Last Antecedent Rule Law and Legal Definition

The last antecedent rule is a rule of construction used to interpret statutes. The doctrine states that modifying or qualifying phrases only be applied to those words immediately before them, and not to remote phrases, unless a common sense reading clearly dictates that the context or whole of the statute intends it to apply more broadly. Therefrore, this rule is not an absolute and can be overcome by other indicators of meaning. Construing a statute in accord with the rule is accepted as being quite sensible as a matter of grammar.