Legal Method Reviewer
: Statutory Construction by AgpaloPage
The art or process of discovering andexpounding the meaning and intention of theauthors of law, where that intention is rendereddoubtful by reason of the ambiguity in itslanguage or the fact that the given case is notexplicitly provided for in the law.
: to ascertain and give effect to theintent of the law, to determine legislative intent.
Rules of Statutory Construction
These are tools used to ascertain legislativeintent. They are not rules but mere axioms of experience.
The essence of the law. The intent of thelegislature is the law, and the key to, and thecontrolling factor in, its construction andinterpretation.
The primary source of legislative intent is thestatute itself.
Where the words or phrases of a statute are notobscure or ambiguous, its meaning and theintention of the legislature must be determined fromthe language employed.Legislative Purpose
The reason why a particular statute wasenacted by the legislature.
What the law, by its language, means: what itcomprehends, what it covers or embraces,what it limits or confines.
In construing a statute, it is not enough to ascertainthe intention or meaning of the statute; it is alsonecessary to see whether the intention or meaninghas been expressed in such a way as to give it legaleffect and validity.
The duty and power to interpret or construe astatute or the Constitution belongs to the judiciary.
The SC construes the applicable law incontroversies which are ripe for judicialresolution.
The court does not interpret law in a vacuum.
The legislature has no power to overrule theinterpretation or construction of a statute or theConstitution by the Supreme Court, for interpretation is a judicial function assigned tothe latter by the fundamental law.
The SC may, in an appropriate case, change or overrule its previous construction.
sine qua non
before the court mayconstrue or interpret a statute, is that there be doubtor ambiguity in its language. The province of construction lies wholly within the domain of ambiguity. Where there is no ambiguity in the wordsof a statute, there is no room for construction.
A statute is ambiguous when it is capable of being understood by reasonably well-informedpersons in either of two senses.
Where the law is free from ambiguity, the courtmay not introduce exceptions or conditionswhere none is provided.
A meaning that does not appear nor is intendedor reflected in the very language of the statutecannot be placed therein be construction.
Where the two statutes that apply to a particular case, that which was specifically designed for the said case must prevail over the other.
When the SC has laid down a principle of lawas applicable to a certain state of facts, it willadhere to that principle and apply it to all futurecases where the facts are substantially thesame.
Judicial rulings have no retroactive effect.
The court may issue guidelines in applying thestatute, not to enlarge or restrict it but to clearlydelineate what the law requires. This is not judicial legislation but an act to define what thelaw is.
Limitations on power to construe
Courts may not enlarge nor restrict statutes.
Courts may not be influenced by questions of wisdom.
AIDS TO CONSTRUCTION
To ascertain the true intent of the statute, the court mayavail of
, or those found in the printed pageof the statute, and
, those extraneous factsand circumstances outside the printed page.1.Title
The title may indicate the legislative extentor restrict the scope of the law, and astatute couched in a language of doubtfulimport will be construed to conform to thelegislative intent as disclosed in its title.
When the text of the statute is clear andfree form doubt, it is improper to resort toits title to make it obscure.2.Preamble
That part of the statute written immediatelyafter its title, which states the purpose,reason or justification for the enactment of a law. It is usually expressed in the form of “whereas” clauses.
It is not an essential part of the statute. Butit may, when the statute is ambiguous, beresorted to clarify the ambiguity, as a key toopen the minds of the lawmakers as to thepurpose of the statute.