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An Act Of Parliament Elements

An Act of Parliament is a set of legally binding laws that govern certain rules (laws) to what can be done. An Act of Parliament is the law on matters where at those times there are no laws or alter an existing law to create a regulated set of laws in relation to the functions of the act. There are various acts of Parliament that each and every person must abide by in life. There are acts for example, Employment Contracts; Health & Safety; Crimes Acts, and of course our Act the Private Investigators and Security Guards.

Being a sovereign state of Her Majesty the Queen of England, and the Governor-General being her representative they enact these laws into Parliament to be passed into law, thus becoming a law. It then sets what a person must do within what defines the act in which it relates to. If a person was to breach these rules of an act they are deemed to be breaking the laws of the Queen.

An Act of Parliament has twelve most important elements;

The long title of the Act;

The enacting words;

The short title of the Act;


Sections, sub-sections, and paragraphs;

Parts and divisions;


Marginal notes;





The long title of the Act appears on the front page of all Act of Parliament. The long title is the first element and is used to find out the true meaning of what it is about. There is a short title also which is more convenient, but in some cases the long title makes it easy to understand an Act with 2 or more meanings.

The analysis is an important key to reading an Act. An Act is the same as a book of reference, an Act is not meant to be read like a book, in fact if it was read in book form it would have major consequences in you not being able to interpret what relates to. As with the PISG Act it has many sections that one must turn through to enable an understanding. The analysis can be regarded as a table of contents or index.

Margin notes are not part of the Act itself, but their purpose is giving a brief indication of what the sections or sub-sections are dealing with.

Definitions are probably the most important part of an Act as it clearly defines the exact meaning of the words and terms within the Act. The English language can have many meaning for the same word, so definitions clarify their exact context in which they are read.

Provisos or provisions are included into Acts for the purpose of preserving the Crowns rights. With a proviso it makes an exemption to the rule (for the Government) for effects that changes or amendments do not have any consequences if not included.

The three main rules of Statutory Interpretation are the Literal Rule, the Golden Rule and the Mischief Rule.

The plain meaning or Literal Rule is where one would use a list of specific words. The words must be interpreted in accordance with their normal or natural form of meanings, using this rule it creates a generalisation that is limited to a whole of specific things. The use of bicycle, car and bus or other means, the phrase ‘other means’ would take its meaning specified before as walking, flying or trains, so the Literal rule creates it as ‘other forms of transportation’.

The Golden Rule is used when there is doubt about a meaning. Again this seems to be able to confuse the issue in two possible outcomes. Firstly there could be a situation in which something could be understood in more ways than one and it is not completely clear which meaning is the intended one. The second outcome could be a statement with more than one meaning. An expression or statement may have more than one meaning depending on how each and everyone interprets themselves. The Literal Rule only generalised the general expression whereas this rule puts a reference context to the first.

The Mischief Rule is for a Judge to use to apply in statutory interpretation of Parliament’s intention to an Act or Legislation. Basically it allows Judges to ask questions. If there was any doubt to the application of the literal rule and or the golden rule, then the mischief rule comes into effect; using this rule there are four questions that the Judge could apply to the outcome:

What if any was the law before the Act was passed?

What was the mischief or defect the law did not provide for?

How did Parliament remedy it?

What was the true reason for the remedy?

The rule would then give the Judges a bit more discretion than the literal and the golden rule as it allows him to effectively decide on what Parliament’s intent is or was.

The words that are used in an act are supposed to be a clear set of binding rules or laws relating to a set purpose in which topic they deal with. The important consideration when reading an Act of Parliament and its amendment is how well it fits into the modern life from the 1st version of the Act and current amendments. With the Private Investigators and Security Guards Act first written 35 years ago, and there is now a Private Security Personnel and Private Investigators Bill written in 2008, the Act seems to live in the past. It refers to photographs, cinematographic pictures, videotape recording and even mechanical voice recording. So the important considerations are to really read and understand the Act in its original form.

In the PISG Act that relates to this course, I have found a couple of interesting points in regards to Clause 52 or Clause 66 in the new Acts. They have carried over five factors that don’t fit a modern life.

A parent could not give a photograph of their missing child to a Private Investigator they want to engage to try and find their child because the Investigator is not in accordance with Clause 52(2) of the act, equals 3 months in prison or $500 fine or even both.

A Private Investigator will again breach Clause 52/66 if he uses an automatic message taking facility on his office phone because it automatically records without consent. Same penalties.

The above also would apply to his cell phone.

A Private Investigator cannot place a video camera outside his office to monitor people calling at his office because it too breaches 52/66. Another example is with modern cars that have the rear facing cameras that are supposed to be a safety feature, to a Private Investigator it would be deemed as a ‘camera equipped vehicle’ they would again breach Clause 52/66 of the Act.

Common law dates back to when William the Conqueror became King of England in 1066. There were about 6 kings before him but he started the common laws. There were no parliaments, police forces or courts to speak of. They relied on peace and good order of the people. Back then they had moots that were like a tribunal. There were about 100 moots that were made up of town moots and shire moots. All the freemen were part of a moot. Each of the moots representatives were called to tribunal meetings. The head person of each moot was a doomsman, also known as the reeve of the moot. If the doomsman was from a shire’s moot then he was a shire moot reeve, this was commonly known as a ‘Sheriff’ as a term used in the modern era. Each of the doomsmen representatives at the meetings took part as a judge in one way or another. There was little written laws to use as a guide so they used old customs to interpret a law to themselves and expected to local townsfolk to accept it as the ‘law’. This had it problems because no moot had the same laws. William of Normanby who also became King of England promised to continue the ‘customary’ laws of the land before him. By now they had the 1st courts system which is used the moots tasks. This created crimes and offences against ‘The King’ or in our day ‘The Queen’.

