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Report No. 62

1B.3. Rule of construction.-

The second question of Bartolus1 is relevant for our purpose, namely, whether the effect of a statute extends beyond the territory of the State whose Legislature passed it. The ordinary rule of construction is that a statute does not have extra-territorial operation, in the absence of express words or necessary implication to the contrary. This general principle is applicable to all statutes2-3 and therefore to the Workmen's Compensation Act4 as well. Lord Russell's judgment in R. v. Jameson, (1896) 2 QB 425 (430), (per Lord Russell of Killowen), is instructive on the point.

1. Para. 1B.2, supra.

2. Halsbury (3rd Edn.), Vol. 36, p. 428.

3. (a) Jefferys v. Boosey, (1854) 4 HLLR 815 (925) (per Lord Wens leydale);

(b) Macleod v. Attorney-General for New South Wales, 1891 AC 546 (PC);

(c) Sirdar Gordyal Singh v. Rajah of Faridkote, 1894 AC 670 (683) (per Lord Selborne);

(d) Cooke v. Vogeler, 1901 AC 102;

(e) R. v. Jameson, (1896) 2 QB 425 (430), (per Lord Russell of Killowen).

4. Para. 1B.7, infra.

In R. v. Jameson, (1896) 2 QB 425 (430), Lord Russell of Killowen observed:

"But first I should like to make some observations with regard to the rules of construction applicable to statutes such as this. It may be said generally that the area within which a statute is to operate, and the persons against whom it is to operate, are to be gathered from the language and purview of the particular statute. But there may be suggested some general rules-for instance, if there be nothing which points to a contrary intention, the statute will be taken to apply only to the United Kingdom. But whether it be confined in its operation to the United Kingdom, or whether, as is the case here, it be applied to the whole of the Queen's dominions, it will be taken to apply to all the persons in the United Kingdom or in the Queen's dominions, as the case may be, including foreigners; who during their residence there owe temporary allegiance to Her Majesty. And, according to its context, it may be taken to apply to the Queen's subjects everywhere, whether within the Queen's dominions or without."

Workmens Compensation Act, 1923 Back

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