THE RULE AGAINST THE USE OF LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: CANON OF CONSTRUCTION OR COUNSEL OF CAUTION?
AbstractBecause the author believes that the rule against the use of a statute’s legislative history conflicts with common sense and the common law of statutory interpretation, this article examines the pertinent law and history in an attempt to establish the precise content and origin of the rule, and to show that the textbooks have misstated it. The rule’s inclusions and exclusions are canvassed, including the surrounding circumstances, reports of commissioners, debates in Parliament, judicial instinct, amendments in committee, special acts and the explanatory notes attached to bills. The political considerations, practical considerations and legal considerations are examined in relation to the history of the rule.
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