The Interpretation of Legislation in Canada, Fourth Edition

ISBN/ISSN/No. de produit : 978-0-7798-2791-6
Type de produit : Book
Nombre de pages : 832 pages
Nombre de volumes : 1
Reliure : hardcover
Date de publication : 2011-11-21
Éditeur : Carswell
218,00 $
Disponibilité : En stock
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In collaboration with Stéphane Beaulac and Mathieu Devinat

Although we are most familiar with interpretation by the courts, who devote a considerable portion of judicial energy to interpretation, all jurists regularly interpret enactments. This treatise deals with the nature of the interpretive process itself and the principles governing the interpretation of legislation in Canada, in both statute law and civil law.

Divided into two parts, the book begins with an analysis of the roles played by the structure and operation of statutes in their interpretation. The second part delves into the methods of interpretation: grammatical, systematic and logical, purposive, historical, pragmatic and interpretation by authorities. Since it was first published in 1982, The Interpretation of Legislation in Canada has been cited numerous times by the Supreme Court of Canada.

This fourth edition now benefits from the participation of two new collaborators: professor Stéphane Beaulac and professor Mathieu Devinat, both of whose views on the methodology of interpretation are reflected in the sections they have revised. Professor Beaulac, for instance, has an interest for parliamentary materials, human rights law and the domestic role of international normativity; professor Devinat, for his part, brought a perspective from his scholarship in jurilinguistics, lexicography and civil law. The remarkable operation of translating and harmonizing this work has been done with dedication and rigour by Steven Sacks.



The Nature of Statutory Interpretation

  • The Official Theory of Statutory Interpretation
  • Critique of the Official Theory of Statutory Interpretation
  • Alternatives to the Official Theory of Statutory Interpretation

Principles of Statutory Interpretation

  • Sphere of Application
  • The Sources of the Principles of Statutory Interpretation
  • The Function of Principles of Statutory Interpretation

The Evolution of the Law Governing Statutory Interpretation

  • The Redefinition of Truth and Error in Interpretation
  • The Rise of Contextual Interpretation
  • The Decline of Strict or Restrictive Interpretation


Formal Structure: Its Role in Interpretation

  • Classification of Statutes According to their Object
  • Main Components of a Statute and Their Role in Interpretation
  • Legislative Drafting Techniques

Operation of the Statute

  • Temporal Operation of Statutes
  • Territorial Operation
  • Persons to Whom Legislation Applies



The Grammatical Method, or Textual Arguments

  • The Grammatical Method
  • The Literal Rule

The Systematic and Logical Method, or Arguments of Coherence

  • Internal Coherence
  • Coherence Amongst Statutes
  • Vertical Coherence of Norms

The Purposive Method, or Arguments From Intent

  • The Mischief Rule and its Codification
  • Importance of Objectives in Statutory Interpretation
  • Application of the Purposive Method

The Historical Method and Arguments

  • General Historical Information
  • History of the Enactment
  • Parliamentary History

The Pragmatic Method and Arguments

  • Reason and Justice
  • Rights and Freedoms
  • Remedial Statutes
  • Uniformity of the Law
  • Stability of the Law


  • Prior Interpretations
  • Comparative Law


À propos de l'auteur

Pierre-André Côté is emeritus professor of law at the Facult de droit of the Université de Montréal. From 1974 until he retired in 2005, he lectured on statutory interpretation, creating a teaching course that bears his trademark. Over these 30 years plus, he has also published extensively in the field. The first edition of his treatise Interprétation des lois was published in 1982 and the English language version appeared in 1984 under the title The Interpretation of Legislation in Canada. Professor Côté now acts as counsel for the Montreal law firm Bélanger, Sauvé.

Stéphane Beaulac is a full professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Montreal. The courses he teaches are international human rights law, public international law and statutory interpretation. He holds a Ph.D. in international public law from the University of Cambridge; he also has an LL.M. in comparative public law and a specialised degree in legislative drafting. His legal background is bijural (civil law, common law). He clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada, with Madam Justice Claire L'Heureux-Dubé

Mathieu Devinat is an associate professor at the Faculty of Law of the Université de Sherbrooke, where he is also associate dean of research. His primary areas of research are legal theory, comparative law and jurilinguistics and he currently teaches civil law property, the construction of statutes and legal research methodology. Dr. Devinat is a member of the International Association of Legal Methodology, the editorial committee of the Private Law Dictionary/Dictionnaire de droit privé and the Akademie für Europäisches Privatrecht (Salzburg).

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