- Is amended by Interpretation (Amendment) Act 1993
- Repeals General Interpretation Proclamation
Interpretation Act, 1977
Act 19 of 1977
- Assented to on 17 October 1977
- Commenced on 2 December 1977
- [This is the version of this document as it was from 2 December 1977 to 18 December 1993.]
Part I – Preliminary
1. Short titleThis Act may be cited as the Interpretation Act 1977.
Part II – General provisions and interpretation
4. Grammatical variations, gender and number
5. Service by post
Part III – General provisions as to Acts
6. Acts to be public ActsEvery Act shall be a public Act and shall be judicially noticed as such.
7. Sections and Schedules
8. Citation of ActWhere an Act is referred to, it shall be sufficient for all purposes to cite it—
9. Reference to Act as amended
10. Citation of part of ActIn any Act, a description or citation of a portion of an Act shall be construed as including the word, section or other part mentioned or referred to as forming the beginning and as forming the end of the portion comprised in the description or citation.
11. Construction of reference to section, Part etc.
12. Preamble, marginal notes and headings
13. Enactment always speakingEvery enactment shall be construed as always speaking and anything expressed in the present tense shall be applied to the circumstances as they occur so that effect may be given to each enactment according to its true spirit, intent and meaning.
14. Shall and mayIn an enactment passed or made after the commencement of this Act, "shall" shall be construed as imperative and "may" as permissive and empowering.
15. General principles of interpretationEvery enactment shall be deemed remedial, and shall be given such fair, large and liberal construction and interpretation as best ensures the attainment of its objects.
Part IV – Commencement, amendment and repeal of Acts
16. Commencement of ActsEvery Act shall—
17. Act and amending Act to be read as oneAn Act which amends another Act shall be read and construed as one with the amended Act, and the amended Act may, in the amending Act, be referred to as the "principal Act", "principal regulations" or as the case may be.
18. Effects of repeal generallyWhere an Act repeals in whole or in part another Act, the repeal shall not—
19. Repealed Act not revivedWhere an Act repealing in whole or in part a former Act is itself repealed, such last repeal shall not revive the Act or provision previously repealed, unless words be added reviving the same.
20. Repeal and substitutionWhere an Act repeals in whole or in part another Act and substitutes other provisions therefor, the repealed Act shall remain in force until the substituted provisions come into operation.
21. Repeal of amended Act to include amendmentsWhere an Act which has been amended by another Act is repealed, such repeal shall include the repeal of all those provisions of that other Act by which the first-mentioned Act was amended.
22. Effect of expiry of ActUpon the expiry or lapse of an Act, section 18 shall apply as if the Act had been repealed.
Part V – Subsidiary legislation
23. General provisions with regard to power to make subsidiary legislationWhere an Act confers powers on any authority to make subsidiary legislation, the following provisions shall have effect with reference to the making thereof—
24. Effect of subsidiary legislationSubsidiary legislation shall have the same force and effect and shall be as binding and shall be construed for all purposes as if it had been contained in the Act under which it was made.
25. Construction of subsidiary legislationWhere an Act confers power to make subsidiary legislation, expressions used in the subsidiary legislation shall have the same meaning as in the Act conferring the power, and any reference in such subsidiary legislation to "the Act" shall be construed as a reference to the Act conferring the power to make such subsidiary legislation.
26. Exercise of statutory powers between enactment and commencement of ActWhere an Act is not to come into operation on or before the expiration of the day next preceding the day of its publication and confers power—
27. Rules to be laid before National Assembly
28. Effect of repeal on subsidiary legislation
29. FormsWhere a form is prescribed by or under any Act, deviations therefrom, not affecting the substance or calculated to mislead, shall not invalidate the form used.
