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Interpretation Ordinance



Registration of Trade Mark ? Appeal ? Leave to appeal to Court of Appeal ? Meaning of 'Rules' in Section 182 (3) of the Intellectual Property Act, No. 52 of 1979 - Civil Procedure Code (Cap. 105) Section 754 ? Trade Marks Ordinance No. 14 of 1988, Section 33 ? Trade Marks Ordinance No. 15 of 1925 sections 50, 190 (2) ? Interpretation of Statutes ? Principles applicable ? Subordinate legislation.


Literal Rule


Golden Rule


Kotabadu Durage Sriyani Silva V. Chanaka Iddamalgoda


"the duty of the Court is to ascertain and give affect to the will of Parliament as expressed in its enactments'.

In Lyons Vs. Tucker ( 1880 6 QBD 660 at pg 664) Grove, J. stated that the golden rule of plain literal and grammatical construction has to be read subject to the qualification that the language of statutes is not always that which a grammarian would use.

Mischief Rule


Kanthiah Thambu Chelliah and Others  v. Paranage Inspector of Police and Others

Our task is to discover the intention of Parliament. Where the language is plain and admits of but one meaning, the task of interpretation does not arise. The various rules of interpretation are merely guides to assist the Court in its task. The Court of Appeal has sought guidance from what is known as the mischief rule, laid down in Heydon's Case. I do not for a moment doubt the proposition that consideration of the mischief or object or purpose of the enactment will often provide a solution to the problem. But the ascertainment of the mischief sought to be suppressed is not sufficient by itself. Equally important is an ascertainment of the remedy prescribed by Parliament to suppress the mischief and the reason for the remedy. This is best stated by Maxwell thus:? "To arrive at the real meaning it is always necessary to get an exact conception of the aim, scope and object of the whole Act; to consider, according to Lord Coke (1) what was the law before the Act was passed; (2) what was the mischief or defect for which the law has not provided; (3) what remedy Parliament has provided; and (4) the reason of the remedy" Interpretation of Statutes (11th Edn) p.19. Whilst the Court of Appeal has correctly identified the mischief as "terrorism in all its recent sophisticated manifestations" the Court has not sufficiently identified the remedy prescribed to, rid the country of terrorism which is twofold; namely (1) remand by order of a Magistrate until the conclusion of the trial by the High Court of those against whom there is prima facie case of the commission of an offence under the Act, and (2) detention by order of the Minister for a maximum period of 18 months for those against whom there is no prima facie case of an offence but only of unlawful activity.


Eiusdem Generis



A perusal of "A2" shows that the recital which states the specific matters for which the Power of Attorney has been executed is to "manage and transact all our business and affairs in the said Sri Lanka". It is contended that the words "affairs" in the recital must be construed 'eiusdem generis' with the words "business" and would not cover the making of an application to the Commissioner of Workmen's Compensation for and on behalf of the executants. The general powers recited in the body of 'A2', takes in the gamut of all types of business and financial activity that an individual may indulge in and in particular "to ask, demand, sue for, recover and receive of, and from all persons.

Generalia Specialibus non derogant



Interpretation of statutes ? "Generalia specialibus non derogant" ? Qualifications for appointment to the post of Warden, St. Thomas' College ? Applicability of Education Ordinance to STC ? Ordinance No. 7 of 1930 ? The right of plaintiff to sue?Section 5 of the Civil Procedure Code.


Retrospective and retroactive legislation 


Criminal Procedure? Offences Against Aircraft Act No, 24 of 1982 ? Charges under s. 17(1)(a) read with s. 19(1) and (3) of the Act and s.394 of the Penal Code? Section 20 of the Offences Against Aircraft Act?Convention on offences and certain other acts committed on board aircraft signed at Tokyo or, 14.9.1963 ? Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft signed at The Hague on 16.9.1970 and Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Civil Aviation signed at Montreal on 23.9.1971? Conviction and sentence on two charges?S. 203, 279 and 175 of Code of Criminal Procedure Act ? Failure to give reasons for conviction and deliver judgment in open court ? Retrospective and retroactive legislation ?Jurisdiction ?Defects in Charges ?