Canon of Legal Construction – Noscitur a Sociis | Whuff News


For purposes of statutory construction, courts and accountants use a series of “canons” to guide them. These include textual canons (internal aids), linguistic assumptions and grammatical conventions, objective canons and external aids. It is impossible to list them all, but there are some common canons, and these are very useful for legislation.

We begin with the careful and deliberate preparation of draft laws by the legislature. Because of this assumption, the normal practice of the judiciary is to narrow the law rather than to expand it, and the courts are by definition less activist.

Noscitur and Sociis It guides us to interpret words or phrases in relation to other words around them. In other words, courts must interpret an ambiguous word or phrase by considering the use of the word or phrase in its literary context. Some commenters suggested that terms should be defined by the holding company.

The following is an example: Each class should be provided with paper, bond paper, printing paper, cardboard, and colored paper. What does the first “paper” refer to in this case? Under this canon, the first “paper” would be something related to binder paper, printer paper, cardboard, and colored paper, perhaps writing paper, but probably not a receipt, which would be less useful and conspicuous in the classroom. Given the context provided by the other words in the sentence.

Therefore, this canon of statutory construction helps to determine the meaning of an unclear or ambiguous word (as in the statute) by considering the words in the context. Noscitur a sociis is used to interpret doubtful words in law.

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