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Interpretation Act 1978

Interpretation Act 1978

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The Interpretation Act 1978 is an Act
Acts of Parliament in the United Kingdom
An Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom is a type of legislation called primary legislation. These Acts are passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom at Westminster, or by the Scottish Parliament at Edinburgh....

 of the Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

. The Act makes provision for the interpretation
Statutory interpretation
Statutory interpretation is the process by which courts interpret and apply legislation. Some amount of interpretation is always necessary when a case involves a statute. Sometimes the words of a statute have a plain and straightforward meaning. But in many cases, there is some ambiguity or...

 of Acts of Parliament, Measures of the General Synod of the Church of England
General Synod of the Church of England
The General Synod is the deliberative and legislative body of the Church of England. The synod was instituted in 1970, replacing the Church Assembly, and is the culmination of a process of rediscovering self-government for the Church of England that had started in the 1850s.- Church Assembly: 1919...

, Measures of the Church Assembly, subordinate legislation, "deeds and other instruments and documents", Acts of the Scottish Parliament
Scottish Parliament
The Scottish Parliament is the devolved national, unicameral legislature of Scotland, located in the Holyrood area of the capital, Edinburgh. The Parliament, informally referred to as "Holyrood", is a democratically elected body comprising 129 members known as Members of the Scottish Parliament...

 and instruments made thereunder and Measures and Acts of the National Assembly for Wales
National Assembly for Wales
The National Assembly for Wales is a devolved assembly with power to make legislation in Wales. The Assembly comprises 60 members, who are known as Assembly Members, or AMs...

 and instruments made thereunder The Act makes provision in relation to: the construction of certain words and phrases, words of enactment, amendment or repeal of Acts in the Session they were passed, judicial notice
Judicial notice
Judicial notice is a rule in the law of evidence that allows a fact to be introduced into evidence if the truth of that fact is so notorious or well known that it cannot be refuted. This is done upon the request of the party seeking to have the fact at issue determined by the court...

, commencement
Commencement
Commencement may refer to:* Graduation, the ceremony at which students receive academic degrees** Commencement speech* "Commencement" * Commencement , by Deadsy* Commencement, a novel by J...

, statutory powers and duties, the effect of repeals, and duplicated offences.

The Act repealed the whole of the Interpretation Act 1889, except for sections 13(4) and 13(5) and 13(14) in their application to Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

).

The Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland) 1954 in the same way applies to Acts of the Parliament of Northern Ireland
Parliament of Northern Ireland
The Parliament of Northern Ireland was the home rule legislature of Northern Ireland, created under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, which sat from 7 June 1921 to 30 March 1972, when it was suspended...

 or an Act
Act of Parliament
An Act of Parliament is a statute enacted as primary legislation by a national or sub-national parliament. In the Republic of Ireland the term Act of the Oireachtas is used, and in the United States the term Act of Congress is used.In Commonwealth countries, the term is used both in a narrow...

 of the Northern Ireland Assembly
Northern Ireland Assembly
The Northern Ireland Assembly is the devolved legislature of Northern Ireland. It has power to legislate in a wide range of areas that are not explicitly reserved to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and to appoint the Northern Ireland Executive...

.

The Interpretation Act 1978 applies to itself and to any Act passed after the commencement of the Act (section 22) and, to the extent specified in Part I of Schedule 2, to Acts passed before the commencement of this Act.

Section 4


This section replaces the corresponding provision of the Acts of Parliament (Commencement) Act 1793
Acts of Parliament (Commencement) Act 1793
The Acts of Parliament Act 1793 was an Act of the Parliament of the Kingdom of Great Britain which provided that Acts of Parliament would come into force on the date on which they received royal assent, unless they specified some other date, instead of the first day of the session in which they...

. See Coming into force
Coming into force
Coming into force or entry into force refers to the process by which legislation, regulations, treaties and other legal instruments come to have legal force and effect...

.

Section 6


Unless it is clear there is a contrary intention, wherever in any Act of Parliament
Act of Parliament
An Act of Parliament is a statute enacted as primary legislation by a national or sub-national parliament. In the Republic of Ireland the term Act of the Oireachtas is used, and in the United States the term Act of Congress is used.In Commonwealth countries, the term is used both in a narrow...

 or Statutory Instrument
Statutory Instrument
A Statutory Instrument is the principal form in which delegated or secondary legislation is made in Great Britain.Statutory Instruments are governed by the Statutory Instruments Act 1946. They replaced Statutory Rules and Orders, made under the Rules Publication Act 1893, in 1948.Most delegated...

 there are words importing the masculine gender, the words should be construed to incorporate the feminine and vice versa. Also, words in the singular include the plural, and as with the interchangeability of words importing gender so it is with the plural and singular.

Section 16 - General savings


The following cases are relevant to this section:
  • Hough v Windus (1884) 12 QBD 224, CA
  • R v Fisher (Charles) [1969] 1 WLR 8, CA
    Court of Appeal of England and Wales
    The Court of Appeal of England and Wales is the second most senior court in the English legal system, with only the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom above it...

  • R v West London Stipendiary Magistrate, ex parte Simeon [1983] AC 234, HL
    House of Lords
    The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....


Section 18 - Duplicated offences


Section 18 provides:
This section replaces section 33 of the Interpretation Act 1889. Humphreys J. said that that that section did not add anything to the common law
Common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...

, or detract anything from it.

"Shall not be liable to be punished more than once for the same offence"

The words "same offence" at the end of section 18 do not mean "same act" or "same cause". A person may be punished more than once for the same act. Two prosecutions for a single false statement in a brochure is not oppressive.

See also Williams v Hallam (1943) 112 LJKB 353, (1943) 59 TLR 287, (1943) 41 LGR 165.

"Act"

The word "Act" means Act of Parliament
Act of Parliament
An Act of Parliament is a statute enacted as primary legislation by a national or sub-national parliament. In the Republic of Ireland the term Act of the Oireachtas is used, and in the United States the term Act of Congress is used.In Commonwealth countries, the term is used both in a narrow...

. It includes a local and personal or private Act.

A reference to an Act in this section is a reference to an Act to which this section applies.

This section applies to Acts whenever passed. It applies to Measures of the General Synod of the Church of England, and, so far as it relates to Acts passed before 1 January 1979, to measures of the Church Assembly passed after 28 May 1925, as it applies to Acts. It applies to an Act of the Scottish Parliament
Scottish Parliament
The Scottish Parliament is the devolved national, unicameral legislature of Scotland, located in the Holyrood area of the capital, Edinburgh. The Parliament, informally referred to as "Holyrood", is a democratically elected body comprising 129 members known as Members of the Scottish Parliament...

 as it applies to an "Act".

For the application of this section to subordinate legislation, see section 23. And see also section 23A(2)(b).

Section 19


For section 19(1), see Citation of United Kingdom legislation#Interpretation of citations by year, statute, session, chapter, number or letter

Section 23A


This section was inserted by section 125 of, and paragraph 16(2) of Schedule 8 to, the Scotland Act 1998
Scotland Act 1998
The Scotland Act 1998 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is the Act which established the devolved Scottish Parliament.The Act will be amended by the Scotland Bill 2011, if and when it receives royal assent.-History:...

.

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