF INTERPRETATION
6.1 THE LANGUAGE DIMENSION
6.2 THE HOLISTIC (CONTEXTUAL AND STRUCTURAL) DIMENSION: DON’T MISS THE WOOD FOR THE TREES
6.3 THE VALUE-LADEN (TELEOLOGICAL) DIMENSION: THE GHOST IN THE MACHINE
6.4 THE HISTORICAL DIMENSION: LEST WE FORGET
6.5 THE COMPARATIVE DIMENSION
PART 3: SOME PRACTICAL ISSUES AND TRICKS OF THE TRADE: JUDICIAL LAW-MAKING DURING INTERPRETATION, PEREMPTORY AND DIRECTORY PROVISIONS
7 JUDICIAL LAW-MAKING DURING CONCRETISATION
7.1 WHAT IS CONCRETISATION?
7.2 THE LAW-MAKING FUNCTION OF THE COURTS
7.3 POSSIBILITIES DURING CONCRETISATION
8 PEREMPTORY AND DIRECTORY PROVISIONS
8.1 GENERAL INTRODUCTION
8.2 SOME GUIDELINES
PART 4: CONSTITUTIONAL INTERPRETATION
9 CONSTITUTIONAL INTERPRETATION
9.2 WHY IS A SUPREME CONSTITUTION DIFFERENT?
9.3 HOW TO INTERPRET THE CONSTITUTION
9.4 AVOIDING UNCONSTITUTIONAL LEGISLATION
9.5 CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES, OR, WHOSE CONSTITUTION IS IT ANYWAY?
TABLE OF CASES
Interest / Benefit to
- Parliamentary committees