Statutory interpretation

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Statutory interpretation refers to how ambiguous laws are construed and applied to factual situations by courts. Legal philosophies have developed in connection with how to interpret a statute.

Here are some examples of canons of statutory interpretation:

  • interpret a statute in a manner that avoids rendering it unconstitutional, a doctrine known as constitutional avoidance
  • expressio unius exclusio alterius, "expressing one item of [an] associated group or series excludes another left unmentioned," applies when in the natural association of ideas in the mind of the reader that which is expressed is so set over by way of strong contrast to that which is omitted that the contrast enforces the affirmative inference