1. Explain each of the common law statutory interpretation rules and maxims, and the statutory interpretation legislation applicable to the interpretation of the Melbourne Beaches Act (2017).
2. Demonstrate an understanding of how the statutory rules, maxims and legislation explained in your answer to Question 1 above might apply in practice by applying each of the rules etc. to each of the following case studies.
Sarsha is a Melbourne dog owner. She works in the city. One day whilst she was eating her lunch on the banks of the Yarra River she was approached by a police officer and asked to prove that she was carrying a plastic bag. Sarsha replied, “No! Why would I need a plastic bag? I’m on my lunch break from work. My dog is an hour away at home.”
As Sarsha did not have a plastic bag with her, she was charged under s 3 of the Melbourne Beaches Act (2017).
Advise Sarsha whether she is likely to be convicted under the Act.
Zak takes his small poodle dog with him for a walk along a suburban beach in Melbourne. He has with him a plastic bag and picks up, and appropriately disposes of his dog’s solid waste. The dog also left behind liquid waste on the beach and Zak is charged under s 4 of the Melbourne Beaches Act (2017).
Advise Zak whether he is likely to be convicted under the Act.
Ash took his Golden Retriever dog to a Melbourne suburban beach. Generally, Golden Retrievers are considered gentle, intelligent animals. Ash’s dog, however, was badly treated as a puppy and has grown up to be a frightened and defensive animal. Until now, Ash has had no trouble with his dog but at the beach today the dog reacted angrily when a ball kicked by a young girl struck the dog. The dog bit the girl when she tried to retrieve her ball. Ash was charged under s 5 of the Melbourne Beaches Act (2017).
Advise Ash whether he is likely to be convicted under the Act.
Common Law Statutory Interpretation Rules and Maxims
1. Statutes are formally written documents which are an enactment of a particular legislative authority to govern a particular state, city, county, beaches and country. They are the statement which are prohibits, command or a policy. The statute is drafted and presented by a government agency and signed into law by the executive (Aldisert, 2015).
Statute implementation process is hence the process in which the courts interpret the legislation brought to play and apply it to the jurisdiction. During this process, the judges use various tools and guidelines to define and give a dedication on the legislation using either the purpose of the law or even the traditional canons of statutory interpretation. This is so as to ensure that no law poses unambiguously during the implementation.
There are several rules and approaches into any implementation of the statutory, which include the liberal rule, the golden rule and the mischief rule (Aldisert, 2015).
The literal rule is the ordinary or the lay man’s meaning of the statute and is the sole task of the court and the judges to give the significance of the law's original meaning, even if the meaning is sensible or not (Nourse, 2014).
The golden rule of the statute interpretation gives the interpretation of the rules and is commonly used and affected as per the real intention of the Parliament in the drafting of the law (Gluck, and Bressman, 2013).
The mischief rule is the rule in which the judge attempts to determine the actual intention of the legislator of the law. The judge identifies the defect and the mischief which the law in question has being brought into play to solve and which kind of ruling would efficiently implement the remedy (Walker, 2014).
By section 3 Melbourne Beaches Act 2017 (Vic), Sarsha is guilty of breaching the act by not carrying the plastic bags which are to be used to discard the waste products of her dog. According to section 7 of this act, she is guilty of committing a misdemeanor in contravention of section 3 of this Act and is liable of being penalized a penalty that is not exceeding $500. According to the literal rule of the statute interpretation on section 3 of the Act that states, “Melbourne dog owners are required to carry with them at all times a plastic bag which shall be used to discard the wastes produced by their pets.” It is the discretion of the judge to penalize Sarsha the required amount since she has failed to carry the plastic bag during the lunch even if she is on lunch break. The act explicitly insists on the “carry….at all times…plastic bag…”According to the literal rule that does not major on the ambiguity of the interpretation, Sarsha is guilty. The best thing Sarsha would have done was to always have a plastic bag with her even if she was to visit the shop outside the beach to avoid a repeat of the same.
