Statutory Interpretation and the Meaning of Debt

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This analysis considers the meaning of 'public debt' in a statute and considers the implications for the government if that meaning is undefined. It asks whether the meaning of 'public debt' is the same as 'debt' generally. The question is important not least in times of recession and economic downturn when governments borrow money. The question is also important because governments may not define loan obligations as a 'debt.' It is also important if the government itself does not borrow money, but a public body borrows money from a private lender, and the government guarantees the loan. Is this a government debt? In this case, not having defined a word such as 'debt' may cause it to rue the uncertainty.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2010

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  • Until 2007 the King's Law Journal was known as the King's College Law Journal. It was established in 1990 as a legal periodical publishing scholarly and authoritative Articles, Notes and Reports on legal issues of current importance to both academic research and legal practice. It has a national and international readership, and publishes refereed contributions from authors across the United Kingdom, from continental Europe and further afield (particularly Commonwealth countries and USA). The journal includes a Reviews section containing critical notices of recently published books.
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