Lord Atkin

Alice in Wonderland Interpretations

With admirable concision and characteristic literary flair, Lord Atkin describes his reasons for dissent in Liversidge v Anderson [1942] AC 206:

I know of only one authority which might justify the suggested method of construction: “‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.’ ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’ ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’” (Through the Looking Glass, c vi) After all this long discussion the question is whether the words “If a man has” can mean “If a man thinks he has.” I am of opinion that they cannot, and that the case should be decided accordingly.

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Citation: Liversidge v Anderson [1942] AC 206
Source: Westlaw
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