Monday, December 04, 2006

Gawd bless the judiciary

Not Saussure has quoted from a High Court judgment on the appeal of a young man charged under the Criminal Justice Act. The following passage, where the court has been grappling with the results of yet another bout of legislative diarrhoea, is wonderful - try reading it aloud in the voice of Peter Cook's 'Secret Policeman's Ball' judge summing up in the Thorpe trial:
So, yet again, the courts are faced with a sample of the deeply confusing provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, and the satellite Statutory Instruments to which it is giving stuttering birth. The most inviting course for this Court to follow, would be for its members, having shaken their heads in despair to hold up their hands and say: "the Holy Grail of rational interpretation is impossible to find". But it is not for us to desert our judicial duty, however lamentably others have legislated. But, we find little comfort or assistance in the historic canons of construction for determining the will of Parliament which were fashioned in a more leisurely age and at a time when elegance and clarity of thought and language were to be found in legislation as a matter of course rather than exception. In our judgment, as sensible an approach as can be achieved to the part of this legislation presently under consideration is as follows.


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