The idea of legislative intent plays a central role in legal interpretation and constitutional theory, yet is repeatedly challenged as being an illusion. Refuting these challenges, this book develops a robust account of how and why legislatures form intentions, and the importance of these intentions to understanding law and parliamentary democracy.
What Jurists Can Learn about Legal Interpretation from Linguistics and Philosophy
Author: Brian G. Slocum
Pubpsher: University of Chicago Press
Language shapes and reflects how we think about the world. It engages and intrigues us. Our everyday use of language is quite effortless—we are all experts on our native tongues. Despite this, issues of language and meaning have long flummoxed the judges on whom we depend for the interpretation of our most fundamental legal texts. Should a judge feel confident in defining common words in the texts without the aid of a linguist? How is the meaning communicated by the text determined? Should the communicative meaning of texts be decisive, or at least influential? To fully engage and probe these questions of interpretation, this volume draws upon a variety of experts from several fields, who collectively examine the interpretation of legal texts. In The Nature of Legal Interpretation, the contributors argue that the meaning of language is crucial to the interpretation of legal texts, such as statutes, constitutions, and contracts. Accordingly, expert analysis of language from linguists, philosophers, and legal scholars should influence how courts interpret legal texts. Offering insightful new interdisciplinary perspectives on originalism and legal interpretation, these essays put forth a significant and provocative discussion of how best to characterize the nature of language in legal texts.
Interpretation has emerged in recent years as one of the most interesting and important elements of legal scholarship. This collection of new essays in law and interpretation provides an overview of this important topic, written by some of the most distinguished scholars in the field. The collection assesses the role of legislative intent in the interpretation of statutes, and in determining legal standards. This collection will appeal not only to lawyers and to legal theorists, but to all scholars of legal discourse.
In the last years of his life, Gerald C. MacCallum, Jr. defied illness to continue his work on the philosophy of law. This book is a monument to MacCallum's effort, containing fourteen of his essays, five of them published here for the first time. Two of those previously published are widely admired and reprinted: "Legislative Intent, " certainly one of the best papers published on its topic, and "Negative and Positive Freedom, " which offered a new way of looking at a distinction that had been canonical fo the last two centuries. To complete MacCallum's unfinished pieces, Marcus G. Singer and Rex Martin painstakingly consulted MacCallum's notes for planned revisions. MacCallum discusses legal reasoning, the application of rules, the interpretation of statutes and constitutional provisions, and the relation of these matters to morality and justice. In the last decade of his working life, he became greatly concerned with the interrelated themes of integrity, autonomy, conscience, and violence. He became interested in the relations between competition and morality and between justice and adversarial systems of law. These themes are woven together in Legislative Intent and constitute the main subject of some of the essays. MacCallum was engaged in a constant search for truth and understanding and in his life and work lived up to Emerson's vision of the "American Scholar" as "Man Thinking." These essays are informed by the author's deep curiosity, penetrating intelligence, wide knowledge, and outstanding character. They will be treasured wherever these characteristics and true philosophy are treasured.
This book presents a comprehensive theory of legal interpretation, by a leading judge and legal theorist. Currently, legal philosophers and jurists apply different theories of interpretation to constitutions, statutes, rules, wills, and contracts. Aharon Barak argues that an alternative approach--purposive interpretation--allows jurists and scholars to approach all legal texts in a similar manner while remaining sensitive to the important differences. Moreover, regardless of whether purposive interpretation amounts to a unifying theory, it would still be superior to other methods of interpretation in tackling each kind of text separately. Barak explains purposive interpretation as follows: All legal interpretation must start by establishing a range of semantic meanings for a given text, from which the legal meaning is then drawn. In purposive interpretation, the text's "purpose" is the criterion for establishing which of the semantic meanings yields the legal meaning. Establishing the ultimate purpose--and thus the legal meaning--depends on the relationship between the subjective and objective purposes; that is, between the original intent of the text's author and the intent of a reasonable author and of the legal system at the time of interpretation. This is easy to establish when the subjective and objective purposes coincide. But when they don't, the relative weight given to each purpose depends on the nature of the text. For example, subjective purpose is given substantial weight in interpreting a will; objective purpose, in interpreting a constitution. Barak develops this theory with masterful scholarship and close attention to its practical application. Throughout, he contrasts his approach with that of textualists and neotextualists such as Antonin Scalia, pragmatists such as Richard Posner, and legal philosophers such as Ronald Dworkin. This book represents a profoundly important contribution to legal scholarship and a major alternative to interpretive approaches advanced by other leading figures in the judicial world.
