Tag archives: Statute

Commencement and repeal of laws

The Interpretation Act 1957 explains when laws commence and what happens when a law is repealed. Commencement of laws If a day is not set for the coming into operation of a law, that day will be the day when the law was first published in the Gazette as a law. If any act provides … Continue reading

Don’t forget the Interpretation Act

The Interpretation Act 1957 applies to the interpretation of all laws, so it is a useful act to know. The act was last amended to incorporate the 1993 Interim Constitution. While there are some archaic and strange provisions, like the mention of the former colonies and the Royal Letters Patent of His Majesty King William … Continue reading

Interpret statutes according to the purpose

In a recent decision the Constitutional Court reminded us that where there is a constitutional issue there is a new approach to interpreting statutes. The courts must seek an interpretation that promotes the spirit, purport and objects of the Bill of Rights. The courts will apply a generous construction over a merely textual or legalistic … Continue reading

Interpretation of statutes and contracts

Where the language of a written contract is ambiguous, evidence is admissible to construe its meaning, by reference to its context or the factual circumstances under which the contract was concluded. The apparent purpose to which the contract was directed may also be considered when interpreting it. Evidence may be admitted as to what was … Continue reading

Interpretation of clumsy laws

Clumsy laws must be constructively dealt with. Even where laws are clumsily and inelegantly drafted, the courts should be slow to alter the words actually used. In Kalil v Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality the court said that it must guard against the temptation to substitute what the court regards as reasonable, sensible or businesslike for the words … Continue reading

The rule regarding retrospectivity of statutes

A statute should not be interpreted as having retrospective effect unless there is an express provision to that effect or that the result is unavoidable from the language used. The plaintiff was born when the age of majority for the purposes of extinctive prescription was 21 years. The age of majority was changed to 18 … Continue reading