Inco Europe Ltd and Others v First Choice Distributors (A Firm) and Others: HL 10 Mar 2000

Although the plain words of the Act would not allow an appeal to the Court of Appeal under the circumstances presently applying, it was clear that the parliamentary draftsman had failed to achieve what he had wanted to, that the omission was in error, and words could be and would be read into the Act to allow an appeal to the Court of Appeal from the High Court.
Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead said: ‘I freely acknowledge that this interpretation of section 18(1)(g) [of the SCA 1981] involves reading words into the paragraph. It has long been established that the role of the courts in construing legislation is not confined to resolving ambiguities in statutory language. The court must be able to correct obvious drafting errors. In suitable cases, in discharging its interpretative function the court will add words, or omit words or substitute words.’
and ‘This power is confined to plain cases of drafting mistakes. The courts are ever mindful that their constitutional role in this field is interpretative. They must abstain from any course which might have the appearance of judicial legislation. A statute is expressed in language approved and enacted by the legislature. So the courts exercise considerable caution before adding or omitting or substituting words. Before interpreting a statute in this way the court must be abundantly sure of three matters: (1) the intended purpose of the statute or provision in question; (2) that by inadvertence the draftsman and Parliament failed to give effect to that purpose in the provision in question; and (3) the substance of the provision Parliament would have made, although not necessarily the precise words Parliament would have used, had the error in the Bill been noticed.’
Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead
Times 10-Mar-2000, Gazette 23-Mar-2000, [2000] UKHL 15, [2000] 1 WLR 586, [2000] CLC 1015, (2000) 2 TCLR 487, [2000] 1 All ER (Comm) 674, [2000] 2 All ER 109, [2000] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 467, 74 Con LR 55, [2000] BLR 259
House of Lords, Bailii
Supreme Court Act 1981 18(1)(g), Arbitration Act 1996 sch 3 para 37
England and Wales
Appeal fromInco Europe Ltd and Others v First Choice Distribution (A Firm) and Others CA 10-Sep-1998
The Court of Appeal has jurisdiction to hear an appeal against a judge’s grant or refusal of an order staying court proceedings where arbitration was sought by one party under an agreement. . .
CitedWestern Bank Ltd v Schindler CA 1977
The mortgagee sought possession in circumstances in which the mortgagor had allowed a life policy, taken as collateral security, to lapse, but where there had been no default under the mortgage itself. The question arose whether the court could . .

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These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 19 July 2021; Ref: scu.82313