GENERAL INTERPRETATION

CHAPTER 1:01
GENERAL INTERPRETATION

ARRANGEMENTS OF SECTIONS

   SECTION

   1.   Short title

   2.   Interpretation of words and expressions

   3.   Acts shall be judicially noticed

   4.   Notification of approval of appointment, etc.

   5.   Forms

   6.   Acts to be divided into sections

   7.   Mode of citing written laws

   8.   Schedules and tables to be part of written law

   9.   Time when written law comes into operation

   10.   Repealed written law not revived

   11.   Repeal of amended written law to include amendment

   12.   Reference to written law to include amendments

   13.   Continuation of certain repealed laws

   14.   Provisions respecting effect of repealing written law

   15.   Construction of amending written law with amended written law

   16.   Effect of expiry of written law

   17.   Publication and commencement of subsidiary legislation

   18.   Retrospective operation of subsidiary legislation

   19.   Construction of subsidiary legislation

   20.   Exercise of powers between assent to and commencement of Act

   21.   General provisions with respect to the power to make subsidiary legislation

   22.   References to written laws to include subsidiary legislation thereunder

   23.   Act done under subsidiary legislation deemed done under written law which authorized it

   24.   Fees

   25.   Signification of orders by President or a Minister

   26.   Appointments of officers by name or office

   27.   Powers and duties to be exercised and performed from time to time

   28.   Powers and duties of office holder

   29.   Reference to holder of office includes person discharging

   30.   Power to appoint substantively pending retirement, etc., of existing holder

   31.   Effect of appointment to act in a public office

   32.   Power to appoint to include power to dismiss, etc., and to re-appoint

   33.   Change of title of public office

   34.   Construction of enabling words

   35.   Power of President to delegate authority

   36.   Power of Ministers and others to delegate

   37.   Saving in respect of delegations

   38.   Power of majority of more than two persons

   39.   Method of appeal to the President or a Minister and appearance thereon

   40.   Power to appoint chairman, etc., of board, etc.

   41.   Power to appoint members of board, etc., includes power to appoint public officers and alternates

   42.   Powers of board, etc., not affected by vacancy or certain defects

   42A.   Exercise of powers of members of boards, etc., after expiry of office [Repealed by Act No. 21 of 1996].

   43.   Authentication of decisions, etc., and affixing of common seal

   44.   Time

   45.   Computation of time and meaning of clear days

   46.   Provision where no time prescribed

   47.   Construction of power to extend time

   48.   Measurement of distances

   49.   Evidence of signature of President, Minister or law officer, etc.

   49A.   Evidence of execution of instrument under seal by public officer

   50.   Law officers

   51.   Ex officio proceeding not to abate on death, etc.

   52.   Imposition of penalty no bar to civil action

   53.   Provision as to offences under two or more laws

   54.   Penalties prescribed may be maximum penalties, but may be cumulative

   55.   Disposal of forfeits

   56.   Disposal of fines and penalties

   57.   Interpretation of applied laws

   58.   Saving of rights of Government in written laws

   59.   [Service, etc., of documents]

   60.   [Repealed by 30 of 1969]

   61.   Production of Gazette and official copies to be prima facle evidence of contents

   62.   Power to cancel licences, etc.

   63.   Act for which payment required need not be performed until payment made

36 of 1966
11 of 1967
37 of 1967
3 of 1968
9 of 1968
25 of 1968
26 of 1968
1 of 1969
30 of 1969
23 of 1971
51 of 1971
20 of 1975
5 of 1981
30 of 1991
19 of 1992
21 of 1996

An Act to make provision with regard to the construction, application and interpretation of written law, to make certain general provisions with regard to such law and other like purposes

[29TH AUGUST 1966]

1.   Short title

   This Act may be cited as the General Interpretation Act.

2.   Interpretation of words and expressions

   (1) In this Act and, subject to section 57, in every other written law enacted, made or issued before or after the coming into operation of this Act, the following words and expressions shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them, unless there is something in the subject or context inconsistent with such construction or unless it is therein otherwise provided—

   “act” used with reference to an offence or civil wrong includes an omission and extends to a series of acts and omissions;

   “Act” used with reference to legislation means an Act of Parliament, an Ordinance, and any applied Act;

   “administrative officer” means a District Commissioner or an Assistant District Commissioner;

   “amendment” includes repeal, addition, variation and substitution;

   “applied Act” means any legislation not enacted by the legislature of Malawi which by virtue of the Republic of Malawi (Constitution) Act has the force of an Act of Parliament in Malawi;

   “Cabinet” means the Cabinet constituted by or under the Constitution;

   “calendar year” means the period from the 1st January to the 31st December in the same year including both those days;

   “Chief” has the meaning ascribed thereto by section 2 of the Chiefs Act;

   “Chief Justice” means the Chief Justice of the High Court;

   “cognizable to the police” and “cognizable” used with reference to an offence means that a police officer may arrest without warrant a person whom he suspects upon reasonable grounds of having committed that offence;

   “commencement” used with reference to a written law means the date on which that written law comes into operation;

