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Interpretation of statutes is about understanding enacted law-texts, that is, making sense of the legislative scheme applicable to the situation at hand. Statutory Interpretation: An Introduction for Students aims to teach students to interpret and apply legislation within the total legal environment.
Part 1 (‘Statute law’) introduces students to the different types and categories of legislation, the structural components of legislation, the sometimes confusing ‘codes’ used in legislative texts, and the challenges of applying old order legislation together with new legislation. Part 2 (‘How legislation is interpreted’) comprises a chapter on the theoretical foundations of interpretation and an overview of the basic approaches to statutory interpretation in South Africa, and a chapter dealing with the practical application of the rules of interpretation. Part 3 (‘Judicial law-making during interpretation, and peremptory and directory provisions’) deals with day-to-day applications, and Part 4 is a basic introduction to constitutional interpretation. Students are also introduced to less well-known aspects of statutory interpretation, such as deeming clauses, the suspension of legislation, sunset clauses, legalese, and the counter-majoritarian difficulty.