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Purposive Interpretation in Law

Purposive Interpretation in Law

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Description
This book presents a comprehensive theory of legal interpretation, by a leading judge and legal theorist. Currently, legal philosophers and jurists apply different theories of interpretation to constitutions, statutes, rules, wills, and contracts. Aharon Barak argues that an alternative approach—purposive interpretation—allows jurists and scholars to approach all legal texts in a similar manner while remaining sensitive to the important differences. Moreover, regardless of whether purposive interpretation amounts to a unifying theory, it would still be superior to other methods of interpretation in tackling each kind of text separately.
Barak explains purposive interpretation as follows: All legal interpretation must start by establishing a range of semantic meanings for a given text, from which the legal meaning is then drawn. In purposive interpretation, the text's "purpose" is the criterion for establishing which of the semantic meanings yields the legal meaning. Establishing the ultimate purpose—and thus the legal meaning depends on the relationship between the subjective and objective purposes; that is, between the original intent of the text's author and the intent of a reasonable author and of the legal system at the time of interpretation. This is easy to establish when the subjective and objective purposes coincide. But when they don't, the relative weight given to each purpose depends on the nature of the text. For example, subjective purpose is given substantial weight in interpreting a will; objective purpose, in interpreting a constitution.
Barak develops this theory with masterful scholarship and close attention to its practical application. Throughout, he contrasts his approach with that of textualists and neotextualists such as Antonin Scalia, pragmatists such as Richard Posner, and legal philosophers such as Ronald Dworkin. This book represents a profoundly important contribution to legal scholarship and a major alternative to interpretive approaches advanced by other leading figures in the judicial world
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Contents
Part One - Interpretation
Chapter 1 - What Is Legal Interpretation?

1.    Definition of Legal Interpretation
2.    The Limits of Interpretation
3.    Basic Problems in Interpretation
4.    Systems of Interpretation in Law
5.    Advantages and Disadvantages of Interpretive Rules
6.    The Status and Sources of Interpretive Rules
7.    Laws of Interpretation, Jurisprudence, and General Hermeneutics
Chapter 2 - Non-Interpretive Doctrines
1.    The Essence of Non-Interpretive Doctrines
2.    Filling in a Gap in a Legal Text
3.    Resolving Contradictions Normatively
4.    Correcting Mistakes in the Language of a Text
5.    Deviating from the Language of the Text to Avoid Absurdity
6.    CyPres Performance
7.    From Interpretive Theory to Purposive Interpretation
Part Two - Purposive Interpretation
Chapter 3 - The Essence of Purposive Interpretation

1.    "Purposive Interpretation3': Terminology
2.    Fundamentals of Purposive Interpretation
Chapter 4 - The Semantic Component of Purposive Interpretation

1.    Interpretive Theory and Semantic Theory
2.    Types of Language
3.    Canons of Interpretation
Chapter 5 - The Purposive Component of Purposive Interpretation
1.    The Essence of Purpose
2.    Multiple Purposes
Chapter 6 - Subjective Purpose: Authorial Intent
1.    The Essence of Subjective Purpose
2.    Abstract Purpose and Concrete Purpose
3.    Subjective Purpose and the Problem of Multiple Authors
4.    Sources of Subjective Purpose
5.    Subjective Purpose as a Presumption about the Text's Purpose
Chapter 7 - Objective Purpose: Intent of the Reasonable Author; Intent of the System
1.    The Essence of Objective Purpose
2.    Sources of Objective Purpose: Internal and External
3.    Presumptions of Objective Purpose
4.    Contradictions between Purposive Presumptions
Chapter 8 - The Purposive Component: Ultimate Purpose
1.    The Weight of Subjective and Objective Purpose in Determining Ultimate Purpose
2.    Type of Text: Will, Contract, Statute, and Constitution
3.    Type of Text: The Effect of a Text's Age on Its Ultimate Purpose
4.    Type of Text: Distinguishing Texts by Scope of Issues Regulated
5.    Type of Text: Changes in Regime Character and Society's Fundamental Assumptions
6.    Type of Text: Texts Based on Rules and Texts Based on Standards
7.    Type of Text: Content of the Provision
8.    The Effect of Type of Text on Ultimate Purpose
9.    Formulating Ultimate Purpose
Chapter 9 - Discretion as a Component in Purposive Interpretation
1.    The Essence of Judicial Discretion
2.    Situations of Judicial Discretion
Chapter 10 - The Theoretical Basis for Purposive Interpretation
1.    The Need to Justify a System of Interpretation
2.    Social Support for Purposive Interpretation
3.    Jurisprudential Support for Purposive Interpretation
4.    Hermeneutic Considerations in Favor of Purposive Interpretation
5.    Constitutional Considerations in Favor of Purposive Interpretation
Chapter 11 - Purposive Interpretation and Its Critique of Other Systems of Interpretation
1.    Purposive Interpretation and Subjective Systems of Interpretation
2.    Purposive Interpretation and Objective Systems of Interpretation:
       Textualism, "Old" and "New"
3.    Purposive Interpretation and Pragmatism
4.    Purposive Interpretation and Dworkin's System of Interpretation
5.    Purposive Interpretation and Free Interpretation
6.    Critique of Purposive Interpretation and Some Responses
Part Three - Interpretation In Law
Chapter 12 - The Interpretation of Wills

1.    The Uniqueness of a Will and How It Affects Interpretation
2.    The Language of a Will
3.    The Purpose of a Will
Chapter 13 - The Interpretation of Contracts
1.    The Uniqueness of a Contract and How It Affects Interpretation
2.    Contract Theory and Contractual Interpretation
3.    The Purpose of a Contract
4.    The Subjective Purpose of a Contract
5.    Sources of Subjective Purpose
6.    The Objective Purpose of a Contract
7.    Presumptions for Identifying Objective Purpose
8.    The Ultimate Purpose of a Contract
Chapter 14 - Statutory Interpretation
1.    The Uniqueness of a Statute and How It Affects Interpretation
2.    The Subjective Purpose of a Statute
3.    Subjective Purpose Learned from the Language of a Statute
4.    Subjective Purpose Learned from Sources External to the Statute: Legislative History
5.    The Objective Purpose of a Statute
6.    Sources of Objective Purpose
7.    Presumptions of Objective Purpose
8.    The Ultimate Purpose of a Statute
Chapter 15 - Constitutional Interpretation
1.    The Uniqueness of a Constitution and How It Affects Interpretation
2.    The Language of a Constitution
3.    The Subjective Purpose of a Constitution
4.    The Objective Purpose of a Constitution
5.    Sources of Objective Purpose
6.    The Ultimate Purpose of a Constitution
Appendix 1. The Structure of Legal Interpretation
Appendix 2. Purposive Interpretation
Appendix 3. Weighting Subjective and Objective Purposes
Index
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Author Details
Aharon Barak
is President of the Supreme Court of Israel. He is the author of Judicial Discretion (Yale), numerous articles in English-language law journals, and several books in Hebrew.
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