Interpretation Act 1978

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1978 c. 30


Interpretation Act 1978

1978 CHAPTER 30

An Act to consolidate the Interpretation Act 1889 and certain other enactments relating to the construction and operation of Acts of Parliament and other instruments, with amendments to give effect to recommendations of the Law Commission and the Scottish Law Commission.

[20th July 1978]

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:—

General provisions as to enactment and operation

General provisions as to enactment and operation

S-1 Words of enactment.

1 Words of enactment.

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

S-2 Amendment or repeal in same Session.

2 Amendment or repeal in same Session.

Any Act may be amended or repealed in the Session of Parliament in which it is passed.

S-3 Judicial notice.

3 Judicial notice.

Every Act is a public Act to be judicially noticed as such, unless the contrary is expressly provided by the Act.

S-4 Time of commencement.

4 Time of commencement.

An Act or provision of an Act comes into force—

a ) where provision is made for it to come into force on a particular day, at the beginning of that day
b ) where no provision is made for its coming into force at the beginning of the day on which the Act receives the Royal Assent.
Interpretation and construction

Interpretation and construction

S-5 Definitions.

5 Definitions.

In any Act, unless the contrary intention appears, words and expressions listed in Schedule 1 to this Act are to be construed according to that Schedule.

S-6 Gender and number.

6 Gender and number.

In any Act, unless the contrary intention appears,—

a ) words importing the masculine gender include the feminine
b ) words importing the feminine gender include the masculine;
c ) words in the singular include the plural and words in the plural include the singular.
S-7 References to service by post.

7 References to service by post.

Where an Act authorises or requires any document to be served by post (whether the expression ‘serve’ or the expression ‘give’ or ‘send’ or any other expression is used) then, unless the contrary intention appears, the service is deemed to be effected by properly addressing, pre-paying and posting a letter containing the document and, unless the contrary is proved, to have been effected at the time at which the letter would be delivered in the ordinary course of post.

S-8 References to distance.

8 References to distance.

In the measurement of any distance for the purposes of an Act, that distance shall, unless the contrary intention appears, be measured in a straight line on a horizontal plane.

S-9 References to time of day.

9 References to time of day.

Subject to section 3 of the Summer Time Act 1972(construction of references to points of time during the period of summer time), whenever an expression of time occurs in an Act, the time referred to shall, unless it is otherwise specifically stated, be held to be Greenwich mean time.

S-10 References to the Sovereign.

10 References to the Sovereign.

In any Act a reference to the Sovereign reigning at the time of the passing of the Act is to be construed, unless the contrary intention appears, as a reference to the Sovereign for the time being.

S-11 Construction of subordinate legislation.

11 Construction of subordinate legislation.

Where an Act confers power to make subordinate legislation, expressions used in that legislation have, unless the contrary intention appears, the meaning which they bear in the Act.

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