Page 1

NO.

OF 2013

VIRGIN ISLANDS INTERPRETATION (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2013 ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

Section 1. .. Short title. 2. .. Section 2 replaced.  3. .. Section 3 replaced.  4. .. Section 12 amended.  5. .. Section 15 replaced.  6. .. Section 16 replaced.  7. .. Section 17 amended.  8. .. Section 18 replaced.  9. .. Section 19 amended.  10. Section 39 replaced.  11. Section 41 replaced.  12. Section 42 replaced.  13. Section 43 replaced.  14. Section 44 amended.  15. Section 45 replaced.  16. Section 48 amended. 

1


No. of 2013

Interpretation (Amendment) Act, 2013 Virgin Islands

I ASSENT

Governor , 2013

VIRGIN ISLANDS No.

of 2013

A Bill for An Act to amend the Interpretation Act, (Cap. 136) [Gazetted

, 2013]

ENACTED by the Legislature of the Virgin Islands as follows: Short title. Section 2 replaced. Cap. 136

1. This Act may be cited as the Interpretation (Amendment) Act, 2013. 2. Section 2 of the Interpretation Act (hereinafter referred to as “the principal Act”) is replaced with the following: “Interpretation.

2. (1) In this Act and in every written law enacted before or after the commencement of this Act the following words and expressions shall, without prejudice to anything done before the commencement of this Act, have the meanings respectively assigned to them unless there is something in the subject or context inconsistent with such construction or unless it is therein otherwise expressly provided: "access" includes ingress, egress, and regress; "act" where used in reference to an offence or civil wrong includes a series of acts, and words so used that refer to acts done extend also to omissions;

2


"Act" means any Act or Ordinance of the Legislature of the Virgin Islands passed on or before the commencement of this Act and “Act” when used in any statutory instrument, means the Act under the authority of which the statutory instrument was made; “action” means a civil proceeding commenced in such manner as may be prescribed by rules of court and includes a claim under the Eastern Caribbean Civil Procedure Rules, 2000, but does not include a criminal proceeding by the Crown; "appointed day" for the purposes of any provision of the enactment means such day as the Governor or a Minister may, by proclamation or notice published in the Official Gazette, appoint; "arbitrator", when used in relation to any matter referred to arbitration under and in accordance with the provisions of the Arbitration Ordinance, includes an umpire appointed under those provisions; "assets" includes property or rights of any kind; "Associated States" means a territory maintaining a status of association with the United Kingdom in accordance with the West Indies Act 1967;

Cap. 30 (U.K.)

"Attorney General" means the person for the time being holding or acting in that post; "Auditor General" means the Auditor General referred to in section 109 of the Constitution and appointed under section 4 of the Audit Act, 2003; "bailiff' means the bailiff of the Supreme Court;

3

U.K. S.I. 2007 No. 1678 Act No. 13 of 2003


Cap. 80

U.K.S.I. 2007 No. 1678

"barrister-at-law" means any person admitted or entitled to practise in the Territory as a barrister-at-law in accordance with the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (Virgin Islands) Act; "belonger" means a person claimed to belong to the Territory under section 2 (2) of the Constitution; "British possession" means any part of Her Majesty’s dominions outside the United Kingdom; and where parts of such dominions are under both a central and a local legislature, all parts under the central legislature are deemed, for the purposes of this definition, to be one British possession;

U.K.S.I. 2007 No. 1678

"Cabinet" means the Cabinet established under section 45 of the Constitution; "Cabinet Secretary" means the Cabinet Secretary appointed as such pursuant to section 51 of the Constitution; "Chief Justice" means the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; "Clerk" means the person for the time being holding or acting in the post of the Clerk of the House of Assembly; “coin” means any coin legally current in the Territory; "colony" means any part of Her Majesty’s dominions outside the British Islands except (a)

countries having fully responsible status within the Commonwealth;

(b)

territories for whose external relations a country other than the United Kingdom is responsible;

