Legislative History - June 29th

Event Start:
06/29/2017 10:00 AM
Event End:
06/29/2017 12:00 PM

Date & Time: Thursday, June 29, 2017 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Cost: $25 SLL members and CPCS staff, bar advocates and prosecutors; $50 all others
Location: Social Law Library, John Adams Courthouse

CPCS approved for 2 CLE hours for Post-Conviction, Children and Family Law (CAFL), Youth Advocacy Division (YAD) and Adult Criminal Trial panels.

“The general and familiar rule is that a statute must be interpreted according to the intent of the Legislature ascertained from all its words construed by the ordinary and approved usage of the language, considered in connection with the cause of its enactment, the mischief or imperfection to be remedied and the main object to be accomplished.”   Mass. Insurers Insolvency Fund v. Smith, 458 Mass. 561, 565 (Mass. 2010).          



Determining legislative intent is a critical component whenever interpreting Massachusetts statutory law, especially when a statute is ambiguous and susceptible to various interpretations, does not adequately address a particular issue, or when there appear to be drafting errors.

In these and other instances, the legislature’s intent must be inferred from the statute’s legislative history, which successful advocates must stitch together from a variety of sources including, but not limited to:

• The text of the bill and proposed amendments that were accepted or rejected
• Reports of Legislative Committees and other House and Senate documents, as well as speeches or floor debates prior to the bill’s passage
• Executive Branch messages and related statements that might shed light on the legislative intent

SJC Justice Barbara Lenk and the Social Law Library’s Senior Reference Librarian, Brian Harkins, will show “how” and “where” to find and interpret these and other sources from which legislative intent can be deduced. The program will feature both traditional hard copy and new online resources.

Successful advocacy often depends on using the research skills that this program will teach to reconstruct a statute’s legislative history, and artfully arguing for the correct legislative intent in pleadings, briefs, and oral argument.

Online registration is encouraged. For assistance, questions on group discounts, special billing, program content, out-of-state CLE credits, and general CLE information contact Michael Saporito at msaporito@socialaw.com. Space is limited. Registrations accepted in order of receipt. Same day registrations are $5.00 extra. Registration fees are non-refundable. Registrants for this program acknowledge that during the program their photographic or videographic images may be incidentally taken; registrants agree that the submission of their registrations for this program constitutes their written consent to the Social Law Library’s use of any such image in print and online materials solely for promotion of the Library’s noncommercial CLE seminars and other educational events and activities.

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