Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Statutory construction principles in a nutshell per 14th Court of Appeals

INTERPRETING A STATUTE [law enacted by the legislature, as opposed to common law, which rests on judicial decisions]
When construing a statute, we begin with its language. State v. Shumake, 199 S.W.3d 279, 284 (Tex. 2006). Our primary objective is to determine the Legislature's intent which, when possible, we discern from the plain meaning of the words chosen. Id. (citing City of San Antonio v. City of Boerne, 111 S.W.3d 22, 25 (Tex. 2003)). If the statute is clear and unambiguous, we must apply its words according to their common meaning without resort to rules of construction or extrinsic aids. Id. (citing Fitzgerald v. Advanced Spine Fixation Sys., Inc., 996 S.W.2d 864, 865-66 (Tex. 1999)). We may consider other matters in ascertaining legislative intent, including the objective of the law, its history, and the consequences of a particular construction. Id. (citing TEX. GOV'T CODE ANN. § 311.023(1), (3), (5) (West 2005), and Union Bankers Ins. Co. v. Shelton, 889 S.W.2d 278, 280 (Tex. 1994)). Statutory construction is a question of law, and our review accordingly is de novo. Id. (citing In re Forlenza, 140 S.W.3d 373, 376 (Tex. 2004)).

SOURCE: FOURTEENTH COURT OF APPEALS - No. 14-11-00126-CV - 5/17/12 (substituted opinion)

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