   “Commonwealth” or “Commonwealth of Nations” means the Commonwealth of Nations comprised of all the Commonwealth countries;

   “Commonwealth citizen” has the same meaning as in the Malawi Citizenship Act;

   “Commonwealth country” or “member of the Commonwealth” or “country of the Commonwealth” means any country which is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, and includes any colony, protectorate, trust territory or other dependency of such country;

   “Consolidated Fund” means the Consolidated Fund established under the Constitution;

   “Constitution” or “Constitution of Malawi” means the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi established by section 4 of the Republic of Malawi (Constitution) Act and set forth in the Second Schedule thereto;

   “consular officer” means consul-general, consul, vice-consul, consular agent, and any person for the time being authorized to discharge the duties of consul-general, consul, vice-consul or consular-agent;

   “contrayene” in relation to any requirement or conditions specified in any written law, or in any permit, licence or other authority granted under any written law, includes a failure to comply with that requirement or condition;

   “court” means any court of the Republic of competent jurisdiction;

   “Crown Agents” and “Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations” both mean the persons for the time being acting as Crown Agents in England for Overseas Governments and Administrations;

   “customary land” has the meaning assigned thereto in the Land Act;

   “customary law” means the customary law applicable in the area concerned;

   “District” means one of the districts into which Malawi is divided for purposes of administration in accordance with the Regional and District Boundaries and Place Names Act;

   “District Commissioner” means the administrative officer in charge of a District, and “Assistant District Commissioner” shall be construed accordingly;

   “District Council” means a District Council established under the Local Government (District Councils) Act, or a District Commissioner or a Commission when performing the functions of a District Council in accordance with the Local Government (District Councils) Act;

   “document” includes any matter written, expressed or described upon any substance by means of letters, figures or marks, or by more than one of those means, which is intended to be used or may be used for the purpose of recording that matter;

   “export” means to take or cause to be taken out of Malawi by any means whatsoever;

   “Gazette” means the Malawi Government Gazette and includes any supplement thereto and any Gazette Extraordinary;

   “General Notice” (or its abbreviated form “Gen.N.”) means any notice published as such in the Gazette;

   “Government” means the Government of the Republic established under the Constitution;

   “government analyst” includes any assistant or other analyst employed by the Government;

   “Government land” has the meaning assigned thereto in the Land Act;

   “Government Notice” (or its abbreviated form “G.N.”) means any notice published as such in the Gazette;

   “Government Printer” means the Government Printer of Malawi and any other printer authorized by or on behalf of the Government to print any written law or other document of the Government;

   “High Court” means the High Court of Malawi established under the Constitution;

   “immoveable property” means land whether covered by water or not, any estate or interest in or over land or arising out of or relating to land and anything permanently attached to the earth or permanently fastened to anything so attached;

   “import” means to bring or cause to be brought into Malawi by any means whatsoever;

   “judge” means a judge of the High Court and includes the Chief Justice;

   “judgment” in relation to a court includes decree, order, sentence or decision;

   “land surveyor” means a person lawfully entitled to carry out surveys of land under any written law;

   “law officer” means a person for the time being holding the office of Attorney-General or Solicitor-General;

   “legal practitioner” means a person entitled to practise as such under any Act for the time being applicable to legal practitioners;

   “local authority” means a City Council, a District Council, a Municipal Council or a Town Council;

   “magistrate” has the meaning assigned thereto in the Courts Act;

   “Malawi” means the Republic of Malawi and in relation to any period prior to the 6th July, 1964, means the territories comprising the former Nyasaland Protectorate and in relation to any period after that date means the territories comprising the Republic;

   “master” used with reference to a ship means the person (except a pilot or harbour-master) having for the time being control, charge or command of such ship, and with reference to an aircraft means the person having for the time being control, charge or command of such aircraft;

   “medical practitioner” means a medical practitioner duly registered or licensed as such under any Act for the time being applicable to the registration or licensing of medical practitioners;

   “Minister” means a person appointed as a Minister of the Government under the Constitution;

   “the Minister” means the Minister for the time being charged with responsibility for the matter in question, and includes the President when he has assigned to himself or is exercising such responsibility;

   “month” means a calendar month;

   “moveable property” means property other than immoveable property;

   “Municipal Council” has the meaning assigned thereto in the Local Government (Urban Areas) Act;

   “Municipality” has the meaning assigned thereto in the Local Government (Urban Areas) Act;

   “oath” and “affidavit”, in the case of a person allowed by law to affirm or declare instead of swear, include affirmation or declaration;

   “Ordinance” means an Ordinance enacted in the former Nyasaland Protectorate;

   “Paramount Chief” means a person holding or acting in the office of Paramount Chief under the Chiefs Act;

   “Parliament” means the Parliament of the Republic established by the Constitution;

   “Principal Secretary” or “Secretary” in relation to a Ministry means the public officer appointed as the Civil Service head of that Ministry;

   “the Principal Secretary” or “the Secretary” in relation to any matter means the Principal Secretary of the Ministry for the time being charged with responsibility for the matter in question;

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