Monday, November 21, 2011

How to Read Legal Statutes ...

Know What the Law Actually Says!Crystal Ball

One of the biggest case-losing mistakes is mis-reading statutes (and other legal documents).

If you don't know what the law actually says, you'll have a devilishly hard time getting a judge to agree with you!

Understanding the "rules of statutory interpretation" is essential.

  • Statutory language must be interpreted according to well-established "rules of statutory interpretation". The rules of statutory interpretation are vital to your case ... if you want to win!
  • You need to know how courts interpret what Congress or your state legislature meant when they wrote the law!
Too many otherwise clever people "assume" they know what a statute says, when the only opinion that counts is what the controlling appellate courts say the statute says.
Appellate courts apply the rules of statutory interpretation. You must also!
Learn these rules ... if you want to win!

For example, the primary rule of statutory interpretation statutes is the "Plain Meaning Rule".
  • This rule requires judges to give words in the law their "plain meaning" - what an ordinary reasonable person would believe a word means in the context of the statute where it's found.
Judges should never be allowed to play games with lawmakers' words.

If a reasonable person would read "bicycle" to mean a two-wheeled engine-less vehicle powered only by legs and feet, no judge should allow a party to stretch the meaning to include mopeds or motorcycles.

Judges should be compelled to agree that a law says "plainly" what it means and mean nothing more. But, sometimes judges and lawyers will twist the words to reach an outcome they desire. YOU must know how to handle these situations and put a stop to it before it causes you to lose your case!

Judges should always interpret words in the law according to the plain meaning rule ... but, sometimes the "plain meaning" to one person is not the "plain meaning" to another.

Therefore, you must always do your legal research to determine how the controlling appellate courts read the the laws that affect your case. (How to do legal research is explained in my official 24-hour, step-by-step Jurisdictionary "How to Win in Court" course.
So? What if the meaning is plain but the context is confusing?

Other rules (taught in my course) will help.

For example, according to the rule of "ejusdem generis" (simply Latin for "of the same type"), judges are required to interpret general terms at the end of specific lists as including only things of the same type as those specifically mentioned in the list. If a statute (or contract or any legal document of any kind) lists "oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and other fruit", the doctrine of ejusdem generis limits the phrase "other fruit" to mean other citrus fruit. Apples and pears are not included. The courts may assume lawmakers intended by "other fruit" all the many types of citrus: kumquats, limes, tangelos, etc. When lawmakers list items of similar kind, then say "and other" (or similar words), the doctrine of ejusdem generis limits the word "other" to include only items of the same type.
You need to know this stuff if you want to win!

To learn more about law, courts, and how to control judges and overcome crooked lawyers, order my affordable 24-hour Jurisdictionary self-help course at once and get your competitive edge ... before it's too late.
Know how to control the court - or you will surely lose!
Related Information Now Available (Best Reference in Plain English to set up your Law Book)
"Standing in the Shadow of the Law", 4th Edition

May you find Strength in Your Higher Power,
 GranPa Chuck
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