(c)

associated states,

4


and where parts of such dominions are under both a central and a local legislature, all parts under the central legislature are deemed for the purposes of this definition to be one colony; "commencement" when used with reference to any enactment means the time at which that enactment comes into operation; "committed for trial" means committed by a court, judge, magistrate, justice or other authority having power to commit a person in custody with a view to his trial before a Judge and a jury, and includes committed on bail upon a recognisance to appear and stand trial before a Judge and jury; "common law" means the common law of England; "Commonwealth citizen" means a person who under the British Nationality Act, 1981 or any Act amending or replacing the same has the status of a Commonwealth citizen;

Cap. 61

"Commonwealth Country" means the United Kingdom, Association of Eastern Caribbean States and Colonies and any country that is an independent sovereign member of the Commonwealth; "Consolidated Fund" means the Consolidated Fund established under section 102 of the Constitution; "constable" means a member of the Police Force as defined in the Police Act or in any Act amending or replacing the same and includes a special constable as defined therein; "Constitution" means the Virgin Islands Constitution Order, 2007 or any Order in Council amending or replacing the same; “Consular officer� has the meaning assigned by Article 1 of the Vienna Convention set out

5

U.K.S.I. 2007 No. 1678

Cap. 165

U.K.S.I. 2007 No. 1678


in Schedule 1 to the Consular Relations Act 1968;

Cap. 18 (UK)

"contravention" in relation to any enactment, includes a failure to comply with the enactment; "coin" means any coin legally current in the Territory; "costs"

includes fees, charges, expenses or remuneration;

disbursements,

"court" means any court of the Territory of competent jurisdiction;

U.K.S.I. 1967 No. 223

"Court of Appeal" means the Court of Appeal established by the Supreme Court Order, 1967 (a); "court of summary jurisdiction" means a magistrate exercising statutory summary jurisdiction; "Crown Agents" means all or any of the persons designated Crown Agents in the United Kingdom for Overseas Governments and Administrations; "Deputy Clerk" means the person for the time being holding or acting in the post of the Deputy Clerk of the House of Assembly;

U.K.S.I. 2007 No. 1678

"Deputy Governor" means the Deputy Governor of the Territory appointed under section 36 of the Constitution;

U.K.S.I. 2007 No. 1678

"Deputy Speaker" means the Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly elected as such under section 69 of the Constitution; "Director of Public Prosecutions" means the person for the time being holding or acting in that post; "Dominion" includes all territories which belong to the Crown or are in the ownership of the

6


Crown including Canada, Australia and New Zealand; "Eastern Caribbean" means Antigua, St. Christopher-Nevis, Anguilla, Montserrat, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Grenada, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana and the dependencies of any of them; "enactment" means an Act or a statutory instrument or any provision in an Act or statutory instrument; "fault" means wrongful act or default; "Financial Secretary" means the person for the time being holding or acting in that post; "foreign vessel" means any vessel or ship that is not registered under the laws of the Territory; "functions" includes jurisdiction, powers and duties; "goods" means all kinds of movable property, including animals; "Government" means the Government of the Territory; "Government Notice" means any announcement whether or not of a legislative character published in the Gazette by or with the authority of the Government; "Government Printer" includes any printer authorised to print enactments and other documents of the Government; "Governor" means the Governor of the Territory appointed under section 35 of the Constitution and includes any person performing the functions of the office of Governor under section 37, 38 or 39 of the Constitution;

7

U.K.S.I. 2007 No. 1678


U.K.S.I. 1967 No. 223

"High Court" means the High Court of Justice established by the Supreme Court Order, 1967;

U.K.S.I. 2007 No. 1678

"House of Assembly" means the House of Assembly of the Territory constituted in accordance with section 63 of the Constitution; "individual" means a natural person and does not include a corporation; "instrument" includes a proclamation, order or warrant (other than an order made or a warrant issued by a court), notice, scheme, rule, regulation or by-law; "Judge" means the Chief Justice or any other Judge of the Supreme Court;

