n South African Law Journal - Comments on the South African Law Reform Commission's draft Interpretation of Legislation Bill : note




The Interpretation Act 33 of 1957 was not new legislation. It was a re-enactment of the Interpretation Act 5 of 1910 in order to replace the original Dutch version of the Act with an Afrikaans version. This makes it one of the oldest pieces of legislation in force in South Africa and, in the opinion of some, seriously outdated. The Law Reform Commission's Discussion Paper, for example, says: 'The Interpretation Act is so outdated that it has not been taken into account in the drafting of recent Acts.' (South African Law Reform Commission (Project 25) Discussion Paper 112 (2006) para 1.4.) It would be unfortunate if this were indeed the case, because the courts are still using the Interpretation Act. Since 1994, for example, the Interpretation Act has been referred to in more than seventy cases reported in the South African Law Reports, including ten Constitutional Court cases and twenty-two Supreme Court of Appeal cases.


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