Legal Studies - Effect of the Interpretation of Legislation
Effect of the Interpretation of Legislation
Giving life to the law
The interpretation of legislation by courts gives 'life' to the statutes
passed by parliament. The effect of interpretation is to make the law
'real' by giving definition and meaning to statutes. This function of the
courts is a by-product of the dispute-resolution role performed by courts.
Courts, therefore, make law by declaring what the law is, as contained in
(mostly) legislation and delegated legislation.
However, the interpretation of legislation only 'makes' law until either:
* a superior court overrules a decision of a lower court, or
* parliament changes or alters a court's decision with another act of
As such, law made by judges when interpreting legislation is not
established forever as 'the' law but subject to later change or
In order to truly know what the law on a particular subject matter is
then, judges and legal practitioners must look at both:
* the statute dealing with a particular area of the law, _and_
* case law arising from that statute
and read them _together,_ as if the decisions of judges had been written
into the statute itself.
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