U.K.S.I. 2007 No. 1678

U.K.S.I. 1967 No. 223

"Judicial and Legal Services Commission" means the Judicial and Legal Services Commission established under section 94 of the Constitution; "judicial oaths" means the judicial oaths set out in the First Schedule to the Supreme Court Order, 1967; “Justice" means a Justice of the Peace;

U.K.S.I. 2007 No. 1678

"Leader of the Opposition" means the Leader of the Opposition appointed under section 70 of the Constitution; "legal practitioner" means a barrister-at-law or a solicitor;

Cap. 44

"magistrate" means a magistrate appointed under the Magistrate's Code of Procedure Act and includes an additional magistrate;

Cap. 44

"magistrate's court" means a magistrate's court established under the Magistrate's Code of Procedure Act;

8


"Master" means a Master of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court;

U.K.S.I. 1967 No. 223

"Minister" means the Premier or other Minister for the time being having responsibility for the subject-matter of the enactment in respect of which that expression is used; "month" means calendar month; "movable property" means property of every description (including growing crops) except immovable property; "non-belonger" means a person who is not a belonger; "oath of allegiance" means the oath of allegiance set out in the Schedule to the Constitution and includes the affirmation of allegiance set out therein; "oath for due execution of office" means the oath for due execution of office set out in the Schedule to the Constitution and includes the affirmation for due execution of office set out therein;

U.K.S.I. 2007 No. 1678

U.K.S.I. 2007 No. 1678

"originating motion" or "originating summons" includes a fixed date claim form as defined in the Eastern Caribbean Civil Procedure Rules, 2000; "perform" in relation exercise;

to

functions,

includes

"plaintiff" includes a claimant as defined in the Eastern Caribbean Civil Procedure Rules, 2000; "Police Force" means the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force constituted and maintained under the provisions of the Police Act or any Act replacing the same;

9

Cap. 165


U.K.S.I. 2007 No. 1678 U.K.S.I. 2007 No. 1678

"Police Service Commission" means the Police Service Commission established under section 96 of the Constitution; "Premier" means the Premier appointed section 52 of the Constitution;

under

"prescribed" means prescribed in or under the enactment in which that expression occurs; "prescribed by the House of Assembly" means prescribed by or under an Act; "printed" has the meaning assigned to "writing" and "written" in this subsection; "printed by authority of law" means printed by the Government Printer or by other lawful authority; "private Act" means an Act for the purpose of affecting or benefiting some particular person passed in accordance with any standing orders of the House of Assembly for the time being in force in that behalf; "proclamation" means a proclamation made by the Governor under the Public Seal;

U.K.S.I. 2007 No. 1678 U.K.S.I. 2007 No. 1678

"public office" has the meaning assigned to it by section 2 (1) of the Constitution; "public officer" has the meaning assigned to it section 2 (1) of the Constitution; "public place" includes any public highway, street, road, thoroughfare, square, court, alley, lane, bridleway, footway, parade, plaza, passage or a place used or frequented by the public or a portion of the public or to which the public or a portion of the public have or are permitted to have access; "Public Seal" means the public seal of the Territory;

U.K.S.I. 2007 No. 1678

"public service" has the meaning assigned to it by section 2 (1) of the Constitution;

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"Public Service Commission" means the Public Service Commission established under section 91 of the Constitution;

U.K.S.I. 2007 No. 1678

"Public Treasury" or "Treasury" means the Treasury of the Territory; "Registration Office" means the Registration Office of the Territory; “repeal� includes rescind, revoke, cancel or replace; "resident" means a person who holds a current and valid certificate of residence under section 18(1) of the Immigration and Passport Ordinance or any enactment amending or replacing the same, or a person whose name is endorsed upon a certificate of residence under section 18(2) of the said Ordinance; "rules" includes regulations, by-laws and orders; "rules of court" when used in relation to any court means rules made by the authority having for the time being power to make rules regulating the practice and procedure of that court; "sale" and "sell" includes exchange or barter; "Secretary of State" means one of Her Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State; "service by post" means service in accordance with of section 25(1); "session" in relation to the House of Assembly means the sittings of the House of Assembly commencing when it first met after the Constitution came into force or after the prorogation or dissolution of the House of Assembly at any time and terminating when the House of Assembly is prorogued or is dissolved without having been prorogued;

