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University of Mississippi School of Law
Hall, Matthew R.

Hall, Fall 07
Most areas of law are statutory rather than common law
Criminal law
Contract law
Evidence law
Procedural law
Programmatic Legislation
Dominant form of legislation,
                                                               i.      Began with the New Deal in the 30’s
Consists of public law that cannot be formulated or promulgated by the courts
Deals with the establishment of agencies and assignment of tasks
Legislature seeks to occupy the entire field it regulates
                                                               i.      No room for lawmaking in an area
Requires a thorough knowledge of the area to be regulated
Future Role
Reading and interpreting Statutes
                                                               i.      Advocate
                                                             ii.      Advisor
                                                            iii.      Adjudicator
Writing Statutes
                                                               i.      Legislator
                                                             ii.      Drafter
                                                            iii.      Lobbyist
Statutory reform/codification movements
Legislation now the primary vehicle for making law
                                                               i.      Virtually all cases rest on statutes
Courts now interpret rather than create
Judicial Superiority
                                                               i.      Constitutional interpretation
                                                               i.      Constitutionality of statutes
Legislative Supremacy v Legislative Superiority
Statutory Displacement of Common Law
Judiciary’s obligation to follow statutes
Legislative control of jurisdiction of the courts
                                                               i.      Judiciary’s Ability to interpret statutes
                                                             ii.      Separation of Powers
Statutes v. Common Law
Attributes of a Statute
                                                               i.      Comprehensive/general
                                                             ii.      Revolutionary/adaptable
                                                            iii.      No limit to/need for info
                                                           iv.      Created because of interest
                                                             v.      Open to public
                                                           vi.      Deliberation in public
                                                          vii.      Advance notice
                                                        viii.      Prospective
                                                           ix.      Accompanied by commentary
                                                             x.      Rule is manifest
                                                           xi.      Product of compromise
                                                          xii.      Policy-political/subjective
Attributes of C/L
                                                               i.      Ad hoc/fact-specific
                                                             ii.      Evolutionary/stable
                                                            iii.      Limited to the record
                                                           iv.      Created because of events
                                                             v.      Open to parties
                                                           vi.      Deliberation in secret
                                                          vii.      No advance notice
                                                        viii.      Retrospective to parties
                                                           ix.      Decision speaks for itself
                                                             x.      Rule may be latent
                                                           xi.      Product of reason
                                                          xii.      Reasoned/objective
How should courts deal with Statutes?
Historical judicial hostility to legislative law
Cts interpret statutes narrowly but use expansive CL b/c they believe statutes are political and therefore inferior to rationally reasoned CL
4 options
                                                               i.      receive statute fully into body of law as affording not only a rule to be applied but a principle from which to reason and hold it as an expression of the general will
                                                             ii.      receive statute into the body of law but regard it as equal or coordinate authority with judge made rule
                                                            iii.      refuse to receive statute fully into the body of law, refusing to reason from it by analogy and giving it a liberal interpretation
                                                           iv.      refuse to reason from statute and interpret it narrowly, limiting its application
Statutes in derogation of the common law are to be narrowly construed
                                                               i.      Interpretive canon
Statutes as Precedents
                                                               i.      Precedent=direct/binding authority
1.       not controversial
                                                             ii.      Precedent=persuasive authority
1.       basis for reasoning by analogy
2.       controversial
                                                            iii.      Why important?
1.       should the legislature influence the evolution of the common law?
If statutes are precedents, can the courts overturn them?
Lifecycle of Statutes
Engrossed Bill-final version acted on by the legislature
Enrolled Bill-sent to executive
Slip law-waiting for executive action
                                                               i.      Signature
                                                             ii.      Veto
                                                            iii.      Lapse of time
Statutes at large/session laws
                                                               i.      All laws enacted during particular legislative session
                                                               i.      Collection/organization of operational provisions
Statue v Code
Consolidation & Collection of all permanent Laws in Force
                                                               i.      USC
1.       Office of the Law Revision Counsel, House of Representatives

                                      i.      Fixed Meaning Approach
                                                             ii.      Evolved Meaning Approach
Fixed Meaning approach
                                                               i.      A statutory cross reference to a specific provision of another statute refersonly to the referenced provision as it existed at the time of the adoption of the referencing statute and does not include any subsequent amendments to the referenced provision
                                                             ii.      The meaning is fixed at the time the cross referencing statute is enacted
                                                            iii.      Repeal of the referenced statute does not change the meaning
                                                           iv.      Wrinkle: a cross reference to a general body of laws, rather than a specific statute includes subsequent change and evolution to that body of law on the assumption that the legislature was aware of possible evolution
                                                             v.      In a cross reference the legislature can explicitly say that the reference does or does not refer to amendments and eliminate any presumption through drafting
Evolved Meaning Approach
                                                               i.      A statutory cross reference to a provision of another statute incorporated subsequent amendments to the referenced provision
                                                             ii.      Benefits
1.       Public is more familiar with the current law
2.       its difficult to research old statutes
In Pari Materia
                                                               i.      Interpret statutes relating to the same subject in parallel with each other
                                                             ii.      Construe and apply statutes as a whole
                                                            iii.      Combining Doctrines
1.       Courts that use in pari materia support the evolved meaning approach
Dealing with conflicts between statutes
                                                               i.      Interpret statutes so as to harmonize rather than to create a conflict
                                                             ii.      If not possible:
1.       later enacted prevails over earlier
2.       mandatory language prevails over discretionary
3.       specific prevails over general
                                                            iii.      Interpret to avoid rendering a provision unnecessary or surplusage
                                                           iv.      Interpret to give effect to every word and provision