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Quoties in verbis nulla est ambiguitas ibi nulla expositio contra verba expressa fienda est

When in the words there is no ambiguity, then no exposition contrary to the expressed words is to be made.


If an instrument be plain upon the face of it, and complete in meaning, no evidence will be admitted to give any other construction to it than that which is so plainly expressed, even though it be contended that the plain meaning so expressed upon the face of the instrument does not carry out the intention of the parties; for, “Maledicta expositio quae corrumpit textum”: That exposition is bad which corrupts the text ; and no construction shall be made contrary to the express words of the grant. If a man grant to another and his heirs a rent of 40s. out of his manor of Dale, and also grant that if the rent be behind the grantee shall distrain in the manor of Sale, the rent is only issuing out of the manor of Dale, and it is but a penalty that he shall distrain in the manor of Sale. But, both manors are charged, the one with a rent, and the other with a distress for the rent, the one issuing out of the land, and the other to be taken upon the land. So if I grant to one that he and his heirs, or the heirs of his body, shall distrain for a rent of 40s. within my manor of Sale ; this, by construction of law, shall amount to a grant of a rent in fee-simple or fee-tail out of my manor of Sale ; for if this did not amount to a grant of a rent, the grant would be of little effect, giving only a bare distress, and no rent ; and so it has been often ruled that this amounts to a grant of rent by construction of law ; “ Ut res magis valeat quam pereat.” And, that the right to distrain upon the manor of Sale in the case first given is a penalty only, is shown in that the law in such case needs not to make construction that this amounts to a grant for a rent, for there a rent is expressly granted to be issuing out of the manor of Dale, and the parties have expressly limited out of what land the rent shall issue, and upon what land the distress shall be taken ; and the law will not make an exposition against the express words and intention of the parties when such intention stands with the rule of law, “Quoties in verbis”.

The rule as to patent ambiguity applies to the maxim under consideration ; as, where there appears to be an omission of words in a document, words will not be introduced to complete it, there being no ambiguity in the words used, and, such being the case, no exposition contrary to the words used will be made. The meaning of the parties, to be gathered from the words used, must be ascertained, and words must not be supplied to make up their supposed meaning. A contract, for instance, must be read according to what is written by the parties, for a written contract cannot be altered by parol, and evidence is not admissible to show that the parties meant something different from that stated in the contract itself. And in a will, if there be a blank for the devisee's name, parol evidence will not be admitted to show what person's name the testator intended to insert.

In all cases where a written instrument appears on the face of it to be complete, parol evidence will not be admitted to vary or contradict it ; the Court will look to the contract, and no construction will be made or allowed contrary to the express words.

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