Part VI – Powers
30. Presumption of lawful exercise of powersWhere an Act confers powers upon a person to—
31. Exercise of powers
32. Construction of enabling words
33. Power to issue licences etc. discretionary
34. Power to appoint includes power to suspend, dismiss, reappoint etc.
35. Exercise and delegation of powers by Ministers
36. Effect of delegation of powers and duties
37. Power to make public instruments and perform ActsWhere an Act confers power upon a person to make, issue or approve any proclamation, order, notice, declaration, instrument, notification, licence, permit, register or list, the power shall include power—
38. Power to relate back appointmentAny appointment made under the provisions of an Act may be declared to have effect as from the date upon which the person appointed in fact began to exercise the powers and perform the duties of his appointment, not being a date earlier than the commencement of the Act under which the appointment is made.
Part VII – Boards and committees, and corporations
39. Power to appoint chairman etc.Where an Act confers power upon a person to appoint persons to be members of a board, tribunal, commission, committee, council or similar body, the person so appointing may appoint a chairman, a deputy-chairman, a vice-chairman and a secretary of the board, tribunal, commission, committee, council or similar body.
40. Appointment of alternatesWhere a board, tribunal, commission, committee, council or similar body is established by or under an Act, a person empowered by that Act to appoint any or all of the members thereof may—
41. Powers of board etc. not affected by vacancyWhere a board, tribunal, commission, committee, council or similar body is established by or under an Act, the powers of such board, tribunal, commission, committee, council or similar body shall not be affected by—
42. Power of majority
43. SealWhere an Act constitutes a board, tribunal, commission, committee, council or similar body to be a body corporate, and a document requires to be sealed with the common seal of the body corporate, then such common seal shall be affixed by the chairman of the board, tribunal, commission, committee, council or similar body, or by any member thereof appointed by the chairman for that purpose, and shall be authenticated by the signature of the chairman or such member.
44. Powers vested in corporationsWords in an Act establishing a corporation—
Part VIII – Public officers
45. References to public officerIn any Act, instrument, warrant or process of any kind, a reference to a public officer, or to a person holding a public office by a term designating his office, shall include a reference to any person for the time being lawfully discharging the functions of that office or any part of such functions, and any person appointed to act in or perform the duties of such office, or any part of such duties, for the time being.
46. Change of title of officeThe King may, by notice (which may be given retrospective effect) in the Gazette, declare a change in title of any public office or public body, or of any person referred to in any Act, and such change of title shall have effect from the date specified in such notice or, if no date is specified therein, from the date of publication thereof in the Gazette and with effect from that date any reference in any Act to the former title of such public office, public body or person shall be read and construed as a reference to that office, body or person by such new title as the King may declare in the notice.
47. Appointment of officers by name or officeWhere by any Act an authority is empowered to appoint a person—
48. Power to appoint while holder on retirement leave
Part IX – Time and distance
49. Computation of time
50. Prescription of a number of daysWhere a number of days not expressed to be "clear days" is prescribed the same shall be reckoned exclusively of the first day and inclusively of the last; where the days are expressed to be "clear days" or where the term "at least" is used both the first day and the last shall be excluded.
51. Provision where no time prescribedWhere no time is prescribed, or allowed within which anything shall be done, such thing shall be done without unreasonable delay, and as often as due occasion arises.
52. Power to extend timeWhere in an Act a time is prescribed for doing any act or taking any proceeding and power is given to a court or other authority to extend such time, then the power may be exercised by the court or other authority although the application for the same is not made until after the expiration of the time prescribed.
53. DistanceIn the measurement of any distance for the purposes of an Act, that distance shall be measured in a straight line on a horizontal plane.
54. Warrants etc. valid on Sunday and public holidayA summons, notice, warrant or other process may be issued, served or executed and any arrest, search or seizure may be carried out or made on any day, including Sunday or a public holiday, and at any hour of the day or night.
Part X – Penalties and legal proceedings
55. Ex-officio proceedings not to abate on death of errorsAny civil proceedings taken by or against any person in virtue of his office shall not be discontinued or abated by his death, resignation, or absence, or removal from office, but may be carried on by or against, as the case may be, the person for the time being holding that office.
56. Imposition of penalty no bar to civil actionThe imposition of a penalty or fine by or under an Act shall not, in the absence of express provision to the contrary, relieve any person from liability to answer in damages to a person injured.