11

Cap. 130


"sign", with its grammatical variations and cognate expressions, with reference to a person who is unable to write his name, includes “mark� with its grammatical variations and cognate expressions; "sitting" in relation to the House of Assembly means a period during which the House of Assembly is sitting continuously without adjournment and includes any period during which the House is in committee;

Cap. 80

"solicitor" means any person admitted or entitled to practise in the Territory as a solicitor in accordance with the West Indies Associated States Supreme Court (Virgin Islands) Ordinance;

U.K.S.I. 2007 No. 1678

"Speaker" means the Speaker of the House of Assembly elected as such under section 69 of the Constitution; "statute of limitation" means any enactment in force in the Territory prescribing a period within which such enactment relates is required to be brought, but shall not include an enactment prescribing a period within which any criminal proceedings (including proceedings to recover any penalty imposed as a punishment for a criminal offence) are to be brought; "statutory board" means any board, commission, committee, council or other like body established by or under an enactment; "statutory document" means any document, other than a statutory instrument or an order of a court, issued under an Act; "statutory instrument" means an instrument made under an Act; "street" or "road" includes any public highway, street, road thoroughfare, square, court, alley, lane, bridleway, footway, parade,

12


plaza, passage or place used or frequented by the public or a portion of the public or to which the public or a portion of the public have or are permitted to have access; "subsidiary legislation" means any regulation, rule, by-law, proclamation, order in Council, order, direction, notice, form, or other instrument made under any law or other lawful authority and having legislative effect; "summary conviction" means conviction in respect of a summary offence; "summary offence" means an offence triable otherwise than on indictment; "Supreme Court" means the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court established by the Supreme U.K.S.I. 1967 No. 223 Court Order, 1967; "surety" means sufficient surety; "Teaching Service Commission" means the Teaching Service Commission established U.K.S.I. 2007 No. 1678 under section 93 of the Constitution; "Territory" means the Virgin Islands; "the Gazette" means the Official Gazette of the Virgin Islands; "United Kingdom" means the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; "United Kingdom Act" means an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament; "vessel" or "ship" means any ship, boat, lighter or other floating craft used or capable of being used for transport by water; "will" includes codicil;

13


"words" when used in an amending enactment includes figures, punctuation marks and typographical, monetary, mathematical and scientific symbols; "writ of summons", "writ of summons endorsed with statement of claim" or "specially endorsed writ" includes a claim form as defined in the Eastern Caribbean Civil Procedure Rules, 2000; "writing", "written" or any term of like import includes words typewritten, printed, painted, engraved, lithographed, photographed or represented or reproduced by any mode of representing or producing words in a visible form; "written law" includes the Constitution and all previous Constitutions having application to the Territory and all Acts, Ordinances and enactments by whatever name called and subsidiary enactments made thereunder for the time being in force in the Territory. (2) Where a word or expression is defined in a written law, then, unless the contrary intention appears, other parts of speech and grammatical forms of that word or expression, and cognate expressions, have corresponding meanings in that law. (3) A reference in an enactment to money is a reference to the currency that is legal in the Territory. (4) Every Schedule to an Act shall, together with any note thereto, be construed and have effect as part of the Act. (5) When an Act is divided into Parts, Chapters, titles or other subdivisions, the fact and particulars of such division shall, with or without express mention thereof in the Act, be taken notice of in all courts and for all purposes whatsoever. (6) Except as is otherwise expressly provided, whenever forms are prescribed, slight deviations therefrom, not affecting the substance or calculated to mislead, shall not invalidate them.

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(7) Where an Act includes an example or illustration of the operation of a provision

3.

(a)

the example or illustration shall not be taken to be exhaustive; and

(b)

if the example or illustration is inconsistent with the provision, the provision prevails.”.

Section 3 of the principal Act is replaced as follows:

Section 3 replaced.

3. (1) Subject to subsection (2), every provision of this Act extends and applies

“Application.

