The role of contextual meaning in judicial interpretation

Crowe, Jonathan (2013) The role of contextual meaning in judicial interpretation. Federal Law Review, 41 3: 417-442.

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Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Author Crowe, Jonathan
Title The role of contextual meaning in judicial interpretation
Journal name Federal Law Review
ISSN 0067-205X
Publication date 2013
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status
Volume 41
Issue 3
Start page 417
End page 442
Total pages 26
Editor Matthew Zagor
Amelia Simpson
Joshua Neoh
Pauline Thai
Place of publication Acton, ACT, Australia
Publisher Faculty of Law, Australian National University
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Subject C1
180122 Legal Theory, Jurisprudence and Legal Interpretation
Formatted abstract
This article examines the relevance to judicial interpretation of contextual meaning: the meaning legal texts hold when considered in full light of their social and moral context. I argue first that, as a descriptive matter, contextual meaning is necessarily prior to any more restricted form of textual interpretation; that is, the contextual meaning of a legal text is its ordinary meaning. I then contend that, as a normative matter, judges should presumptively apply ordinary or contextual meaning when construing legal materials. The remainder of the article explores the nature and limitations of the contextualist model of judicial practice. The possibility of conflicts between contextual factors at different levels of abstraction makes it necessary to distinguish narrow and wide versions of the contextualist methodology. I argue that wide contextualism offers the best overall account of judicial interpretation. I conclude by examining the practical and normative limitations of this model.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
TC Beirne School of Law Publications
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Created: Wed, 08 Jan 2014, 15:08:11 EST by Carmen Buttery on behalf of T.C. Beirne School of Law