Synopses & Reviews
This textbook offers a concise introduction to key concepts in the study of meaning and interpretation taken from linguistics, philosophy and the law. A range of actual cases that involve ordinary words, commonsense categories and problems of classification are explored and clearly explained for readers who want to learn more but lack the legal background.
Word Meaning and Legal Interpretation:
• provides a strong sense of the texture of legal problems
• includes detailed summaries and analyses of cases from common law jurisdictions
• equips the reader for more advanced studies in language and the law, legal theory and legal interpretation
This is an ideal primer for language and law, forensic linguistics and applied linguistics students who wish to explore this fascinating field.
This book introduces ideas about word meaning in the context of law. It analyzes cases from common law jurisdictions that concern the meaning, definition and legal status of individual words, labels and categories. The focus is on the question of how law assigns authority over word meaning in different circumstances and in different domains of law.
About the Author
Christopher Hutton is Chair Professor in the School of English at the University of Hong Kong.
Table of Contents
Note on Conventions
Introduction: Scope and Aims of the Book
PART I: MEANING AND INTERPRETATION
1. Linguistic Meaning
2. Word Meaning and Interpretation in the Law
3. Ordinary Language and Legal Language
PART II: CASE STUDIES
4. Classification and Legislative Intent
5. Characterizing an Event
6. The Classification of Mundane Objects I: Food Items in United Kingdom Tax Law
7. The Classification of Mundane Objects II: Cases from the United States
8. Technological Change and Legal Categories
9. Lawful and Unlawful Searches
10. Colonial Encounters: What is a Sacred Object?
11. Defining Identity I: Job or Profession
12. Defining Identity II: Nation, People and Race
13. Defining Identity III: Transgender Identities
14. Defining Identity IV: Corporate Personhood
PART III: CONCLUDING DISCUSSION
15. Word Meaning and Interpretative Authority