Probabilistic Interpretation

University of LaVerne Law Review, Vol. 38, No. 1 (2016), pp. 101-121

22 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2016 Last revised: 28 Nov 2016

See all articles by F. E. Guerra-Pujol

F. E. Guerra-Pujol

University of Central Florida; Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico

Date Written: November 27, 2016


How should judges decide close cases? Specifically, what should a judge do when there is a gap or blind spot in our textual legal sources or when such sources contain conflicting rules or principles of interpretation? Building on our previous work and on the work of others, the author of this paper presents a simple probabilistic model of legal interpretation. Specifically, in place of a semantic or philosophical theory of interpretation, the author models the problem of interpretation probabilistically as a “best-choice secretary problem” in which a problem-solving judge strives to select the best interpretation of a given rule from a finite set of n possible interpretations of such rule.

Keywords: Legal Interpretation, Best-Choice Secretary Problem

JEL Classification: K49

Suggested Citation

Guerra-Pujol, F. E., Probabilistic Interpretation (November 27, 2016). University of LaVerne Law Review, Vol. 38, No. 1 (2016), pp. 101-121, Available at SSRN: or

F. E. Guerra-Pujol (Contact Author)

University of Central Florida ( email )

Orlando, FL 32816
United States


Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico ( email )

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