Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Statutes in Pari Materia Definition:

Statutes sharing a common purpose or relating to the same subject and which are construed together.

Back in 1758, Justice Mansfield wrote, in R v Loxdale:

"[W]here there are different statutes in pari materia, though made at different times, or even expired and not referring to each other, they shall be taken and construed together, as one system and as explanatory of each other."

Justice Mickell of the Court of Appeals of Georgia had this to offer in Askins v Colon:

"A statute must be construed in relation to other statutes of which it is a part, and all statutes relating to the same subject-matter, briefly called statutes in pari materia, are construed together, and harmonized wherever possible, so as to ascertain the legislative intendment and give effect thereto."

Further, the Court of Appeals of Michigan in Ameritech v PCS Michigan, Madam Justice Kirsten Kelley presiding, wrote this:

"Statutes in pari materia are statutes sharing a common purpose or relating to the same subject. They are construed together as one law, regardless of whether they contain any reference to one another."

Note also this statement of doctrine adopted by Justice Mcdonald of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Re Vaughn-Hulbert at ¶11:

"Statutes in pari materia not to be treated as one Act. But statutes which are in pari materia cannot, in the absence of specific provision to that effect, be treated precisely in the same way as if they were merely parts of one Act; a provision not found in an earlier Act cannot, in the absence of indication of clear intention, be imported into that earlier Act in pari materia."

One indication of statutes in pari materia, but not entirely conclusive, is where one statute includes a link by cross-reference to another.

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