Common law can be implied as ‘common sense’ a largely unwritten law which has never been an act of Parliament or even statute laws. In fact common law can never be found in any one book, there was a Heny Bratton who wrote a book on common law back in 1256. This could be of use but it only deals with the common laws in his day and not today’s common laws. To the modern world they created common law principles which the Judges apply to criminal law cases now. New Zealand has inherited the common laws too when the English colonised New Zealand in the 1800s.

The way to read this question is how we differentiate between Common Law and that of Statute Law. Statute Laws can be changed very quickly, whereas Common Law normally does not change much over time. To change a Common Law it would take considerable agreements with Legislature.

With that being said, Statute Law is enacted by the legislative process of the Parliament whereas Common Law (which is also known as case law) is established by a judicial system. With the Statutory Law, it can change from a legislative period to legislative period, and sometimes even within a single period. Common Law will change more slowly as the Judges seem to be bound to follow the reasoning’s that are behind a finding or some other judgement from a similar case before it. So this would reinforce the precedent. This process may take many years as appeals courts become involved when either of the parties feels the Judge’s misinterpreted the Statute and or Common laws. Judges may make the decisions in the absence of any relevant statutory laws or Precedent like the case is an entirely new situation. The judgement is this case would then create a new precedent. I suppose lawmakers could maybe pass a bill that would now deal with that type of specific situation. If that was the case, now there is now precedence and a law for that. The law would be unnecessary as the precedence already is in existence, but if the lawmakers wanted to challenge that precedence in which case a court would have to wait until another case came their way in order to uphold the precedent and thus invalidate the Statutory law or over turn the precedent and uphold the statutory law. So if the precedent was upheld, then the law is still “on the books” but it wouldn’t matter if someone broke the statutory law, because the court won’t find them guilty anyway because they had already established a precedent. Based on that, Statute Laws are formed by Parliamentary Acts and Legislations whereas the Common Laws are set by Judges decisions on how they see things( within reason).

All confessions must be voluntary. If a confession or statement is made by the accused it must be made by them voluntary. If an accused is forced then it is inadmissible evidence against him in court.

A person is innocent until Proved beyond reasonable doubt. If the person cannot be charged with a crime or offence without doubt he has done it the he is innocent till proven guilty.

He who arrests must prove that the person that they have arrested is guilty. The arrested person is not required to prove that he is innocent. He is also not required to enter defence until he is prosecuted by the Police. The Police have to justify why they arrested the person, and on what grounds they are guilty of the offence or crime.

For a person to be found guilty of a criminal offence they must have proof beyond reasonable doubt that the person in question has committed the crime.

For any person to convicted of a crime they must be commit it with a guilty mind. In other words, the person must show that they are aware of what he has done and also he did it on his own free will. For a conviction of a crime it must be on the grounds that; “A guilty mind is an essential element in every crime.”

No person’s confessions, statements or admissions by a person are admissible in a Court of Law unless their Confession, statement and admissions must be made voluntary. The person must on their own accord voluntary confess. The Prosecutor cannot, and must not force a person into any claims under threats or by promise of a deal.

Each of the four authorities has their own separate functions of criminal law.

Parliaments position is make the laws (acts) or alter current laws to cater for a modern age. Parliaments can also remove or repeal the law.

The Police have the most important and somewhat largest role; the Police are preventers of crime. They detect offenders through their active patrols of the towns and cities. Their task is based on what the Government put in place regarding the laws, bringing law breakers to justice.

The justice department is the Judges, District and High Courts. The courts are the stage where offenders are brought in front of a Judge to determine if they are innocent or guilty of an alleged breach of the law. The Judges also deliver the sentencing punishments to the guilty.

The prison system is used by the court Judges as a form of punishment, or for holding a person waiting to go on trial for an alleged offence against the crown. The prison is also where offenders are placed to serve ‘time’ for their crimes.

The Judges have to be impartial from all others so they remain fair and un-bias. The Judge is governed by the laws of parliament but is also independents. A Judge can administer justice that they feel free within the sets of law and acts. In criminal law the Judge is the only authority that is completely independent of any of the Government, Police, or the Prison departments. Nobody can force the Judge into a decision or influence him or her in any way.

The Police are also independents in that their role is only to ‘Protect and Serve’ the laws of the lands. They hold no connections to the Justice Departments. The Police forces contacts with the Government are through their commissioner and the Minister of Police, only in regards to changes to the crimes acts and funding.

The Corrections Department also only has its connections to the Government through a minister. Both the Corrections and Police are ‘state-owned’ which the only functions the Parliament have are.

All these sections remain as separate identities so that each one cannot dictate the laws themselves. This makes a fair and without bias system of justice. No-one department has full control of the power.

Parliament makes and sets the laws.

Police administer law and order

Judges upholds the laws by sentencing punishments to those who break them

Prisons (Justice) are for holding offenders that have been sentenced to a period of time punishment, or holding them awaiting trials.

Each cannot be judgemental in their part or actions

The key differences between Criminal Law and Civil Law is;

Criminal Law is the wrongs against the public or Crown. It deals with offences against the state which affect the peace of the lands. Most of the offender could be liable for a term of imprisonment. The purpose of Criminal Law is by punishing the offender they would hopefully not repeat their offence, cases like murder, rape or arson. The Police are usually the Body who takes actions to arrest and charge a person through the Justice Systems.

Civil Law deals with private claims like debts against a person or company. In a civil case the person cannot be punished by the Courts or held by imprisonment. A Civil Law case is only to satisfy personal wrongs against another person. The lodging a claim for a civil suit must be done by the complainant, it is not a Police matter so they cannot action your claims or even deal with charges being laid on your behalf.

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