Language, Meaning and the Law offers an accessible, critical guide to debates about linguistic meaning and interpretation in relation to legal language. Law is an ideal domain for considering fundamental questions relating to how we assign meanings to words, understand and comment on texts, and deal with socially and ideologically significant questions of interpretation. The book argues that theoretical issues of concern to linguists, philosophers, literary theorists and others are illuminated by the demands of the legal context, since law is driven by the need for practical solutions and for determinate outcomes based on explicit reasoning. Topics covered include: the relationship of linguistics to legal theory, indeterminacy and statutory interpretation, the theory and practice of using dictionaries in law, defamation and language in the public sphere, and the distinction between perjury and deception. This book does not assume specialist knowledge of the field, and is designed as a self-contained, advanced introduction to a fascinating area of study. The reader will gain an overall insight into issues and debates about meaning and interpretation, as well as an understanding of how these questions are shaped by the legal context.
Language, Meaning and the Law
Edinburgh University Press