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Legal Interpretation

Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Law, A. Marmor, ed., Routledge, 2012

Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 39/2011

26 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2011  

Timothy A.O. Endicott

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law

Date Written: June 26, 2011

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.

Suggested Citation

Endicott, Timothy A.O., Legal Interpretation (June 26, 2011). Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Law, A. Marmor, ed., Routledge, 2012 ; Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 39/2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1872883

Timothy A.O. Endicott (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

St. Cross Building
St. Cross Road
Oxford, OX1 3UJ
United Kingdom

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