Statutory interpretation is of crucial importance for both lawyers and judges. A notably fertile source of debate is the use of legislative history for purposes of statutory interpretation, which gained particular momentum in the past century. Proponents of the use of legislative history in statutory interpretation argue that it is a valuable tool for interpreting ambiguous statutes. On the other hand, opponents such as Justice Scalia have argued that the only law that should govern is that which has been passed by a majority of the House and the Senate. The debate among American judges and scholars has largely centered around whether or not the courts should be allowed recourse to the legislative record at all, though it has been suggested that we develop a more nuanced approach to the issue. In order to foster debate surrounding the use of legislative history, it is instructive to look to the experience in other common law countries. This Note will focus on the experience of British courts and their use of legislative history, using the House of Lords case Pepper v. Hart as a focal point.
The Need for Conditions Limiting the Use of Legislative History in Statutory Interpretation: Lessons from the British Courts,
Notre Dame J.L. Ethics & Pub. Pol'y
Available at: http://scholarship.law.nd.edu/ndjlepp/vol29/iss1/10