‘Well-Known’ Principles of Interpretation

Court’s task is to ascertain the intention of the parties by examining the words they used and giving them their ordinary meaning in their contractual context. It must start with what it is given by the parties themselves when it is conducting this exercise. Effect is to be given to every word, so far as possible, in the order in which they appear in the clauses in question. Words should not be added which are not there, and words which are there should not be changed, taken out or moved from the place in the clause where they have been put by the parties. It may be necessary to do some of these things at a later stage to make sense of the language. But this should not be done until it has become clear that the language the parties actually used creates an ambiguity which cannot be solved otherwise.”

Hon’ble Lord Hope, Multi-Link Leisure Developments Limited v. North Lanarkshire Council (Scotland), [2010] UKSC 47

The well-known rule of interpretation of contracts is that the deed ought to be read as a whole in order to ascertain the true meaning of its several clauses and a word of each clause should be so interpreted as to bring it into harmony with the other provisions of the deed, if that interpretation does no violence to the meaning of which they are naturally susceptible [Chamber Colliery Ltd. v. Twyerould (Note), (1893) (1915) 1 Ch. 268].

Hon’ble Justice L. Nageswara Rao, State of Bihar v. Tata Iron, [Civil Appeal No. 3681 of 2014].