Rule of Construction

Rule of construction pertains to policies and laws that courts use to resolve disputes between parties within an agreement. When it comes to rule of construction, you should know there are times when parties involved come to a disagreement over contract terms, and a judge must interpret a contract according to statutes and guidelines.

Breach of contract lawsuits are common, but proper communication and concise contract terms reduce the chances of litigation, a process that could be costly on your end. A breach of contract occurs when one party fails to live up to his or her end of the contract. When an agreement dispute ends up in the courtroom, the court’s main concern is to assess the intentions of all parties involved.

The courts interpret and examine the contract according to certain rules of construction to determine the wishes of all parties.

  • Example: An owner agrees to sell you his car for $2,000 and you take the deal. He delivers the car, but you thought it was another model. If you sue him for a contract breach, the court will adhere to certain guidelines, or rules of construction, to assess what was intended.

Court Interpretation

When the courts intervene and interpret agreements, the judge will adhere to the rules of construction. The courts will assess the contract, including wording and terminology. In the case of the car, the court will assess the contract. The goal was to unload the car and make some money from the sale.

Your primary aim was to get stable transportation for a good price. The court will assess the contract to see if such goals were met. If not, the court will determine what needs to be done so that all parties can reach their goals. Rule of construction interprets legal instruments, especially statutes and contracts. Statutory construction is a process in determining what a certain statute means so the courts may apply it appropriately.

Most states treat the guidelines as customs that do not have the weight of the law behind them. According to the notion of contra proferentem, if a contract clause in an agreement is ambiguous, it must be assessed against the interests of the individual who insists that the clause be included in the agreement. Ejusdem generis mandates that where law notes certain personal classes or things and refers to those traits in general, the general statement only takes effect to the same kind of person, or certain things listed.

Language Importance

Questions of statutory interpretations starts with the assessment of any plain language of the statute in discovering the original intent. To find out a statute’s intent, the judgment must read and apply the ordinary meanings. If the statute’s language remains unclear, the courts must determine the intent of the legislature by examining the legislative history and other sources.

The courts usually avoid interpretations that contradict the intentions of the legislature. Since legislators may intend various meanings when voting for bills, the statutory construction can be hard. Statutes are ambiguous at times and could give way to multiple interpretations.

In such cases, the judges can freely interpret such statutes on their own. Once the court interprets the statute, other courts will not go through such exercises again, but instead would enforce a statute as interpreted by another court. When an agreement relegated to a certain area is in question, any technical language would be interpreted according to specialization.

The meaning behind administrative rules and statutes is crucial during these stages:

  • Drafting
  • Implementation (including enforcement)
  • Interpretation by a court

The proper aim of the drafter is to give language that may unambiguously and clearly be enforced.

Moreover, incoherent and extensive bodies of common law that address interpretation of rules and statutes suggest the aim is not usually achieved. The Uniform Statute and Rule Construction Act provides a bridge to two functions, interpretation and drafting. The USRCA attempts to lift the drafter’s burden while simplifying the interpretive duties of the judge. It was first adopted by the Uniform Law Commissioners in 1993 and was later amended in 1995 to clarify it to some degree.

To learn more about rule of construction, you can post your job on UpCounsel’s website. UpCounsel’s attorneys will give you additional information on rule of construction, and they will read over any contract provisions that will work to your disadvantage. UpCounsel attorneys have graduated form some of the best law schools in the nation and will make your case in court if a judge must interpret a document that you signed.