The laws are adapted to those cases which most frequently occur. The meaning of this maxim is, that the laws are to be so construed as that they may be made to adapt themselves to those cases which, in the ordinary transactions of the world, most frequently occur, in preference to their being made to adapt themselves to any isolated or individual case. The phrase, “ so far as the same is applicable,” now so common in Acts of Parliament where forms of procedure are given, requires the aid of this maxim to explain its meaning ; it is evidently directed to those cases which most frequently occur, and will not be permitted' to be altered so as to suit every particular case, and in considering it the courts will so construe it.
In the construction of all public general Acts of Parliament, also, that meaning must be put upon them which is applicable to cases which most frequently occur, and not to any particular case ; for an Act of Parliament is like the common law, which adapts itself to the general in exclusion of the particular good, and is construed with the aid of the common law. The Legislature will be presumed to have in their contemplation those cases which most frequently occur, and a statute will be so construed. So where in an Act of Parliament there is given the form of an indorsement to be put upon a writ of summons, which by construction of the statute was intended to apply to all cases alike, and, there being a blank in such indorsement, the Court ordered it to be filled up so as to be generally applicable. Private statutes, however, are not so construed ; they are construed strictly, and confined to the particular object for which they were made appearing upon the face of them, as an ordinary deed inter parties. Thus, where a private Act of Parliament, intituled “ An Act to enable a certain Insurance Society to sue and be sued in the name of their Secretary,” enacted that they might commence all actions and suits in his name as nominal plaintiff ; it was held that that did not enable the secretary to petition on behalf of the society for a commission in bankruptcy against their debtor; the expression “to sue,” generally speaking, meaning to bring actions, and was not applicable to a commission in bankruptcy, which would have been mentioned if intended.
Though this maxim may be strictly true as regards the laws of this country, if the meaning be that they are to be so con- strued as that they may be made to adapt themselves to such cases in preference to their being made to adapt themselves to any isolated or individual cases, and the reference be to public general statutes merely, and not to local or personal ; yet the laws of this country are by no means perfect specimens of general adaptation. They seem rather to be made for each individual case as it arises ; and, indeed, the moment a case occurs suggestive of legislative enactment, a law is made to meet it, whether it be at the will of a private person, a public body, or the public. Most of our public general statutes are, however, of general application, and are made to apply to those cases which are likely most frequently to occur ; as statutes directed against crimes and misdemeanors.
Taking the maxim to mean that laws are to be construed so as to give them the widest general application, it applies to all those cases where the words used have both a particular and a general signification, when that construction having general application will be adopted, unless manifestly unreasonable and inconsistent.
2 Inst. 137; 18 & 19 Vict. c. 07; Vaugh. It. 373 ; Wing. Max. 210, 710; Twiss v. Massey, 1 Atk. 07 ; Ex parte, Freeman, 1 V. & B. 41 ; Guthrie c. Fish, 3 B. & C. 1 78 ; Williams r. Roberts, 7 Exch. 028 ; Miller r. Solomons, 7 Exch. :“49; Robinson v. Cott-'roll, 11 Exch. 477; Hall r. Coat:s, 11 Exch. 481.