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The Mischief Rule of Statutory Interpretation
 ~~ Play the Mischief rule cases hangman ~~
The mischief rule of statutory interpretation is the oldest of the rules. The mischief rule was established in Heydon's Case [1584] EWHC Exch J36 Case summary. In Re Sussex Peerage, it was held that the mischief rule should only be applied where there is ambiguity in the statute. Under the mischief rule the court's role is to suppress the mischief the Act is aimed at and advance the remedy.
Case examples of the mischief rule:

Smith v Hughes [1960] 1 WLR 830; Case summary
Elliot v Grey [1960] 1 QB 367   Case summary
Corkery v Carpenter [1951] 1 KB 102  Case summary
DPP v Bull [1995] QB 88        Case summary
Problems with the mischief rule


  • Gives judges a law making role infringing the separation of powers.
Advantages of the mischief rule
  • Closes loopholes


See also the literal rule and golden rule of statutory interpretation
 Mischief rule of statutory interpretation