Citations (1)


Footnotes (14)



Open Texture and the Possibility of Legal Interpretation

David Lyons

Boston University

April 2000

Boston Univ. School of Law Working Paper No. 99-9

Legal interpretation has recently enjoyed much theoretical attention. The received theory of law's open texture implies, however, that legal interpretation (in the sense of ascertaining the actual meaning of a law) is impossible when language gives rise to reasonable uncertainty or disagreement about the law's meaning and proper application. Ideas surrounding the received theory imply that interpretation is impossible whenever there is reasonable uncertainty or disagreement, from any source, about the law's meaning or proper application. The theory thus indicates that there is little scope for a theory of legal interpretation. This paper argues that the received theory misconstrues the legal implications of the open texture of language and provides an untenable basis for rejecting the possibility of legal interpretation.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 9

JEL Classification: K40

Open PDF in Browser Download This Paper

Date posted: April 18, 2000  

Suggested Citation

Lyons , David, Open Texture and the Possibility of Legal Interpretation (April 2000). Boston Univ. School of Law Working Paper No. 99-9. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=212328 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.212328

Contact Information

David Barry Lyons (Contact Author)
Boston University ( email )
745 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States
617-358-3622 (Phone)
617-353-3077 (Fax)
Feedback to SSRN

Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 3,333
Downloads: 646
Download Rank: 30,555
Citations:  1
Footnotes:  14