mischief rule


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mischief rule

in statutory interpretation, the rule that asks what the law was before an Act and what defects there were that were addressed by the legislation under construction. The interpretation is favoured that remedies the problem or mischief Thus, ‘no dogs allowed’ would not necessarily exclude guide dogs.
References in periodicals archive ?
The main rules of the functional approach are the Mischief Rule as formulated in the Heydon's Case (41) and the Golden Rule.
The Mischief Rule was formulated in this scientific formulation in Heydon's Case (64):
Illustrations abound where the Mischief Rule has been applied.
The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal holding that the rule was clear and free from ambiguity that only directors who received fees as such were disentitled from appearing and that in applying the mischief rule the construction of a statutory provision will not be strained to include cases plainly omitted from the natural meaning of the words of the statute.
The above judgment has been highlighted at such great length to emphasise what could be one of the failings of the application of the Mischief Rule.
Hence the Mischief Rule can only be followed when there has been some ambiguity.
Nevertheless, Zander (77) opines that the Mischief Rule is a very great improvement on the other two (78) for "language cannot be properly understood without some knowledge of the context".
The Mischief Rule has seen its application in Nigerian courts.
Though the Mischief rule was the earliest rule of interpretation historically the literal rule came to be mentioned as the rule and the mischief rule as the exception to it.
One is the "purposive" approach whose main difference from the Mischief Rule is that it does not place such a huge reliance on what the mischief in the previous law was.
When he runs away, he finds a boat and sails to the land of the Wild Things, where mischief rules.