‘Legal Theory Lexicon: Speaker’s Meaning and Sentence Meaning’

“Law students soon learn that the interpretation of legal texts is one of the most important things that lawyers and judges do. In a previous Legal Theory Lexicon entry, a distinction was made between ‘interpretation’ and ‘construction’. Although we could use other words to express the distinction, it expresses an important conceptual difference between two activities: (1) discovering the ‘meaning’ of a legal text, and (2) determining the legal effect given to the text. Thus, statutory interpretation aims to recover the meaning of the words and phrases of a statute in context, whereas statutory construction provides the legal norms that courts will use to apply the text to the facts of a particular case …” (more)

[Lawrence Solum, Legal Theory Blog, 25 October]

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