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Note:Francis Bennion sadly died on 28 January 2015.

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Pleasant words archive


This page contains previous "Pleasant words" items from the Home page


17 April 2007

A few pleasant words from:


John O'Callaghan in Dublin


I am an ‘Appeal Commissioner’ in Ireland. You may well know that we carry out functions similar to those of the Special and General Commissioners as well as those of the Customs and Duties Tribunal in the UK.


Your book Statutory Interpretation lies open on my desk as I type. I was, until a moment ago, considering the precise meaning of ‘is not, at the date of the inheritance beneficially entitled to any other dwelling-house...’ as it appears in Section 86 of our Capital Acquisitions Tax Act 2003.


However, before this begins to sound like work I should point out that I am not looking for your advice. I write to say thank you. You have accomplished a Herculean task which has regularly been of direct assistance to me in wrestling with what is sometimes rather poorly drafted legislation. I cannot see how any intelligent person could fail to appreciate what a monumental achievement your work represents.


I notice that, like me, you are married to an Irish woman. Is that how you ensure that your syntactical and other analytical skills remain honed?

Again, thank you.


John O'Callaghan

28 February 2007.

Click here for the complete exchange of e-mails


22 March 2007

A few pleasant words from the Scottish Parliament (2007.003.REF):

Scottish Parliament - Subordinate Legislation Committee

23 April 2002, col. 874.


The Convener (Margo Macdonald): The committee asked the Executive to justify the vires of the degree of sub-delegation to Scottish Water in regulation 8(b). The Executive has given us a well-researched and thoughtful response. It must have been referring to Bennion’s “Statutory Interpretation”, which, I am told, is something that we must all read.

Murdo Fraser: Convener, I think that you should read it and précis it for the rest of us.

The Convener: Yes, okay.

Colin Campbell: On an A4 sheet.

The Convener: Seemingly, Bennion’s “Statutory Interpretation” is the answer to everything. I really must ask for it for Christmas.


25 February 2003, col. 1245.

The Convener (Margo Macdonald): We said that. Convenience in drafting should not be as important as the legal effect.

Ian Jenkins: And we all know that Bennion, in “Statutory Interpretation”, makes it clear that it is a drafting error that can have serious consequences.

Colin Campbell (West of Scotland) (SNP): You took the words right out of my mouth.

The Convener: That is what Bennion said the last time I talked to him.

Murdo Fraser: Did you enjoy the end of chapter 3? I thought that it was a good cliffhanger.

The Convener: We like happy endings. Old Bennion can be relied upon.


22 February 2007

A few pleasant words from Delia Venables (2007.002.NFB)


“ You were extremely popular amongst barristers doing the course ‘Changing Practice for Barristers’ which described the web sites of individual barristers and asked them which sites they found particularly useful or interesting. See the next issue, coming out next week! People loved the mixture of challenging content on your site.”

In the following issue (early March) of Delia’s famous Internet Newsletter for Lawyers, in an item headed ‘The best web sites from individual barristers offering free (and useful) information – and who got most votes! ’ Delia reported:


‘In the e-book with CPD “Changing Practice for Barristers” by Nick Holmes and me, I asked which two of the sites provided by individual barristers the people taking the course (themselves largely barristers) found most useful. Nearly 100 people have now taken this course.'


This site got the second highest number of votes at 24. Among the comments received was ‘Francis Bennion’s site for a fine mixture of legal analysis and polemic . . . and . . . because he challenges my assumptions in the area of human rights and civil liberties’.


Thanks again Delia!