Statutory interpretation and the Interpretation Act 1999
This is a single section from Chapter 12. Read the full chapter here.
Have you considered the specific definitions and meanings of expressions in Part 5 of the Interpretation Act 1999?
Legislation should apply the definitions in Part 5 of the Interpretation Act. New legislation should not re-state those definitions.
Part 5 of the Interpretation Act defines what certain words and phrases mean. It is not necessary to re-state these rules in new legislation, although it may be helpful to readers to include a flagging provision identifying that the following words and phrases will have the meaning given to them by the Interpretation Act:
Again, particular statutes can define these words and phrases differently; but only if necessary. See, for example, the definition of “public notice” in s 5 of the Local Government Act 2002; and the many different statutory definitions of “working day”, including several that exclude the period from Christmas to mid-January.
Part 5 also includes rules for the interpretation of:
- words that denote the masculine gender used in enactments before and after enactment of the Interpretation Act;
- the use of parts of speech and grammatical forms of words;
- the use of plural and singular words;
- the calculation of time and distance.