Modern Interpretation in Practice
As we saw in Chapter 19, the technique which we labelled simple literalism is seriously defective and no longer characterizes the judicial approach to statutory interpretation. As we also saw, there is a greatly increased perception of the significance of the context within which words are used, and more particularly, of the purpose underlying the enactment. The contemporary approach is, therefore, sometimes called either contextualism, or, more usually, purposivism, but the alternative label of enlightened literalism is also useful, because it recognizes the evolutionary development of the modern approach, whilst at the same time clearly differentiating it from its predecessor.
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