(a)

to every enactment whether passed or made before or after the commencement of this Act; and

(b)

to every public document made or issued before or after the commencement of this Act,

unless a contrary intention appears in this Act, the enactment or the public document. (2) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 2 (1), this Act does not apply for the construction or interpretation of the Constitution. (3) The provisions of this Act apply to this Act as they apply to an enactment passed after the commencement of this Act and references in this Act to an enactment so passed shall be construed accordingly.”. 4. Section 12 of the principal Act is amended by replacing subsection (2) as follows:

Section 12 amended.

“(2) Marginal notes, side notes or headings in an enactment and references to other enactments in the margin or at the end of an enactment shall be construed as part of the enactment and may be considered in ascertaining the meaning of an enactment.”. 5.

Section 15 of the principal Act is replaced as follows:

“Date enactments etc. become law.

15. (1) An enactment becomes law in accordance with section 79 of the Constitution.

15

Section 15 replaced. U.K.S.I. 2007 No. 1678


(2) The Governor's Assent and the day, month and year thereof shall be inscribed on every Act immediately above the year and number of the Act and such inscription shall be taken to be part of the Act. (3) The date of the making of every statutory instrument is the date therein expressed as the date of the execution thereof, but where the instrument is made by two or more authorities jointly and is therein expressed to have been executed by those authorities on different dates, the date of the making thereof shall be the last date so expressed. (4) Where a statutory instrument made or to be made after the commencement of this Act by an authority requires the concurrence or approval of any other authority, that concurrence or approval shall be formally inscribed on the instrument either

Section 16 replaced.

6.

(a)

on or before the date of the making thereof; or

(b)

if the other authority has before that date indicated an intention to concur in or approve of the making of the instrument, within one month after such making.�.

Section 16 of the principal Act is replaced as follows:

“Commencement of enactments.

16. (1) An enactment or a provision of an enactment shall commence or come into operation (a)

where a particular day for its commencement or coming into operation is specified by the enactment or by a Proclamation or notice made under the enactment, on the expiration of the previous day; or

(b)

where the day of its commencement or coming into operation is the date of its publication in the Gazette, on the expiration of the previous day.

16


(2) Where an enactment is to commence or come into operation on a day specified by a Proclamation or notice made under the enactment, the Proclamation or notice may specify different days for different provisions of the enactment to come into operation. (3) If an enactment does not state or provide for a day or date of commencement or coming into force, the enactment commences or comes into force on the day after the date of assent and, if a statutory instrument does not state or provide for a day or date of coming into force, the statutory instrument comes into force on the day after the date of publication in the Gazette.”. Section 17 amended.

7. Section 17 of the principal Act is amended in subsections (2) and (3) by replacing the words “Legislative Council” wherever they occur in those subsections with the words “House of Assembly”. 8.

Section 18 of the principal Act is replaced as follows:

“Exercise of powers between passing and commencement of legislation.

18. (1) A power conferred by an enactment may be exercised before the enactment comes into force or takes effect to (a)

make a statutory instrument;

(b)

serve a notice or document;

(c)

appoint a person to an office or position;

(d)

establish a body of persons;

(e)

hold elections;

(f)

do any other act or thing for the purposes of an enactment.

(2) The power may be exercised only if the exercise of the power is necessary or desirable to bring, or in connection with bringing, an enactment into operation. (3) The power may not be exercised if anything that results from exercising the power comes into force or takes effect before the enactment itself comes into force unless the exercise of the power is necessary or desirable to

17

Section 18 replaced.


bring, or in connection with bringing, the enactment into operation. (4) Subsection (1) applies as if the enactment under which the power is exercised and any other enactment that is not in force when the power is exercised were in force when the power is exercised.”. Section 19 amended.

9. Section 19 of the principal Act is amended in subsection (10) by replacing paragraph (a) as follows: “(a)

Section 39 replaced.

there may be annexed to a contravention of that statutory instrument a penalty or a term of imprisonment or both such fine and such imprisonment as the person or authority making the statutory instrument thinks fit;”.

