Examples of internal aids to construction
will be: preamble to the Act, headings, marginal notes, Definition sections,
provisos, explanation, schedules, etc. These are internal aids to construction
because they are contained in the statute itself. Internal aids such as
preamble of a statute states the main purpose the statute.
Statutes are often highly complex, particularly those that enact into law
broad or multifaceted federal policies Therefore internal aids hold great
importance in interpretation of Statute.
I have attempted to know what internal aids
are. I have also tried to analyze that whether internal aids have any importance
in English Law or not. A lot of stress has been given towards the detailed
understanding of internal aids and statutory interpretation in English law.
I have emphasized towards, The long
and short title, Heading,
For this purpose I have taken help from many
sources..The methodology sought to be adopted to make this paper possible
is descriptive and analytical. I have relied on data collected from secondary
sources like books and articles. I also got relevant material from the internet
.Most of all; the researcher has got a detailed understanding of the topic
from the course teacher.
LONG AND SHORT TITLE
An enactment would have what is known as
Short Title and also a Long Title. The short title merely identifies
the enactment and is chosen merely for convenience. The Long title describes
the enactment and does not merely identify it.
Acts are often created with a brief title
and an alternate, more detailed one. It is well established that the long
title may be used to provide clues to the meaning of words within the Act.
The long title appears at the of the Act. The Long Title is an important
part of the Act; it can be looked at in order to remove an ambiguity in
the words of the Act.
In Fielden v. Morley Corporation,
Lindley MR referred to the Long Title and said:
I read the title advisedly
because now and for some years past the title of an Act of Parliament has
been part of the Act. In old days it used not to be so, and in the old law
books we were told not to regard it; but now the title is an important part
of the Act, and is so treated in both Houses of Parliament.
In Vacher v. London Society of Compositors,
Lord Moulton said:
The title is part of the Act
itself and it is legitimate to use it for the purpose of interpreting the
Act as a whole and ascertaining its scope.
Long title sets out in general terms the
purposes of the Bill, and under the rules of parliamentary procedures should
cover everything in the bill. The long title begins with the words like
An Act to
In English law under parliamentary rules,
a Bill of which notice of presentation has been given is deemed to exist
as a bill even though it consists of nothing else but the long title. Once
the Bill has received the Royal assent, the long title is therefore vestigial.
The function of long title is very complex and at times it is misunderstood
by judges. Judge are also known to confuse long title with other components
of the act. Some judges have confused long title with preamble.
Long title has also been referred to as the short title.
The existence of long title as part of the Act has been a question of great
importance. Long title is undoubtly a part of the Act, though its value
in interpretation has sometimes been exaggerated by judges.
If the long title makes it clear in what sense a term is used in the Act
this will be treated as conclusive where there is no inconsistent indication
in the act itself.
The Long Title indicates the nature of the
legislative measure. It contains the main theme or themes of the Act, and
can thus be used in order to determine the scope of the Act and the proper
construction to be adopted in order to resolve a doubt or an ambiguity.
The Short Title is the name used for an Act
of Parliament for reference purposes. The object of the Short Title is
identification and not description, but it could be used to assist in the
interpretation of the Act. It is used to obviate the necessity of having
to refer to the full and descriptive title of the Act. In modern Act the
short title is usually given by the Act itself. Short title is very useful
as an Act is continued to be cited by the short title authorized to it.
If an act is amended in such a way as to make the short title misleading
then the latter may be amended. Short title does not mean that the title
is very brief. Short title is meant to be merely a convenient label. It
is not convenient if too lengthy.
There was informal type of short titles also
like Foxs libel Act. But these acts have been given a given short titles
by a Statute Law Revision Act. Main function of short title is just to provide
brief label by which the act may be referred to. Scrutton J said:
the short title being label,
accuracy may be sacrificed to brevity; but I do not understand on what principle
of construction I am not to look at the words of the Act itself to help
me understand its scope in order to interpret the words Parliament has used
in the circumstances in which they were legislating.
The Act starts with a preamble and is generally
small. It is general
statement of Purpose of statute.
The preamble may recite the ground and the cause for making a statute and
or the evil which is sought to be remedied by it.
It expresses the scope and object of the
Act more comprehensively than the long title.
The preamble like the Long title can
legitimately be used for construing an Act.
According to CHIEF JUSTICE DYER
preamble is a key to open the minds of the makers of the Act, and the mischiefs
which they intend to redress.
When there is
a preamble it is by and large in its recitals that the mischief to be remedied
and the scope of the Act are described. It is therefore clearly permissible
to have recourse to it as an aid to construing the enacting provisions.
It should be noted, however, that the Preamble
precedes the enacting part of an Act of Parliament.
It is normal to have a preamble to a declaratory
statute to explain why the statute is being declared and enacted.
nutshell. It is a preparatory statement. It contains the recitals
showing the reason for enactment of the Act. If the language of the Act
is clear the preamble must be ignored. The preamble is an intrinsic aid
in the interpretation of an ambiguous act.
