Interpretation act 1978

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This Act provides general rules on the interpretation of statutory documents by the courts, etc. The most important include that, unless otherwise stated:

  • an Act comes into effect at the beginning of the day defined in the Act itself or, if no date is specified, on the day it receives the Royal assent;
  • masculine words imply feminine and vice versa; plurals imply singulars and vice versa;
  • a reference to 'the Sovereign' is taken to refer to the current monarch;
  • if statute X repeals statute Y, and X is then repealed, Y remains repealed. That is, repealing a repeal does not cancel out the original repeal;
  • if more than one Act creates an offence with the same particulars, an offender may be punished under any relevant Act, but not more than one;

There are also definitions of phrases relating to serving documents by post, meanings of terms like 'savings institution', and provisions for how measurements of distance and time are to be interpreted. This Act is binding on the Crown.

See: Statutory interpretation