10. Section 39 of the principal Act is replaced as follows: “Reckoning of time.

39. (1) If in any enactment or statutory instrument a period of time, dating from a given day, act or event, is prescribed or allowed for any purpose, the time shall be reckoned exclusive of that day or of the day of that act or event. (2) If the last day of a period of time prescribed or allowed by an Act or statutory instrument for the doing of anything falls (a)

on a Saturday or Sunday; or

(b)

on a day that is a public holiday;

the thing may be done on the first day following that is not a Saturday or Sunday, or a public holiday, as the case may be. (3) If in any Act or statutory instrument a period of time is prescribed or allowed for the doing of anything and a power is conferred on any person or authority to extend the period of time (a)

that power may be exercised; and

(b)

if the exercise of that power depends on the making of an application for an extension of the period of time such an application may be made;

18


after the period of time has expired. (4) In an enactment, words relating to time and reference to a point of time shall be construed as relating or referring to standard time. (5) In an enactment, the expression "standard time" shall be construed as meaning (a)

the mean time of Longitude 60째 W. that is to say, as being exactly four hours later than Greenwich mean time; or

(b)

such other time as the Governor may by proclamation declare to be the standard time for the Territory.

(6) Subject to subsection (8), where in an enactment a period of time is expressed to end on, or to be reckoned to a particular day, that day shall be included in the period. (7) Where a period of time prescribed by an enactment for the doing of anything does not exceed six days, Sundays and public holidays shall not be included in the computation of the period. (8) Where, by an enactment, a period of time is expressed as "clear days" or is qualified by the term "at least", both the first day and the last day shall be excluded from the computation of the period. (9)

In an enactment (a)

a reference to midnight, in relation to any particular day, shall be construed as a reference to the point of time at which that day ends;

(b)

a reference to a week-day shall be construed as a reference to a day that is not a Sunday;

19


(c)

a reference to a month shall be construed as a reference to a calendar month;

(d)

a reference, without qualification, to a year shall be construed as a reference to a period of twelve months;

(e)

a reference, without qualification, to a financial year shall be construed as reference to a period of twelve months ending at midnight on the thirty-first day of December.

(11) In an enactment, the expression "public holiday" means any day that under the provisions of any enactment or other law for the time being in force is or is declared to be or is proclaimed as a public holiday. (12) An enactment requiring or authorising the doing of anything but not prescribing or limiting the period within which that thing is to or may be done shall be construed as requiring or, as the case may be, authorising that thing to be done with all convenient speed and not otherwise. (13) Subsections (4) and (5) have effect in relation to deeds and other legal instruments as they do in respect of enactments.�. Section 41 replaced.

11.

Section 41 of the principal Act is replaced as follows:

“Definitions for legislative purposes.

41. (1) In any enactment passed or made after the commencement of this Act, the expression "statutory period" in relation to any statutory instrument means a period of forty days or such other period as may be prescribed by the enactment for the purposes of subsection (6). (2) Where any Act passed after the commencement of this Act provides that a statutory instrument made thereunder (a)

20

is to be laid before the House of Assembly; and


(b)

may or is to be annulled if the House of Assembly by resolution so determines within the period referred to in subsection (1),

the provisions of the Act have effect and shall be deemed always to have had effect as if in the reckoning of the period only such time as the House of Assembly is dissolved or prorogued shall not be taken into account. (3) A reference in any enactment passed or made after the commencement of this Act, to the laying of any statutory instrument or statutory document or any report, account or other document before the House of Assembly, shall be construed as a reference to the taking, during the existence of the House of Assembly, of such action as (a)

by or under any Standing Order or other direction of the House of Assembly before which the instrument or document is to be laid, for the time being in force, is directed to constitute the laying of such an instrument or document before that House; or

(b)

is accepted by virtue of the practice of the House of Assembly for the time being as constituting the laying, notwithstanding that the action so directed or accepted consists wholly or partly of action capable of being taken otherwise than at or during the time of sitting of that House.