The close connection between philosophy of language and philosophy of law has been recognized for decades through the work of many influential legal philosophers. This volume brings recent advances in philosophy of language to bear on contemporary debates about the nature of law and legal interpretation. The book builds on recent work in pragmatics and speech-act theory to explain how, and to what extent, legal content is determined by linguistic considerations. At the same time, the analysis shows that some of the unique features of communication in the legal domain - in particular, its strategic nature - can be employed to put pressure on certain assumptions in philosophy of language. This enables a more nuanced picture of how semantic and pragmatic determinants of communication work in complex and large-scale systems such as law. Chapters build on explanations of key elements of statutory language, such as the distinction between what is said and what is implicated, the possibility of ascribing truth-values to legal prescriptions and the structure of legal inferences, the various forms of vagueness in the law, the distinctions between vagueness, ambiguity, and polysemy in legal language, and the distinction between concept and conceptions, mostly in the context of constitutional interpretation. The book demonstrates that paying close attention to the kind of speech acts legal directives are, and how they determine the content of the law, enables a better understanding of the boundaries between normative and linguistic determinants of legal content.
Writing in the sixth edition of this Handbook, author Michael Fordham described his ambition when writing the first edition (and indeed all subsequent editions) of this book as "to read as many judicial review cases as I could and to try to extract, classify and present illustrations and statements of principle". Behind this aim lay the practitioner's overwhelming need to know and understand the case-law. Without it, as Fordham says "much can be achieved in public law through instinct, experience and familiarity with general principles which are broad, flexible and designed to accord with common sense". But with knowledge of the case law comes the vital ability to be able to point to and rely on an authoritative statement of principle and working illustration. Knowing the case-law is crucial: "the challenge is to find it". This, the sixth edition of the Handbook, continues the tradition established by earlier editions, in rendering the voluminous case-law accessible and knowable. This Handbook remains an indispensable source of reference and a guide to the case-law in judicial review. Established as an essential part of the library of any practitioner engaged in public law cases, the Judicial Review Handbook offers unrivalled coverage of administrative law, including, but not confined to, the work of the Administrative Court and its procedures. Once again completely revised and up-dated, the sixth edition approximates to a restatement of the law of judicial review, organised around 63 legal principles, each supported by a comprehensive presentation of the sources and an unequalled selection of reported case quotations. It also includes essential procedural rules, forms and guidance issued by the Administrative Court. As in the previous edition, both the Civil Procedure Rules and Human Rights Act 1998 feature prominently as major influences on the shaping of the case-law. Their impact, and the plethora of cases which explore their meaning and application, were fully analysed and evaluated in the previous edition, but this time around their importance has grown exponentially and is reflected in even greater attention being given to their respective roles. Attention is also given to another new development - the coming into existence of the Supreme Court. Here Michael Fordham casts an experienced eye over the Court's work in the area of judicial review, and assesses the early signs from a Court that is expected to be one of the key influences in the development of judicial review in the modern era. The author, a leading member of the English public law bar, has been involved in many of the leading judicial review cases in recent years and is the founding editor of the Judicial Review journal. "...an institution for those who practise public law...it has the authority that comes from being compiled by an author of singular distinction". (Lord Woolf, from the Foreword to the Fifth Edition)
Release on 2018-05-16 | by John McGarry,Taylor & Francis Group
Author: John McGarry,Taylor & Francis Group
In the late 1980s, a vigorous debate began about how we may best justify, in constitutional terms, the English courts' jurisdiction to judicially review the exercise of public power derived from an Act of Parliament. Two rival theories emerged in this debate, the ultra vires theory and the common law theory. The debate between the supporters of these two theories has never satisfactorily been resolved and has been criticised as being futile. Yet, the debate raises some fundamental questions about the constitution of the United Kingdom, particularly: the relationship between Parliament and the courts; the nature of parliamentary supremacy in the contemporary constitution; and the possibility and validity of relying on legislative intent. This book critically analyses the ultra vires and common law theories and argues that neither offers a convincing explanation for the courts' judicial review jurisdiction. Instead, the author puts forward the theory that parliamentary supremacy - and, in turn, the relationship between Parliament and the courts - is not absolute and does not operate in a hard and fast way but, rather, functions in a more flexible way and that the courts will balance particular Acts of Parliament against competing statutes or principles. McGarry argues that this new conception of parliamentary supremacy leads to an alternative theory of judicial review which significantly differs from both the ultra vires and common law theories. This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of UK public law.