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Statutory interpretation

Statutory interpretation

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Interpretation of statutes is about understanding enacted law-texts, that is, making sense of the legislative scheme applicable to the situation at hand. Statutory Interpretation: An Introduction for Students aims to teach students to interpret and apply legislation within the total legal environment.

Part 1 (Statute law) introduces students to the different types and categories of legislation, the structural components of legislation, the sometimes confusing codes used in legislative texts, and the challenges of applying old order legislation together with new legislation. 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. Part 3 (Judicial law-making during interpretation, and peremptory and directory provisions) deals with day-to-day applications, and Part 4 is a basic introduction to constitutional interpretation. Students are also introduced to less well-known aspects of statutory interpretation, such as deeming clauses, the suspension of legislation, sunset clauses, legalese, and the counter-majoritarian difficulty.

The fifth edition of Statutory Interpretation: An Introduction for Students is a user-friendly introduction to the basic principles of statutory interpretation. It is aimed mainly at undergraduate students, but practitioners will also find it useful. The rules and principles of statutory interpretation are explained using hypothetical situations and practical examples from case law and legislation. A supplementary CD containing the full text of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 and the Interpretation Act 33 of 1957 is included.

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