I2.106 Context, consequences and ambiguities

IHT, trusts and estates

I2.106 Context, consequences and ambiguities

I2.106 Context, consequences and ambiguities

Note the following:


    (a)     A Finance Act must be read as a whole. If the clearly expressed scheme of the Act so requires, particular expressions may have to be read in a sense which would not be the natural one if they were taken by themselves1. This enables the court to consider the words of a section in the context of the Act, whether or not there is any ambiguity. Where there is an ambiguity the scheme of the Act may resolve it2.


    (b)     The words of the legislation must be construed in their context3. Few words in the English language have a natural or ordinary meaning in the sense that they must be so read that their meaning is entirely independent of context4. No one should profess to understand any part of a statute or any other document before he has read the whole of it. Until he has done so he is not entitled to say that it, or any part of it, is clear and unambiguous5. To this end the courts may look at the declared intention of the Act and the obvious evil that it is designed to remedy. Likewise the courts may consider the consequences of particular constructions6. These are no more than simple aspects of the general rule of literal interpretation.


    (c)     In the absence of express words which are wholly unambiguous, the court will depart from a literal interpretation where to keep to such an interpretation would lead

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