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Canadian Law An Introduction 7th Edition Test Bank By Boyd

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CHAPTER 3

How Do Judges Interpret Ambiguous Statutes?

Rules and Principles and Their Application

 

TRUE/FALSE

  1. Legislators must determine the interpretation of ambiguous statutes in Canada using only written definitions.

ANS: F

 

  1. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that plain meaning alone is sufficient for statutory analysis.

ANS: F

 

  1. The case of Castillo v. Castillo tells us that the current state of statutory interpretation in Canada is more restrictive than it was before Professor Driedger’s statement.

ANS: F

 

  1. The British tradition of statutory interpretation is followed in the contemporary Canadian courts.

ANS: F

 

  1. Statutory interpretation principles in Canada have traditionally followed the liberal, broad approach of Europe and the United States.

ANS: F

 

  1. Statutory interpretation can be aided by the definition sections written into specific statutes.

ANS: T

 

  1. The plain meaning rule demands that the words of a statute be read in accordance with their literal grammatical sense.

ANS: T

 

  1. The ejusdem generis principle dictates that the expressed mention of one category excludes some other category.

ANS: F

 

  1. Noscitur a sociis is the mirror image of ejusdem generis. It means that an ambiguous word takes its meaning from the specific phrases that follow it.

ANS: T

 

  1. The Golden Rule of statutory wording interpretation requires that all interpretations be balanced by the court.

ANS: F

 

  1. The enactment of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982 has altered the way statutes are interpreted because courts are now more likely to apply the plain meaning rule to statutes in order to determine the legislators’ intentions.

ANS: F

 

  1. In the Persons case, the Supreme Court concluded that only some women counted as “persons” under the law.

ANS: F

 

  1. It was decided in R. v. Luxton that the penalty for first degree murder in Canada constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

ANS: F

 

  1. The hierarchical development of case law is irrelevant to the development of statutory interpretation principles.

ANS: F

 

  1. The Supreme Court of Canada can reverse itself.

ANS: T

 

 

MULTIPLE CHOICE

  1. According to Elmer Driedger, which of the following should be considered while interpreting an Act?
  2. what is the scheme of the Act
  3. what is the object of the Act
  4. what is the intention of Parliament
  5. all of the above

ANS: D

 

  1. Which statement best explains how the majority judgment in R. v. Alex undertook their statutory interpretation?
  2. The purpose of a statute cannot be used to interpret ambiguous language contained in it.
  3. The lawfulness of the breath demand is binding on the evidentiary shortcuts.
  4. Statutory interpretation is limited to a discussion of the words in question and may not depart from the clarity demonstrated therein by the parliamentary draftsmen.
  5. An appropriate interpretation is one that can be justified in terms of its compliance with legislative intent and its promotion of legislative intent. The outcome complies with accepted legal norms and it is reasonable and just.

ANS: D

 

  1. Why have definition sections been written into specific legislation?
  2. To prevent judges from overstepping their jurisdiction.
  3. To lessen the need for legal debate about the meaning of key words.
  4. To guarantee that Canadians’ rights and freedoms are protected from the court.
  5. To guarantee that Canadians’ rights and freedoms are protected from the legislature.

ANS: B

 

  1. Which statement most clearly explains how the “plain-meaning rule” requires the court to interpret the words of a statute?
  2. It must be interpreted according to the context of the statute.
  3. It must be interpreted according to the intentions of the statute.
  4. It must be interpreted according to the literal sense of the words.
  5. It must be interpreted according to the least absurd meaning of the statute.

ANS: C

 

  1. Which statement best describes the “Golden Rule” of statutory interpretation?
  2. It is another name for the “plain meaning rule.”
  3. It is another name for the “rule in Heydon’s Case.”
  4. It explains that words can always be read literally because the court can assume that the legislators have made no error or omission.
  5. It requires the courts to interpret statutes to ensure that, in the case of absurdity, repugnancy, or inconsistency, they are remedied by examining the context of the statute.

ANS: D

 

  1. What is the mischief rule of interpretation also known as?
  2. the rule in Hayden’s case
  3. the Gonnis conundrum
  4. A black day for the common law
  5. stare decisis

ANS: A

 

  1. In addition to the three rules of statutory interpretation, there are also three rules of construction. What are they called?
  2. the three grammatical principles of construction
  3. the three symbolic principles of construction
  4. the three semantic principles of construction
  5. the three rules of statutory application

ANS: A

 

  1. The grammatical principles provide consistency of analysis. What are these principles?
  2. expressio unius est exclusio alterius, ejusdem generis, and nositur a sociis
  3. res ipso loquitor, non est factum, and nemo debet bis vexari
  4. volenti no fit injuria, deus ex machina, and ignoratia jures non excusat
  5. audi altrem partem, de minimis not curat lex, and inter rusticos.

