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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Postgraduate Course: Comparative Statutory Interpretation (LAWS11484)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryLegislation is the principal source of new law in most jurisdictions. This course will examine where legislation comes from and how it is construed and interpreted in practice (both inside and outside the courts) in anglo-american legal systems. This advanced level course will consider drafting of legislation, and take a detailed look at approaches to the interpretation of statutes in theory and in practice from a comparative perspective.
Course description 1. Policy formulation and the translation of policy into legislation
2. Legislative intention
3. Extra judicial application of law and the implications for interpretation
4. The relationship between legislation and case law
5. Textualism and contextualism ¿ approaches to interpretation
6. Legislative history and its role in determining purpose
7. Originalism and dynamism ¿ is legislation given an updating construction?
8. Interpretation Acts and interpretation sections ¿ expansive or restrictive approaches
9. Internal aids to interpretation
10. Rules of language and the power of small words
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  22
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) one 5000 word essay for 100%
Feedback Students will have the opportunity to submit a formative assessment on which they will get feedback prior to the submission of the main summative assessment. The formative assessment will invite students to submit a plan related to their summative assessment, and receive feedback on that plan enabling them to improve their final summative assessment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the concepts and values underpinning policy making and the drafting of legislation
  2. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the legal concepts, values, principles and rules applicable to the interpretation of statutes and be able to give reasons for them and to explain the relationships between them in a number of complex areas
  3. demonstrate a comprehensive and accurate knowledge and understanding of the detail of the law and the theoretical issues involved in the legislative process and statutory interpretation
Reading List
David Lowe and Charlie Potter, Understanding legislation: a practical guide to statutory intepetation (2018)
D Greenberg, Craies on Legislation (12th edn, 2020) (this is on Westlaw as a full text)
D Bailey and N Norbury, Bennion, Bailey and Norbury on Statutory Interpretation (8th edn, 2020) (This is on Lexis-Nexis as a full text)
M Mackenzie (ed), Thring's Practical Legislation: The Composition and Language of Acts of Parliament and Business Documents (3rd edn, 2016)
H Xanthanki, Drafting Legislation: Art and technology of rules for regulation (2014)
I MCLeod, Principles of legislative and regulatory drafting (2009)
Aharon Barak, Purposive interpretation in law (2007)
Bell and Engle (eds), Cross on Statutory Interpretation (3rd edn, 1995)
F Bennion, Understanding common law legislation: drafting and interpretation (2001)
Kent Greenawalt, Legal interpretation: perspectives from other disciplines and private texts (2010)
Kent Greenawalt, Statutory and common law interpretation (2013)
Andrei Marmor (ed), Law and interpretation (1995, reprinted with corrections 1997)
Justice Antonin Scalia, A matter of interpretation (1997)
D Greenberg, Laying down the law (2011)
R Ekins, The nature of legislative intent (2012, 2016 reprint)
Neil Duxbury, Elements of legislation (2013)
W Eskridge, Dynamic Statutory Interpretation (1994)
F B Cross, the theory and practice of statutory interpretation (2009)
Katzmann, Judging Statutes (2014)
Lawrence M Solan, The language of statutes (2010)
Scalia and Garner, Reading law: the interpretation of legal texts

The following books are not currently held in the library but would be required to
supplement case law and articles from the respective jurisdictions which we already have access to
R Sullivan, Sullivan on the construction of statutes (6th edn)
Pearce,Statutory interpretation in Australia (9th ed)
Pearce, Interpretation acts in Australia (2018)
Du Plessis, Re-interpretation of statutes (2002, 2019 reprint)
A Dhanda, Bindra¿s Interpretation of statutes (12th ed)
AK PAtnaik, Singh¿s Principles of Statutory interpretation (14th ed)
Dodd, Statutory interpretation in Ireland
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will acquire the ability to:
- carry out detailed preparation and research for each seminar;
- develop a working methodology that fosters research skills;
- develop independent skills including how to prioritise reading and research materials;
- learn to analyse rigorously academic and primary legal sources; and
- develop verbal and written skills that will enable clear presentation of findings and conclusions.
- contribute to the seminars by engaging in class discussions;
- learn skills that will allow coherent presentation of arguments that support opinions and research conclusions;
- learn interpersonal communication skills of listening and taking on board other arguments; and
- develop the skills of presenting finished work for marked assessments.
- developing study skills; and
- developing effective time management skills including skills to help with prioritising important and relevant materials

KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMr Scott Wortley
Tel: (0131 6)51 4307
Course secretaryMiss Bethan Walters
Tel: (0131 6)50 2386
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