Advertisement

Constraining Adjudication: An Inquiry into the Nature of W. Baude’s and S. Sachs’ Law of Interpretation

  • Izabela SkoczeńEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

W. Baude’s and S.E. Sachs’s paper entitled “The Law of Interpretation” is a fascinating survey of a plethora of cases from the American common law system. The main conclusion of the article is extremely interesting from both philosophical and practical points of view. Namely, the authors claim that there exists something additional in the law that has not been identified before, and this is the law of interpretation. This law of interpretation is claimed to be a set of both written and unwritten rules, including the canons of construction. However, a closer look at the examples provided by Baude and Sachs throughout their paper proves some nonhomogenous nature of the unwritten rules of the law of interpretation. I claim that this nonhomogeneity comes precisely from different, more fundamental facts to which these unwritten rules of interpretation are related. Moreover, I argue that the elements of the law of interpretation that are indeed incorporated into the law are in fact scarce, and I investigate the reasons for this state of affairs. Two main reasons are analyzed—the nature of context and the structure of all-things-considered moral arguments.

Keywords

Legal interpretation Canons of construction Context Background Legal rules 

Notes

Acknowledgment

This research was funded by grant no 2018/30/M/HS5/00254 (Harmonia, Polish National Centre for Science).

References

  1. Asgeirsson H (2016) On the possibility of non-literal legislative speech. In: Capone A, Poggi F (eds) Pragmatics and law: philosophical perspectives. Springer, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  2. Baude W, Sachs SE (2017) The law of interpretation. Harv Law Rev 130:1079–1147Google Scholar
  3. Borg E (2006) Minimal semantics. Clarendon, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  4. Bulygin E (2015) Norms, normative propositions, and legal statements (1982)∗. In: Bernal C, Huerta C, Mazzarese T, Moreso JJ, Navarro PE, Paulson SL (eds) Essays in legal philosophy. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 188–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Burazin L, Ratti GB (2019) Rule(s) of recognition and canons of interpretation. In: Chiassoni P, Spaic B (eds) Judges and judicial interpretation in constitutional democracies: a view from legal realismGoogle Scholar
  6. Carston R (2013) Legal texts and canons of construction: a view from current pragmatic theory. In: Freeman MDA, Smith F (eds) Law and language, current legal issues. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  7. Ekins R (2012) The nature of legislative intent, Oxford legal philosophy, 1st edn. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Endicott T (2012) Legal interpretation. In: Marmor A (ed) The routledge companion to philosophy of law, Routledge philosophy companions. Routledge, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. Goldsworthy J (1994) Implications in language, law and the constitution. In: Lindell G, Zines L (eds) Future directions in Australian constitutional law: essays in Honour of Professor Leslie Zines. Federation Press in association with the Centre for International and Public Law and the Law Faculty, Australian National University, SydneyGoogle Scholar
  10. Greenberg M (2017) What makes a method of legal interpretation correct? Legal standards versus fundamental determinants. Harv Law Rev Forum 130:105–124Google Scholar
  11. Grice P (1975) Logic and conversation. In: Cole P, Morgan J (eds) Syntax and semantics. Academic Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  12. Guerra-Pujol FE (2016) Probabilistic interpretation. Univ LaVerne Law Rev, 38(1), pp. 101–121. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2794151 or  https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2794151
  13. Hart HLA (2012) The concept of law, Clarendon law series, 3rd edn. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Horn LR (1984) Toward a new taxonomy for pragmatic inference: Q-based and R-based implicature. In: Schiffrin D, Round Table on Languages and Linguistics, Georgetown University (eds) Meaning, form, and use in context: linguistic applications. Georgetown University Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  15. Levenbook BB (1984) The role of coherence in legal reasoning. Law Philos 3:355–374.  https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00654833 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Llewellyn K (1950) Remarks on the theory of appellate decisions and the rules or canons about how statutes are to be construed. Vanderbilt Law Rev 3:395Google Scholar
  17. Marmor A (2014) The language of law, 1st edn. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Marmor A (2016) Defeasibility and pragmatic indeterminacy in law. In: Capone A, Poggi F (eds) Pragmatics and law: philosophical perspectives. Springer, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  19. Matczak M (2016) Does legal interpretation need Paul Grice? Reflections on Lepore and Stone imagination and convention. Polish J Philos 10(1):67–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Matczak M (2018) Why judicial formalism is incompatible with the rule of law. Can J Law Juris prud 31:61–85.  https://doi.org/10.1017/cjlj.2018.3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Moore GE (2004) Principia ethica, Dover philosophical classics. Dover Publications, MineolaGoogle Scholar
  22. Poggi F (2011) Law and conversational implicatures. Int J Semiot Law Rev Int Sémiot Jurid 24:21–40.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11196-010-9201-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Raz J (2009) Between authority and interpretation: on the theory of law and practical reason. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Recanati F (2002) Unarticulated constituents. Linguist Philos 25:299–345CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Recanati F (2010) Truth-conditional pragmatics. Clarendon Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rodríguez-Blanco V (2017) Practical reason in the context of law. In: Duke G, George RP (eds) The Cambridge companion to natural law jurisprudence. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 159–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sbisà M (2017) Implicitness in normative texts. In: Poggi F, Capone A (eds) Pragmatics and law. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp 23–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Searle JR (1978) Literal meaning. Erkenntnis 13:207–224.  https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00160894 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Shapiro SJ (1998) On Hart’s way out. Leg Theory 4:469.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S1352325200001117 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Skoczeń I (2019) Implicatures within legal language, Law and philosophy library. Springer, BaselCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Waismann F (1947) Verifiability (Part II of a symposium). Aristotelian Society, supplementary volume XIX (1945), pp. 119–150. J Symb Log 12:101.  https://doi.org/10.2307/2267243 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Jagiellonian University, Department of Legal Theory, Jagiellonian Centre for Law, Language and PhilosophyCracowPoland

Personalised recommendations