The Ontario Court Of Appeals Essay

1858 Words Dec 2nd, 2016 8 Pages
The key to understanding why the ruling by the Ontario Court of Appeals is more convincing lies in understanding textualism and its various shortcomings. As stated above textualism is a school of statutory interpretation that focuses heavily on analysing the actual text of the statute. To go deeper, textualism utilizes what is called the “plain meaning rule.” Under the plain meaning rule, if the words of a statue are clear and unambiguous, then other factors (like legislative intent, legislative history, compliance with public norms, avoiding absurd outcomes) are not considered at all by the court. Under a textualist approach, the only way those other factors can be considered is when the wording of a statute is unclear. Proponents of textualism and the plain meaning rule argue that strict textualism prevents the courts from being independent actors; instead of creating legislation and justifying it using the broad umbrella of “legislative intent,” judges instead are limited to enacting what the democratically elected legislature put in the statute. Another argument in favour of textualism is that it makes the law more accessible for your average citizen. If interpretation of the law closely follows the wording of statutes, then the average citizen can easily understand their rights and obligations by simply reading the relevant statues; however, if judges begin basing their decisions off legislative intent (which is not easily accessible for the average citizen) then…

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