Pragmatics in Legal Interpretation

Authored by: Alan Durant , Janny H. C. Leung

The Routledge Handbook of Pragmatics

Print publication date:  January  2017
Online publication date:  January  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415531412
eBook ISBN: 9781315668925
Adobe ISBN:


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From doctor–patient interaction and service encounters through to job interviews, a pragmatic dimension contributes to the meaning of all semiotic practices and is not confined to everyday conversation. This chapter considers how the pragmatic dimension of meaning should be understood in relation to the language of law in particular. We outline a number of factors which complicate the interpretation of legal texts; we describe how interpretation in law has treated indirect and implied meaning; and we ask how far further dialogue between linguistic pragmatics and law is likely to enrich the thinking and practice of either field.

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