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Extrinsic Materials as an Aid to Statutory Interpretation
(HKLRC Report)

This report published in 1997 deals with the way in which disputes as to the meaning of ambiguous legislative provisions can be resolved by the use of material outside the statute itself. The Commission report recommends that the criteria for the use of these "extrinsic aids" should be incorporated in legislation by amendment to the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap 1).

Legislation is interpreted every day and disputes can arise over the meaning of a statutory provision which have to be resolved by the courts. Providing a statutory list of available extrinsic aids and the criteria for their use would give the courts more assistance in tracing the source or purpose of a disputed statutory provision. The Commission recommends that the list of extrinsic aids should include the explanatory memoranda of a Bill, the second reading speech of the policy Secretary, the official record of debates in the Legislative Council, relevant international treaties and relevant official reports, such as Law Reform Commission reports.

Executive Summary (PDF) (MS Word)
Report (PDF) (MS Word)

Important Notices