Purposive Interpretation in Law by Aharon Barak
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Purposive Interpretation in Law
By Aharon Barak

Purposive Interpretation in Law

By (author) See other recent books by Aharon Barak
Translated by Sari Bashi See other recent books by Sari Bashi
Format: Paperback

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Purposive Interpretation in Law by Aharon Barak

Book 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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Book Details

ISBN: 9780691133744
ISBN-10: 0691133743
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x 27mm)
Pages: 448
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 27-Aug-2007
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...


Books By Author Aharon Barak

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Whether examining election outcomes, the legal status of terrorism suspects, or if (or how) people can be sentenced to death, a judge assumes a role that raises some of the contentious political issues of our day. This title sets forth a vision of the role of the judge.

» View all books by Aharon Barak

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Author Biography - Aharon Barak

Aharon Barak was president of the Supreme Court of Israel until his retirement in 2006. He is the author of Judicial Discretion, The Judge in a Democracy, numerous articles in English-language law journals, and several books in Hebrew. He is the winner of the 2006 Gruber Justice Prize from the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation. He is the author of "Judicial Discretion" (Yale), numerous articles in English-language law journals, and several books in Hebrew.

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