July 1, 2011

Interpretation In Legal Reasoning

Timothy A. O. Endicott, University of Oxford Faculty of Law, has published Legal Interpretation in the Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Law (A. Marmor ed., Routledge, 2012). Here is the abstract.

The focus of this work is the role of interpretation in “legal reasoning,” defined to mean "finding rational support for legal conclusions (general or particular)". My argument is that each of the following aspects of legal reasoning need not involve interpretation: 1. Resolving indeterminacies as to the content of the law; 2. Working out the requirements of abstract legal provisions; 3. Deciding what is just; 4. Equitable interference with legal duties or powers or rights; 5. Understanding the law. I do not claim that interpretation is unimportant to legal reasoning, but that most legal reasoning is not interpretative. Much of what is commonly called “interpretation” can be done with no interpretation at all.
Download the text from SSRN at the link.

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