Justice and the Ethics of Legal Interpretation addresses how it is that legal texts -laws, statutes and regulations – can, and do have meaning. Conventionally, legal decisions are justified with reference to language. But since language is always open to interpretation, and so cannot fully justify any legal decision, there is a responsibility that is inherent in legal interpretation itself. In this book, Susanna Lindroos-Hovinheimo uncovers and analyses this responsibility – which, she argues, is not limited by the text that is being interpreted (and through its mediation, by the legal system). It is not simply a responsibility to read well; it implies a responsibility for the effects of the interpretation in a particular situation and with regard to those whose case is being decided. Ultimately, it is a responsibility to do justice. It is these two aspects of responsibility that are conceptualised here as the two key dimensions of the ethics of legal interpretation: the textual and the situational. Drawing on the work of Wittgenstein, Gadamer, Derrida and Levinas, Justice and the Ethics of Legal Interpretation offers a fresh approach to long-standing questions about language and meaning in law. It will be of enormous value to those with interests in jurisprudence and legal theory.
Introduction: Postsemantic Interpretation; One: Outlining The Problems of Legal Interpretation; Two: The Shared Nature of Language; Three: Derrida on Language and Meaning; Four: Reading The Law – Hermeneutics and Deconstruction; Five: The Ethics of Language; Six: Justice; Conclusions