(4) An instrument that, under any other enactment, may or shall be tabled in the House of Assembly without any indication as to who is authorised or required to table it, may be laid before the House by a Minister or the Clerk of the House but this subsection does not affect any other way in which the instrument can be laid before the House. (5) The expression "subject to affirmative resolution" when used in relation to any statutory instruments or statutory documents means that those

21


instruments or documents shall not come into operation unless and until affirmed by a resolution of the House of Assembly. (6) The expression "subject to negative resolution " when used in relation to any statutory instruments or statutory documents means that those instruments or documents shall, as soon as may be after they are made, be laid before the House of Assembly, and if the House of Assembly within the statutory period next after the instrument or document has been so laid, resolves that the instrument or document shall be annulled, the instrument or document shall be void as from the date of the resolution, but without affecting the validity of anything done thereunder or to the making of a new instrument or document.�. Section 42 replaced.

12. Section 42 of the principal Act is replaced as follows: “Purposive interpretation of enactments and use of extrinsic materials.

42. (1) In the interpretation of a provision of an enactment, an interpretation that would promote the purpose or object underlying the enactment (whether that purpose or object is expressly stated in the enactment or not) shall be preferred to an interpretation that would not promote that purpose or object. (2) Subject to subsection (4), in the interpretation of a provision of an enactment, if any material not forming part of the enactment is capable of assisting in the ascertainment of the meaning of the provision, consideration may be given to that material (a)

to confirm that the meaning of the provision is the ordinary meaning conveyed by the text of the provision taking into account its context in the enactment and the purpose or object underlying the enactment; or

(b)

to ascertain the meaning of the provision when (i)

the provision is ambiguous or obscure; or

(ii)

the ordinary meaning conveyed by the text of the provision taking into

22


account its context in the enactment and the purpose or object underlying the enactment leads to a result that is manifestly absurd or unreasonable. (3) Without limiting the generality of subsection (2), the material that may be considered in accordance with that subsection in the interpretation of a provision of an enactment shall include

23

(a)

all matters not forming part of the enactment that are set out in the document containing the text of the enactment as printed by the Government Printer;

(b)

any explanatory statement relating to the Bill containing the provision;

(c)

the speech made in the House of Assembly by a Minister on the occasion of the moving by that Minister of a motion that the Bill containing the provision be read a second time in the House;

(d)

any relevant material in any official record of debates in the House;

(e)

any treaty or other international agreement that is referred to in the enactment; and

(f)

any document, if any, that is declared by the enactment to be a relevant document for the purposes of this section.


(4) In determining whether consideration should be given to any material in accordance with subsection (2), or in determining the weight to be given to any such material, regard shall be had, in addition to any other relevant matters, to (a)

the desirability of persons being able to rely on the ordinary meaning conveyed by the text of the provision taking into account its context in the enactment and the purpose or object underlying the enactment; and

(b)

the need to avoid prolonging legal or other proceedings without compensating advantage.�.

13. Section 43 of the principal Act is replaced as follows: “Compliance with forms.

43. (1) If a form is prescribed by, or approved under, an Act or statutory instrument, strict compliance with the form is not necessary but substantial compliance is sufficient. (2) If a form prescribed by, or approved under, an Act or instrument requires the form to be completed in a specified manner, or requires specified information to be included in, attached to or furnished with the form, the form is not duly completed unless it is completed in that manner and unless it includes, or has attached to or furnished with it, that information. (3) Without limiting the generality of subsections (1) and (2), in any form in, or approved under, an Act or statutory instrument, a reference to a date that is presumed to be in the nineteenth or twentieth century may be construed as a reference to a date in the twenty-first century and the form may be altered accordingly. (4) If an Act or statutory instrument requires anything to be in a form prescribed by rules of court (whether generally or in relation to a particular court or tribunal), any such rules of court may instead provide for the thing to be in a form approved under or in accordance with those rules.�.

24


14. Section 44 of the principal Act is amended by replacing subsection (1) as follows:

Section 44 amended.

