An evaluation of the efficacy of rules of statutory interpretation: The case of Celtel Zambia LTD (T/A ZAIN Zambia) V. Zambia Revenue Authority (2010/HPC/668)

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Phiri, Brenda R.
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Statutory interpretation is one of the most common tasks undertaken by Courts. Such interpretation is often necessitated by several factors that include ambiguity and omissions. Judges have over the years developed rules that are used as aids to interpretation. Yet it has been generally observed that there are inconsistencies in the manner the rules are applied and this unpredictable use of the rules has not only raised questions on their efficacy but also impedes the objectives of statutory interpretation in that it greatly lessens the certainty of the law.This work therefore endeavours to provide an evaluation of the efficacy of rules of statutory interpretation as applied in the case of Celtel Zambia Ltd (T/A Zain Zambia) V. Zambia Revenue Authority (2010/HPC/668). The case study approach is the prime methodology adopted in this paper. Specifically, the paper will analyse whether it was sound for the Court to hold that even though the law that formed the basis for collecting of the tax that was in dispute was legal, a component of the collected tax namely that relating to data transfer services, was bona vacantia, that is, without an owner.The paper is divided into five chapters with chapter one providing the background and case details. Chapters two and three provide the theories and application of the rules of statutory interpretation in Zambia while chapter four endeavours to evaluate the efficacy of the rules of statutory interpretation as applied in the case under review. Chapter five concludes the paper by recommending inter alia that judges should be slow to adopt an interpretation which tends to make any part of the statute meaningless or ineffective and that they should objectively and accurately present the real reasons for their decision as such decisions become law.
Rule of law- Zambia , Law. Zambia- Interpretation and construction , Courts- Zambia , Justice- Administration of- Zambia