Statutory interpretation is the process by which courts interpret and apply legislation. Some amount of interpretation is always necessary when a case involves a statute. Sometimes the words of a statute have a plain and straightforward meaning. But in many cases, there is some ambiguity or vagueness in the words of the statute that must be resolved by the judge. To find the meanings of statutes, judges use various tools and methods of statutory interpretation, including traditional canons of statutory interpretation, legislative history, and purpose. In common law jurisdictions, the judiciary may apply rules of statutory interpretation to legislation enacted by the legislature or to delegated legislation such as administrative agency regulations.
[hide] 1 General principles 1.1 Meaning
1.2 Conflicts between sources of law
1.3 Internal and external consistency
1.4 Statements of the legislature
2 Canons 2.1 Textual
3 European perception
5 See also
7 Further reading
8 External links
 General principles
The judiciary interprets how legislation should apply in a particular case as no legislation unambiguously and specifically addresses all matters. Legislation may contain uncertainties for a variety of reasons:
Words are imperfect symbols to communicate intent. They are ambiguous and change in meaning over time.
Unforeseen situations are inevitable, and new technologies and cultures make application of existing laws difficult.
Uncertainties may be added to the statute in the course of enactment, such as the need for compromise or catering to special interest groups.
Therefore, the court must try to determine how a statute should be enforced. This requires statutory construction. It is a tenet of statutory construction that the legislature is supreme (assuming constitutionality) when creating law and...