Latin may not be a living language; yet many English words have their etymological roots in Latin. For example, the word “subscribe” in sections 4(2) and 6(1) of the Income Tax Act may only be understood meaningfully with a tracing its Latin roots, as the modern application of that word has evolved beyond its original formulation.
In other places of the Act, the Latin phrase “in camera” still exists in section 83(3). Of course, the Latin legal maxims such as “ejusdem generis”, “noscitur a sociis” and “reddendo singula singulis”, each of which prescribes a contextual and restrictive interpretation of statutory language in its own peculiar way, are still used in the purposive interpretation of statutes, and no less of tax statutes. Concepts captured by Latin phases such as “de minimis non curat lex”, “pacta sunt servanda”, “rebus sic stantibus”, etc, still have their magical spells when uttered, which sometimes compel devotional following in statutory interpretation.
Join in this upcoming webinar where Accredited Tax Advisor (Income Tax) Mr Leung Yew Kwong, Principal Advisor in Dispute Management at KPMG, uses examples in the daily use of language, in the statute book and in case law, to illustrate the pervasive but often imperceptible hold that Latin still has, in our daily and professional lives.