An Argumentation Framework for Contested Cases of Statutory Interpretation

39 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2016

See all articles by Douglas Walton

Douglas Walton

University of Windsor

Giovanni Sartor

European University Institute Law Department

Fabrizio Macagno

Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Date Written: May 9, 2016

Abstract

This paper proposes an argumentation-based procedure for legal interpretation, by reinterpreting the traditional canons of textual interpretation in terms of argumentation schemes, which are then classified, formalized, and represented through argument visualization and evaluation tools. The problem of statutory interpretation is framed as one of weighing contested interpretations as pro and con arguments. The paper builds an interpretation procedure by formulating a set of argumentation schemes that can be used to comparatively evaluate the types of arguments used in cases of contested statutory interpretation in law. A simplified version of the Carneades Argumentation System is applied in a case analysis showing how the procedure works. A logical model for statutory interpretation is finally presented, covering pro-tanto and all-things-considered interpretive conclusions.

Keywords: Argumentation Systems, Interpreting Statutes, Ordinary Language Meaning, Argument from Purpose, Ambiguity, Abductive Reasoning, Argumentation Schemes

Suggested Citation

Walton, Douglas and Sartor, Giovanni and Macagno, Fabrizio, An Argumentation Framework for Contested Cases of Statutory Interpretation (May 9, 2016). Artificial Intelligence and Law, Vol. 24, No. 1, p. 51-91, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2850164

Douglas Walton (Contact Author)

University of Windsor ( email )

401 Sunset Avenue
Windsor, Ontario N9B 3P4
Canada

Giovanni Sartor

European University Institute Law Department ( email )

Via Bolognese 156 (Villa Salviati)
50-139 Firenze
ITALY

Fabrizio Macagno

Universidade Nova de Lisboa ( email )

Av. Berna 26 I&D Building, office 4.02
Lisbon, 1069-061
Portugal

HOME PAGE: http://fabriziomacagno.altervista.org/

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