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Heydon’s rule in interpretation of statutes

interpretation rule

As per the interpretation rule.

Rule of beneficial construction or the Heydon’s Rule

Where the language used in a statute is capable of more than one interpretation rule, the principle laid down in the Heydon’s case shall apply. The interpretation rule which is also known as ‘purposive construction’ or ‘mischief rule’. It has been introduced to avoid misinterpretation of statutes.

The rule directs that the courts must adopt that construction which shall suppress (reduce) the mischief and advance remedy. The rule in Heydon’s case is applicable only when the words used are ambiguous. Also they are applicable when they are reasonably capable of more than one meaning.

Say for example, the term ‘prize competition’ is defined as any competition. In which prizes are offered for the solution of any puzzle. It is based upon the building up arrangement, combination or permutation of letters, words or figures. The issue is whether the Act applies to competitions which involve substantial skill and are not in the nature of gambling. Considering the possibility of mischief, courts have the opinion. The competitions in which success does not depend on any substantial degree of skill ought to be controlled and regulated by the Act.

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