Understanding Common Law Legislation: Drafting and Interpretation

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Oxford University Press, 2001 - Law - 237 pages
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There are many countries that use and apply the common law, which collectively may be called the common law world. A feature of this world is that nowadays it largely operates through statutes enacted by a country's democratic legislature, and that these mainly fall to be construed accordingto a uniform system of rules, presumptions, principles and canons evolved over centuries by common law judges. The statutes subject to this interpretative regime may be called common law statutes. They are the main subject of this book, along with the said uniform system. The book distills andupdates within a brief compass the author's published writings on statute law and statutory interpretation which span a period of nearly forty years, being contained in half a dozen books and many more articles. The chief books are Statute Law (Longman, third edition 1990), Halsbury's Laws ofEngland, Title Statutes (Butterworths, 4th edition reissue 1995), and Statutory Interpretation (Butterworths, third edition 1997, supplement 1999). Since its first publication in 1984, the last named work has also been updated each year in the All England Law Reports Annual Review (Butterworths).

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About the author (2001)


The author was formerly one of the Parliamentary Counsel, responsible for drafting British legislation. His drafting work includes, among much constitutional and other legislation, the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and the Sex Discrimination Act 1975. As a constitutional lawyer, he has also advised at various times the governments of Pakistan, Ghana, Jamaica, and Gibraltar. He drafted constitutions for Pakistan (1956) and Ghana (1959-1961) on those countries attaining the status of independent republics. He was also formerly law tutor at St Edmund Hall in the University of Oxford, and is still a member of the University's law faculty.

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