ANS: A

 

  1. Based on the application of the rules and principles of statutory interpretation in the Persons case, which statement best describes what the Supreme Court of Canada found?
  2. Women were persons in Canada.
  3. Women were not persons in Canada.
  4. Women could hold public office in Canada.
  5. The law is only intended to apply to men.

ANS: B

 

  1. Since 1982 the Canadian judiciary has modified its approach to statutory interpretation. Which of the following statements best illustrates this change?
  2. The Canadian judiciary considers the nation’s listed values to determine the validity of enactments.
  3. The Canadian judiciary has chosen to ignore the application of civil rights protections.
  4. The Canadian judiciary has rarely questioned the wisdom of the legislators in enacting laws.
  5. The Canadian judiciary has applied the “Rule in Heydon’s Case” more frequently.

ANS: A

 

  1. Why did the court in R. v. Ojibway decided that a horse is a “two-legged animal”?
  2. The court determined that anything breathing is a two-legged animal.
  3. The “Golden Rule” applies to all cases pertaining to horses.
  4. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms had not yet been proclaimed.
  5. The court determined that multi-legged animals like horses, are considered “two-legged” as well.

ANS: D

 

  1. Which statement best summarizes what the Leskun v. Leskun case says about legislative ambiguity?
  2. In difficult cases the court must look to legislative history.
  3. Definitions in an enactment must be expansively interpreted.
  4. The court must take into account differing values to interpret the statute in question.
  5. The conduct in question must fall completely within the confines of the enactment.

ANS: A

 

  1. In the Leskun decision, the Supreme Court of Canada looked at spousal misconduct as it related to spousal support and concluded that:
  2. Support awards should be doubled in cases of misconduct.
  3. The nexus between conduct and the quantum of support is tenuous at best.
  4. The misconduct is ‘off the table’ but its consequences are not.
  5. Spouses are always to be awarded support.

ANS: C

 

  1. Which statement best explains why the Supreme Court of Canada refused to strike down the mandatory minimum sentence for first degree murder in R. v. Luxton?
  2. A mandatory minimum sentence was not cruel.
  3. A mandatory minimum sentence was not unusual.
  4. A mandatory minimum sentence was cruel and unusual punishment.
  5. Parliament was responsible for deciding appropriate sentences for criminal offences.

ANS: D

 

  1. Which of the following definitions best explains stare decisis?
  2. of the same kind
  3. the thing speaks for itself
  4. to stand by decided things
  5. the expression of one is the exclusion of the other

ANS: C

 

  1. Which of the following relies on precedent as a key principle?
  2. the “Golden Rule”
  3. statutory interpretation
  4. grammatical construction
  5. the “Rule in Heydon’s Case”

ANS: B

 

  1. To which of the following situations does the interpretation of statutes and sections of statutes frequently contribute?
  2. a reduction in taxes
  3. greater certainty in the law
  4. the importance of parliamentary supremacy
  5. the logical development of consistent interpretations of law

ANS: B

 

  1. The ultimate task of statutory interpretation requires which of the following?
  2. a rigid step by step application of grammatical and interpretive rules
  3. a determination of the intention of the legislature when the statute is ambiguous
  4. the selective employment of rules in a random manner
  5. a strict linear approach

ANS: C

 

 

ESSAY

  1. Identify the influential statement made by Professor Driedger and apply it to two of the cases outlined in the chapter. For each case, explain how Professor Driedger’s statement assisted the court’s interpretation of the statute in question.

ANS: Answers will vary.

 

  1. In R. v. Alex, the dissent of Justice Rowe highlights a number of interpretive issues. Discuss these issues with respect to Professor Driedger’s commentary on interpretation.

ANS: Answers will vary.

 

  1. What are the three grammatical principles that the court uses to interpret statutes? Explain how each of these principles operates generally. Apply each of these principles to the facts and law in the case of R. v. Ojibway and explain what the decision of the court would be in each instance.

ANS: Answers will vary.

 

  1. In the case of Castillo v. Castillo, a limitations case, outline the issues in this case and describe how the court commenced its statutory interpretation. Also take into consideration statutory history or lack of it. Finally, what was the result and explain why.

ANS: Answers will vary.

 

  1. Historically Canada has maintained that it adheres to the British tradition of parliamentary supremacy. However, some scholars have argued that the enactment of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms has undermined that tradition by opening the door to more judge-made laws. In the case of R. v. Luxton the Supreme Court of Canada uses the principles of statutory interpretation to reach its decision. Does this decision adhere to the principles of parliamentary supremacy? If so, how?

ANS: Answers will vary.

 

  1. The principle of precedent is an important concept in common law jurisdictions. Precedent has both positive and negative effects in the Canadian legal tradition. Explain what these effects are and how they have impacted the court’s decisions in Canada.

ANS: Answers will vary.

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