Category Archives: Interpretation

Bill Watson, ‘Literalism in Statutory Interpretation: What Is It and What Is Wrong with It?’

“In two recent decisions – Bostock v Clayton County and Niz-Chavez v Garland – a majority of the Supreme Court claimed to apply a textualist approach to statutory interpretation, and a dissent charged the majority with applying ‘literalism’ instead. But what is literalism and what, if anything, is wrong with it? This Essay borrows a […]

Evan Zoldan, ‘Searching for Law in All the Wrong Places’

ABSTRACT In ‘The Corpus and the Critics’, Lee and Mouritsen reaffirm their commitment to using corpus linguistics tools in order to interpret legal language. They also respond to critics of their enterprise, both by restating some of their previous positions and also by making some important modifications in light of this criticism. Some of Lee […]

‘“Arbitrary and irrational” clause corrected through interpretation’

“When faced with a clear and unambiguous rent review formula that led to arbitrary and irrational results the Court of Appeal held that the formula was a clear mistake which could be corrected through interpretation …” (more) [Po-Siann Goh, Allen and Overy – Compact Contract, 11 July]

‘Legal Interpretation’

“Legal interpretation involves scrutinizing legal texts such as the texts of statutes, constitutions, contracts, and wills. This chapter introduces the foundational question of what legal interpretation, by its nature, seeks – and competing answers to that question. It goes on to canvas leading substantive theories of legal interpretation and examines in greater depth a few […]

Tal Kastner, ‘Systemic Risk of Contract’

ABSTRACT Complexity and uncertainty define our world, now more than ever. Scholars and practitioners celebrate modular contract design as an especially effective tool to manage these challenges. Modularity divides complex structures into relatively discrete, independent components with simple connections. The benefits of this fundamental drafting approach are intuitive. Lawyers divide contracts into sections and provisions […]

‘Interpretation of alleged inconsistencies between bespoke terms and standard forms’

“Last month, the Court of Appeal handed down its judgment in Septo Trading Inc v Tintrade Ltd. While the case does not change the law, it provides a helpful outline as to the approach to be taken to interpreting alleged inconsistencies between bespoke terms and the terms of standard forms within a given contract. The […]

‘Bacardi guaranteed or indemnified to breeze through contractual interpretation’

“Once again the court looks at the vexed question of the distinction between a guarantee and an indemnity. The main dispute arose under a cost-sharing agreement and was referred to arbitration. This was the trial of a number preliminary issues about the surety obligations under the agreement. I am going to look just one of […]

Deborah Widiss, ‘Proving Discrimination by the Text’

ABSTRACT Employment discrimination laws make the ‘simple but momentous’ declaration that it is illegal to deny employment on the basis of race, sex, religion, or other key aspects of identity. But when employees who have been treated unfairly turn to the courts for relief, courts rarely assess whether their claims meet the statutory standard. Instead, […]

Linford and Nelson, ‘Trademark Fame and Corpus Linguistics’

ABSTRACT Trademark law recognizes and embraces an inherent homonymy in commercial communication: The same word can mean different things in different commercial contexts. Thus, legal protection might extend to two or more owners who use the same symbol (like Delta) to indicate different sources of disparate goods or services (airlines, faucets). Generally, only those uses […]

‘Case Comment: Burnett or Grant v International Insurance Company of Hanover Limited [2021] UKSC 12′

“In this post, Harriet Munro and Rowena Williams, members of the insurance disputes team at CMS, discuss the decision of the UK Supreme Court in the matter Burnett or Grant v International Insurance Company of Hanover Limited [2021] UKSC 12, which concerns the application of a ‘deliberate acts’ exclusion in insurance policies. This action was […]