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What use (if any) may be made of settled practice in statutory interpretation and what are the potential justifications for its use? Debate about the use of settled practice is often framed in terms of a tension between legal certainty, on the one hand, and legal correctness in giving effect to Parliament's will, on the other. That account presents a false choice. This article explores the use of settled practice and argues that it has a legitimate role to play in statutory interpretation and one that is consistent with the prevailing approach of the courts to statutory interpretation.
This article considers the interpretive significance of legislative inaction. Section I considers the nature of arguments based on legislative inaction. Section II explores the practical, conceptual and constitutional problems with trying to rely on legislative inaction as an interpretive aid. Section III concludes that attempts to draw inferences from legislative inaction alone are deeply flawed, but that inferences might legitimately be drawn from inaction if it forms part of the context against which the legislation is enacted. Even then, however, there are practical difficulties in determining what inferences to draw.
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