Statutory Interpretation Legislation Applicable to Melbourne Beaches Act (2017)
By the Golden Rule of the statute interpretation of this act, Sarsha would be found quilt of the same offence under section 3 of the law. This because if the judge used the golden rule that interprets the law in a more advanced manner as compared to literal control, the Sarsha’s dog would have helped herself any time even if she was out of a break. This would have also contravened the section 4 of the act. Hence Sarsha would be still guilty if any case happened unexpectedly in both ways.
By the mischief rule of statute interpretation, Sarsha would be found not guilty by section 3 of the act. This because if the Dog had helped herself before going out for lunch, then it is abnormal for the dog to help herself once again. Hence the judge would view that the law was brought so as to avoid wastes on the beaches for those dogs which are not controlled and are there all day.
By the literal rule of interpretation, Zak is quilt and is in breach of section 4 of the Melbourne Beaches Act (2017), which states that “It shall be an offence for a Melbourne dog owner to fail to discard the wastes of their dog appropriately.” According to the literal rule, the judge has all the right and discretion to penalize him by section 8 of this act. This is because the dog has left behind waste on the beach, and the section 4 of the law states about any person failing to discard waste, and the liquid fluid is a waste product from the dog.
By golden rule, Zak is more likely not to be quilt since the judge would interpret waste from dogs as the solid wastes and which Zak had adhered to in section 3. With this then Zak will be set free.
By the mischief rule of statute interpretation. It is more likely that Zak will be found quilt. The main aim of the law was to ensure that no littering or contamination of the beach in whatever case, and according to judge using this rule of interpretation, Zak is quilt. His dog has contaminated the beach yet it what the law was drafted to being a remedy.
By section 5 of the Melbourne Beaches Act (2017), it is breach of the act for one, “to walk a dangerous dog along a Melbourne suburban beach.” Ash is more likely to be found guilty of the section and would be charge in a court of law and penalized, by section 8 of this act, if the judge uses the literal rule to interoperate the statute. According to the literal interpretation, Ash walked with a dangerous animal who was attacked the girl. Even though Ash would defend his dog has been a gentle dog, it is more likely that section 6 would also find him quilt in support to section 5.
By the golden rule of statute interpretation, Ash would not be found quilt. This because the act states that one shall not walk with a dog who is dangerous along the beach. According to the golden rule interpreters of the statute, it is not in breach to walks with a friendly dog as Ash did. Hence he would be found not quality.
By the mischief rule of statute interpretation, Ash would be found to be quilt of section 5. Since the Dog, although was friendly, demonstrated an act of being dangerous which is the main aim for the drafting of the statute, hence he will be charged and penalized by section 9 of this act (Christiansen and Eskridge, 2014).
Aldisert, H.R.J., 2015. Logic for lawyers: a guide to clear legal thinking. LexisNexis.
Bressman, L.S. and Gluck, A.R., 2014. Statutory Interpretation from the inside-an empirical study of congressional drafting, delegation, and the canons: Part II. Stan. L. Rev., 66, p.725.
Christiansen, M.R. and Eskridge, W.N., 2014. Congressional Overrides of Supreme Court Statutory Interpretation Decisions, 1967–2011.
Gluck, A.R. and Bressman, L.S., 2013. Statutory Interpretation from the Inside--An Empirical Study of Congressional Drafting, Delegation and the Canons: Part I.
Jellum, L.D., 2015. The Theories of Statutory Construction and Legislative Process in American Jurisprudence. In Logic in the Theory and Practice of Lawmaking (pp. 173-203). Springer International Publishing.
Nourse, V., 2014. Elementary Statutory Interpretation: Rethinking Legislative Intent and History.
Walker, C.J., 2014. Inside agency statutory interpretation.
Wallace, K.L., 2015. Does the Past Predict the Future?: An Empirical Analysis of Recent Iowa Supreme Court Use of Legislative History as a Window into Statutory Construction in Iowa.
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