Law coursework on the English Legal System and Corporate Criminal Liability.
a) The sources of the English legal system are:
Case law is judge made law.
Acts of Parliament creates a new law or changes an existing law. It is the most important source of law. Acts of Parliament are made by the Parliament, which consists of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. •
Statutory Interpretation is the process by which judges interpret and apply acts of parliament. In order to help judges interpret statutes, there are several rules of interpretation, which include the literal rule, the golden rule, the mischief rule and the purposive approach. Additional materials to help interpret statues are internal aids and external aids. •
Delegated legislation allows the government to change the law without waiting for a new act of parliament to be passed. There are three forms of delegated legislation, which are, statutory instruments, Bye-laws and Orders in Council. •
European Law is binding in the English legal system and can be divided into primary legislation (treaties) and secondary legislation (regulations, directives and decisions). •
Equity is a set of rules that sit alongside the common law. •
Treaties are formal agreements between countries. However treaties does not become law in the UK unless it passes as an act of parliament.
b) It may be important for judges to interpret statutes because statutes are not always clear. When interpreting statutes, the judges have four basic approaches. Under the Literal rule, the best way to interpret the words in a statute is to use its ordinary and natural meaning. An example could be the case of R v Harris (1836). The defendant bit the victim’s nose and was not guilty because the victim did not use an instrument such as a knife, which, under the literal rule, the act of biting did not come within the meaning of ‘stab, cut or wound’. The golden rule is used, if the literal rule leads to...
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