Interpretation Act 1889

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1889 c. 63


Interpretation Act, 1889

(52 & 53 Vict.) CHAPTER 63.

An Act for consolidating enactments relating to the Construction of Acts of Parliament and for further shortening the Language used in Acts of Parliament.

[30th August 1889]

B e it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

Re-enactment of existing Rules.

Re-enactment of existing Rules.

S-1 Rules as to gender and number.

1 Rules as to gender and number.

(1)—(1.) In this Act and in every Act passed after the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, unless the contrary intention appears,—

( a .) words importing the masculine gender shall include females; and

( b .) words in the singular shall include the plural, and words in the plural shall include the singular.

(2) (2.) The same rules shall be observed in the construction of every enactment relating to an offence punishable on indictment or on summary conviction, when the enactment is contained in an Act passed in or before the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty.

S-2 Application of penal Acts to bodies corporate.

2 Application of penal Acts to bodies corporate.

(1)—(1.) In the construction of every enactment relating to an offence punishable on indictment or on summary conviction, whether contained in an Act passed before or after the commencement of this Act, the expression ‘person’ shall, unless the contrary intention appears, include a body corporate.

(2) (2.) Where under any Act, whether passed before or after the commencement of this Act, any forfeiture or penalty is payable to a party aggrieved, it shall be payable to a body corporate in every case where that body is the party aggrieved.

S-3 Meanings of certain words in Acts since 1850.

3 Meanings of certain words in Acts since 1850.

In every Act passed after the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, the following expressions shall, unless the contrary intention appears, have the meanings hereby respectively assigned to them; namely,—

The expression ‘month’ shall mean calendar month:

The expression ‘land’ shall include messuages, tenements, and hereditaments, houses, and buildings of any tenure:

The expressions ‘oath’ and ‘affidavit’ shall, in the case of persons for the time being allowed by law to affirm or declare instead of swearing, include affirmation and declaration, and the expression ‘swear’ shall, in the like case, include affirm and declare.

S-4 Meaning of ‘county’ in past Acts.

4 Meaning of ‘county’ in past Acts.

In every Act passed after the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty and before the commencement of this Act the expression ‘county’ shall, unless the contrary intention appears, be construed as including a county of a city and a county of a town.

S-5 Meaning of ‘parish.’

5 Meaning of ‘parish.’

In every Act passed after the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty-six, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, the expression ‘parish’ shall, unless the contrary intention appears, mean, as respects England and Wales, a place for which a separate poor rate is or can be made, or for which a separate overseer is or can be appointed.

S-6 Meaning of ‘county court.’

6 Meaning of ‘county court.’

In this Act, and in every Act and Order of Council passed or made after the year one thousand eight hundred and forty-six, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, the expression ‘county court’ shall, unless the contrary intention appears, mean as respects England and Wales a court under the County Courts Act, 1888.

S-7 Meaning of ‘sheriff clerk,’ &c. in Scotch Acts.

7 Meaning of ‘sheriff clerk,’ &c. in Scotch Acts.

In every Act relating to Scotland, whether passed before or after the commencement of this Act, unless the contrary intention appears—

The expression ‘sheriff clerk’ shall include steward clerk;

The expressions ‘shire,’‘sheriffdom,’ and ‘county’ shall include any stewartry in Scotland.

S-8 Sections to be substantive enactments.

8 Sections to be substantive enactments.

Every section of an Act shall have effect as a substantive enactment without introductory words.

S-9 Acts to be public Acts.

9 Acts to be public Acts.

Every Act passed after the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, shall be a public Act and shall be judicially noticed as such, unless the contrary is expressly provided by the Act.

S-10 Amendment or repeal of Acts in same session.

10 Amendment or repeal of Acts in same session.

Any Act may be altered, amended, or repealed in the same session of Parliament.

S-11 Effect of repeal in Acts passed since 1850.

11 Effect of repeal in Acts passed since 1850.

(1)—(1.) Where an Act passed after the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, repeals a repealing enactment, it shall not be construed as reviving any enactment previously repealed, unless words are added reviving that enactment.

(2) (2.) Where an Act passed after the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, repeals wholly or partially any former enactment and substitutes provisions for the enactment repealed, the repealed enactment shall remain in force until the substituted provisions come into operation.

New General Rules of Construction.

New General Rules of Construction.

S-12 Official definitions in past and future Acts.

12 Official definitions in past and future Acts.

In this Act, and in every other Act whether passed before or after the commencement of this Act, the following expressions shall, unless the contrary intention appears, have the meanings hereby respectively assigned to them, namely:—

(1) (1.) The expression ‘the Lord Chancellor’ shall, except when used with reference to Ireland only, mean the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain for the time being, and when used with reference to Ireland only, shall mean the Lord Chancellor of Ireland for the time being.

(2) (2.) The expression ‘the Treasury’ shall mean the Lord High Treasurer for the time being or the Commissioners for the time being of Her Majesty's Treasury.

(3) (3.) The expression ‘Secretary of State’ shall mean one of Her Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State for the time being.

(4) (4.) The expression ‘the Admiralty’ shall mean the Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom for the time being, or the Commissioners for the time being for executing the office of Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom.

(5) (5.) The expression ‘the Privy Council’ shall, except when used with reference to Ireland only, mean the Lords and others for the time being of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, and when used with reference to Ireland only, shall mean the Privy Council of Ireland for the time being.

(6) (6.) The expression ‘the Education Department’ shall mean the Lords of the Committee for the time being of the Privy Council appointed for Education.

(7) (7.) The expression ‘the Scotch Education Department’ shall mean the Lords of the Committee for the time being of the Privy Council appointed for Education in Scotland.

(8) (8.) The expression ‘the Board of Trade’ shall mean the Lords of the Committee for the time being of the Privy Council appointed for the consideration of matters relating to trade and foreign plantations.

(9) (9.) The expression ‘Lord Lieutenant,’ when used with reference to Ireland, shall mean the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland or other Chief Governors or Governor of Ireland for the time being.

(10) (10.) The expression ‘Chief Secretary,’ when used with reference to Ireland, shall mean the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant for the time being.

(11) (11.) The expression ‘Postmaster General’ shall mean Her Majesty's Postmaster General for the time being.

(12) (12.) The expression ‘Commissioners of Woods’ or ‘Commissioners of Woods and Forests’ shall mean the Commissioners of Her Majesty's Woods, Forests, and Land Revenues for the time being.

(13) (13.) The expression ‘Commissioners of Works’ shall mean the Commissioners of Her Majesty's Works and Public Buildings for the time being.

(14) (14.) The expression ‘Charity Commissioners’ shall mean the Charity Commissioners for England and Wales for the time being.

(15) (15.) The expression ‘Ecclesiastical Commissioners’ shall mean the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for England for the time being.

(16) (16.) The expression ‘Queen Anne's Bounty’ shall mean the Governors of the Bounty of Queen Anne for the augmentation of the maintenance of the poor clergy.

(17) (17.) The expression ‘National Debt Commissioners’ shall mean the Commissioners for the time being for the Reduction of the National Debt.

(18) (18.) The expression ‘the Bank of England’ shall mean, as circumstances require, the...

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