“(1) In any enactment passed or made after the commencement of this Act, the expression “land” includes real property and the right to minerals underneath and the airspace over it; all things growing on it, houses, other buildings of any tenure, and other things permanently affixed to it; tenements and hereditaments, corporeal, or incorporeal of every kind and description; and any estate, right, title or interest in or over the land.”. Section 45 replaced.

15. Section 45 is replaced as follows: “References to changed short titles, names and citations.

45. If the short title, name or citation of an Act or statutory instrument is changed, a reference to the short title, name or citation in any other Act or instrument or in a document of any kind shall be read as a reference to the short title, name or citation as changed.”.

16. Section 48 of the principal Act is amended in subsection 2 (b) by Section 48 replacing the words “Governor in Council” and “Clerk of the Executive Council” amended. with the words “Cabinet” and “Cabinet Secretary” respectively.

Passed by the House of Assembly this

day of

, 2013.

INGRID MOSES-SCATLIFFE, Speaker.

PHYLLIS EVANS, Clerk of the House of Assembly.

25


OBJECTS AND REASONS This Bill would seek to amend the Interpretation Act (Cap 136) (hereinafter referred to as the “Act”), ahead of the revision of the Laws of the Virgin Islands approved by the Cabinet on the 22nd November 2012. The Bill would, in amending the Act, firstly seek to largely simplify the language whilst leaving the substance of the amended provisions the same as in the Act. Secondly, the Bill would seek to update the Act by introducing new provisions. Clause 1 would concern the short title. Clause 2 would concern the various definitions that the Act prescribes. The Bill would seek to consolidate the definitions under the Act into one section as opposed to having them set out in several sections of the Act. This would facilitate easier access to such definitions. The Bill would also insert new definitions coming out of the 2007 Constitution e.g. “Cabinet”, “Director of Public Prosecutions” “Premier” etc. By clause (3) (1), the Bill would not apply for the purposes of interpreting the Constitution since the Constitution is imperial legislation. By clause 4, in order to aid in the interpretation of an enactment, marginal notes, side notes or headings in an enactment and references to other enactments in the margin or at the end of an enactment shall be construed as part of the enactment. By clause 5, section 15 of the Act would be replaced. This provision would be brought in line with section 79 of the Constitution which deals with how enactments become law. Clause 6 would replace section 16 of the Act. This clause would provide for how enactments commence or come into operation. Clause 7 merely updates section 17 of the Act to be in line with the 2007 Constitution. Clause 8 would replace section 18 largely to simplify the language; otherwise the provision remains largely the same as in the Act. Clause 9 would amend section 19 (10) in order to allow for the fixing of penalties under statutory instruments without prescribing a limit. Under the current section 19 (10) a limit of five hundred dollars penalty and a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months, is prescribed. However, over time, penalties far in excess of these penalties have been fixed under various statutory instruments. This amendment therefore would seek to remove this anomaly in the law. Clause 10 would replace section 39 of the Act in order to remove an inconsistency between sections 16 and 39 of the Act. Clause 10 would concern the reckoning of time to show clearly that, if in any enactment or statutory instrument a period of time, dating from a given day, act or event, is prescribed or allowed for any

26


purpose, the time shall be reckoned exclusive of that day or of the day of that act or event. Clause 11 would concern definitions for purposes of the House of Assembly. These definitions have been aligned with the 2007 Constitution. Clause 12 would introduce a new provision which deals with the use of extrinsic material in the interpretation of the provisions of an enactment. Clause 13 would introduce a new provision which would provide that if a form is prescribed by, or approved under, an Act or statutory instrument, strict compliance with the form is not necessary but substantial compliance is sufficient. Clause 14 would simplify the definition of “land� by using a more modern definition of same. Clause 15 would introduce a new provision which would provide that if the short title, name or citation of an Act or statutory instrument is changed, a reference to the short title, name or citation in any other Act or instrument or in a document of any kind shall be read as a reference to the short title, name or citation as changed. Clause 16 would amend section 48 of the Act to bring it in line with the 2007 Constitution.

Attorney General.

27

Interpretation (Amendment) Act, 2013  

Draft of the Interpretation (Amendment) Act published October, 2013

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