Since the discussion
of the role of preambles
in Plato's The Laws,'
has been recognized
that preambles have
the potential to do a better
job of communicating with citizens
actual text of statutes. Preambles
attempt to explain and persuade before
the text of the law
commands. Plato suggested
that preambles should
persuade citizens to obey important laws
by speaking to their hearts and minds
through both reason and poetry. Though
preambles are often included
in important legislation,
they rarely speak directly to citizens
as they do not use popular language or a persuasive voice.
Preambles may provide a means for
offer a somewhat more Romantic understanding
of legislation, one that
general, less canonical,
less instrumentally prescriptive,
more intuitive, more
It is often the case that a statute has been
drafted using ellipsis, whereby its content is sometimes difficult to interpret.
A court therefore may refer to the preamble for further guidance when interpreting
the statute, as it will be written in prose.
Regarding the English Legal System in older
pieces of legislation, preambles provided a description of the purpose of
the Act, usually in a more comprehensive from than the long title.
When evaluating a piece of legislation with a Preamble, it may be useful
to ascertain if the Courts have in fact given effect to Parliament's intentions
by comparing the judgments delivered with the wording in the preamble.
Where there is one, a preamble is an introduction
to the Act that may *provide* an indication of its purpose.
The structure of preamble in English law
has gone through a significant change in recent times. Presently a preamble
begins with the word Whereas. In early times Albeit was also used. Every
Judge has a different view regarding the preamble. Lord Hoffmann said:
of course, the preamble to a
statute cannot override the clear provisions of the statute. But it is legitimate
to have regard to it when seeking to interpret those provisions and any
interpretation which conflicts with the preamble must be suspected
The one thing that has came into light in
English law is that there is discontinuance in public acts. This is the
most recent development that has happened in English legal system regarding
Preamble. In London
Co. Lord Alverstone
preambles had disappeared
preamble often helped
points."Lord Alverstone CJ said :
I regret that the practice
of inserting preambles in Acts of Parliament has been discontinued as they
were often of great assistance to the court in construing the Acts
The reason for this discontinuance could
be found in Lord Thrings statement that:
it is not as a general rule
advisable to enunciate the principle of an Act in a preamble, as the opponents
of the Act are sure to select it as a battle ground instead of dividing
on the actual provision of the Act.
It was laid down by the House of Lords that
the preamble should not be allowed to contradict plain words in the body
of a certain constitutional Act.The
recital of facts in the preamble to an act does not amount to conclusive
proof that the facts are true; but considering prima facie evidence of them.
There are instances in English law where
judges have confused the preamble with long title.
There is indeed a similarity between them as guides to legislative intent,
though judges have never doubted that a preamble is part of the Act.
The proper function of a Preamble is thus
to explain certain facts which need to be grasped before the enactment contained
in the Act can be understood.
Through this project the conclusion that
could be drawn is that the role of internal aid in English law is very significant.
Acts are supplemented with tools like short title and long title, so that
its interpretation becomes easy. Titles remove the ambiguities of the act.
Judges have different view regarding titles and preamble. These aids have
also evolved in English Legal system with the judicial pronouncements. The
history of evolution of these internal aids s also very interesting. It
is also observed that the theory of great philosopher Plato regarding preamble
is quite relevant till date. There have been instances where judges in England
got confused with long title and preamble; short title and long title. The
clear and distinct meaning that is available today is because of these confusions
only. The dilemma that, which part of statute is title and which is preamble
has helped the judges in interpreting the statutes with new approach.
The development that were seen in the English
legal system regarding internal aids has helped the legal system of each
and every country. The role of House of Lords in these development is also
very significant. From time to time it has changed its decision just to
interpret the statute in right manner. At last it could be said that Internal
aids have played a key role in the development of the English Legal System.
NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY, ORISSA
& Bailey on the Modern English Legal System,
Third edition 1996, p351-403;
11 Moore PC 325 at p.337.
UNDERSTANDING STATUTE by , V.C.R.A.C.CRABBE
11th Edition, p. 152.
 1 Ch. 1 at p.4, See
 AC 107, at p.128.
 AC 133.
As in Ward v
Holman  2 QB 580 at 586-587
See Bennion, Statutory Interpretation,
5th edn, 2008, Section 245.5.
Council v Mason  AC 705 at 720.
In re the Vexatious
Actions Act 1886-in re Bernard Boaler  1 KB 21 at 40
See Stowel v
Lord Zouch, (1569) 1 Plowd 353, p.369: 75 ER 536
UNDERSTANDING STATUTES by
Plato, The Laws of
Plato, trans. T.L. Pangle
(New York: Basic Books, 1980).
Kent Roach, The
Uses and Audiences of
Preambles in Legislation.
the new kind of statute
suggested by R.A. Macdonald
in "The Fridge-Door
ute" (2001) 47 McGill L.J. 11.
See Bennion, Statutory Interpretation,
4th edn, 2002, Section 246.
LCC v Bermondsey
Bioscope Co Ltd  1 KB 445 at 451.
A-G v Prince
Ernest Augustus of Hanover  AC 436.
R v Sutton(1816)
4 M & S 532.
See Bennion, Statutory Interpretation,
5th edn, 2008, Section 246.4.
Comr of Taxation v W R Moran Pty Ltd (1939) 61 CLR 735
Lord Thring, Practical Legislation