57. Penalties prescribed may be maximum penalties and cumulative
58. Statement of penalty at end of sectionWhere in an Act a penalty is set out at the foot of any section or part thereof, the same shall mean that a contravention of that section or part shall be an offence under that Act punishable by a penalty not exceeding the penalty so set out.
59. Amendment of penaltyWhere an act or omission constitutes an offence and the penalty for such offence is varied between the time of the commission of the offence and the conviction therefor, the offender shall be liable to the penalty prescribed at the time of the commission of the offence.
60. Evidence of signature of Solicitor-General of D.P.P.Where under any Act the consent or authority of the Solicitor-General or the Director of Public Prosecutions is necessary before any action or prosecution is commenced, any document purporting to be the consent or authority of the Solicitor-General or the Director of Public Prosecutions shall be received as prima facie evidence in any proceeding without proof being given that the signature to the consent or authority is that of the Solicitor-General or the Director of Public Prosecutions as the case may be.
Part XI – Miscellaneous
61. Gazette to be evidence of matters thereinA copy of the Gazette containing any Act or any instrument, or a copy of any Act or instrument, purporting to be printed by the Government Printer, shall be prima facie evidence in all courts and for all purposes of the due making and tenor of such Act or instrument.
62. RectificationThe Solicitor-General may, by order published in the Gazette, rectify any clerical or printing error appearing in any Act.
63. Reprint of the SolicitorThe Government Printer may, with the authority-General, print copies of any Act with all additions, omissions, substitutions and amendments effected by any amending Acts, and such copies shall be deemed to be authentic copies of the Act so amended as at the date of printing.
64. Saving of rights of the CrownNo Act shall in any manner affect the rights of or be binding on the Crown, unless it is therein expressly provided or unless it appears by necessary implication that the Crown is bound thereby.
65. Repeal of proclamationThe General Interpretation Proclamation is repealed.[12 of 1942]
History of this document
19 December 1993 amendment not yet applied
Amended by Interpretation (Amendment) Act 1993
02 December 1977 this version
17 October 1977
Cited documents 0
Documents citing this one 29
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- Chobokoane v Attorney General and Another (CIV/APN 62 of 89)  LSCA 178 (23 November 1990)
- (C of A (CRI) 5 of 1979; C of A (CRI) 6 of 1979)  LSCA 3 (12 January 1981)
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- Letoala v R (CRI/A 64 of 87)  LSCA 65 (14 April 1988)
- Leuta and Another v Lesotho Brewing Company (Pty) Ltd and Another (L.A.C. (CIV) 3 of 2002)  LSLAC 2 (6 November 2003)
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- Mandoro v Lesotho Evangelical Church (CIV/T 271 of 83)  LSCA 78 (7 July 1989)
- Maramane v Lesotho National General Insurance Co. (C of A (CIV) 11 of 2016)  LSCA 37 (28 October 2016)
- Masiyambiri v Mopolo (CIV/T 207 of 81)  LSCA 53 (20 August 1982)
- Minister of Home Affairs and Others v Mofolo (CIV/APN/418/04; C of A (CIV) 2/05)  LSCA 12 (20 April 2005)
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- Ntsu Nts'onyane v Motlatsi Thejane and Others (LC/APN 2013)  LSHC 11 (17 March 2017)
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- Qhobela v Attorney-General and Another (CIV/APN 144 of 87)  LSCA 95 (15 August 1989)
- Rantle v Methodist Church of Southern Africa and Others (LC/A 2016)  LSHC 11 (21 November 2016)
- R v Mohoase (C of A (CRI) 7 of 2004)  LSCA 14 (20 October 2004)
- R v Mohoase (C of A (CRI) 7 of 2004)  LSCA 9 (4 April 2007)
- Smith v Ts'epong Proprietary Limited (C of A (CIV) 22 of 2020)  LSCA 11 (14 May 2021)
- Tsoeu and Others v National University of Lesotho (CIV/APN 561 of 2013)  LSHC 57 (24 June 2014)
- White Horse Party v Judicial Service Commission (CONSTITUTIONAL CASE 16 of 2020)  LSHC 57 (11 December 2020)