When deciding what a word or term in a statute means, the rule of statutory interpretation is to give the word or term its plain and ordinary meaning. This is known as the plain meaning rule. If the word or term is clear and unambiguous, then the court will not look beyond the text of the statute to determine its meaning. The principal rule is well known to military defense counsel as they prepare a case for trial.
If a word or term is ambiguous, then the court may use other tools of statutory interpretation to determine its meaning. These tools include: