Dr Karolina Gmerek
University of Szczecin
Published: Number 2(23)/2020, pp. 135-138.
Number of downloads: 9
English abstract: Symbolic provisions of law lack effectiveness in the classic sense; moreover, the legislature using this instrument either accepts this lack of effectiveness or even intends it. Such provisions are adopted for the realization of either secret political goals or explicit goals – not by enforcing certain behaviours, but rather by shaping appropriate attitudes in the society. The aim of the study is to analyse the circumstances that may lead to the adoption of symbolic legal instruments. To implement this task, two examples from Polish legislation were selected, and then the circumstances of their adoption were analysed. In this way, several factors have been identified that may justify the fact that the legislature sought to establish: (1) symbolic provisions and (2) symbolic provisions intended primarily to attain secret political goals.
Keywords: symbolic law, law-making, effectiveness of law, law and politics
Published: Number 2(23)/2020, pp. 121-134.
Number of downloads: 15
English abstract: Interpretative doubts in the application of law are usually born of discrepancies between the statutory language and the non-linguistic reality. Therefore, they pose the problem of categorization. The theory of law and legal practice have for centuries been dominated by the classical theory of categorization, according to which conceptual categories can be described by a set of sufficient and necessary features. In the 1970s, an American researcher Eleanor Rosch conducted a series of psychological experiments that led her to question the classical theory and lay the foundations for an alternative one, known as the prototype theory. According to this approach, conceptual categories are organized around the most typical exemplars (prototypes), and membership of a category is measured by similarity to the prototype. Some of the consequences of such view are that category membership is a gradable feature and that the borderlines of categories are fuzzy. The article presents an outline of the prototype theory in the version used in cognitive linguistics. Its usefulness for the theory and practice of statutory interpretation is tested on the basis of the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union regarding the concept of beer. In this judgment, the CJEU refused to define the concept of beer by setting requirements as to its raw material composition and ruled that beer is a product that has organoleptic characteristics of beer. This definition on the basis of classical theory appears to be tautological, however, it finds theoretical justification in the prototype theory. In conclusions, the author indicates research problems that must be taken up in order for the prototype theory to be reliably used in jurisprudence.
Keywords: categorization, semantics, prototype theory, statutory interpretation
Published: Number 2(23)/2020, pp. 109-120.
Number of downloads: 7
English abstract: The article presents and analyses a certain theory of values and their role in legal interpretation. The article calls it a ‘componential’ theory of values. According to the theory, values in law create structures based on global assessments: comprehensive axiological judgements that consider all the relevant values and degrees of their realization. The basic theorem of the theory is the theorem on isomorphy between the global assessment and the content of the legal norm. This ‘componential’ theory is the basis of the normative model of legal interpretation. According to this model, the interpreter should reconstruct the global assessment and choose the one possible result of interpretation – the one norm of conduct – which will be the most consistent with this judgement. In order to reconstruct the aforementioned global assessment, the interpreter should consider the legal text, case law and legal literature, legislative materials and interpretative presumption.
The article reconstructs the philosophical presumptions behind the aforementioned theory and model. The article points out that the fundamental value behind the normative model is the intersubjectivity of legal interpretation as an element of the rule of law. The article also indicates that the theory and model described above are based on legal positivism, but with significant connections with legal hermeneutics, Dworkin’s theory of law, and argumentative approaches to law. In addition, the theory seems to presume weak commensurability of values.
Keywords: legal interpretation, theory of law, philosophy of law, axiology, ‘componential’ theory of values
Published: Number 2(23)/2020, pp. 96-108.
Number of downloads: 17
English abstract: The principle of nullum crimen sine lege is nowadays recognized as the standard of the rule of law. This doctrine prohibits the use of analogies and extensive interpretation of legal provisions to the disadvantage of the perpetrator. The starting point of these considerations is that texts of criminal provisions vary in nature. Therefore a question should be asked about the nature of these prohibitions in relation to various provisions. A separate problem is to distinguish inference by analogy from legal interpretation. The presented considerations are aimed at answering the question whether the nullum crimen sine lege principle allows determining the linguistic limits for the interpretation of criminal law. The analyses are illustrated by examples from the field of criminal case law. The article aims to provide reflection on the acceptable limits of interpretation of criminal law, if such limits can be defined. The considerations end with general conclusions.
Keywords: nullum crimen sine lege, limits of legal interpretation, legal interpretation, criminal law, theory of law
Published: Number 2(23)/2020, pp. 81-95.
Number of downloads: 21
English abstract: The aim of the study is to identify those aspects of legal interpretation which may strengthen its practical dimension. The operative interpretation, distinguished in the theory of law, needs to be developed, inter alia, in order to strengthen the legal discourse as a whole and to contribute to better communication and deeper integration between dogmatic and theoretical legal studies. As a result, the theory of interpretation itself would become more complete. Three most important aspects of giving a practical dimension to various interpretive approaches are analysed in the paper. The first of them is the use of the so-called decision-making character of the operative interpretation, when such interpretation is made in connection with the findings of fact, which limits its scope, while at the same time broadening the number of the established normative bases for decisions, and also in the context of the subsequently-formulated justification of the interpretative decision. The second one is its validation-derivative approach, indicating the phases of operative interpretation, the multiplicity of carriers of law taken into account and the distinction of roles played at particular phases by the each type of rules of interpretation. Finally, the third aspect points to the need to include operative interpretation in the comparative approach, the main determinant of which are the differences of interpretation in particular branches of law.
Keywords: operative legal interpretation, decision-making character of interpretation, validation-derivative approach, comparative approach
Published: Number 2(23)/2020, pp. 66-80.
Number of downloads: 18
English abstract: The aim of this paper is to show the derivative concept of legal interpretation from the point of view of the structure of limits of the juridical power. This structure includes the politico-legal culture, the legal text, the juridical culture, and personal factors, such as ethical and aesthetic judgements.
These days, the derivative concept is the most influential Polish theory of legal interpretation. According to this concept the process of interpreting the law is a kind of a game between the legal text and extratextual factors, which are treated as extratextual limits of juridical power. On the one hand, the legal text does not determine the full meaning of the law, although it has great importance for it. On the other hand, the derivative concept precisely identifies certain others factors that are relevant for the content of law.
Keywords: derivative concept of legal interpretation, limits of juristic power, legal text
Published: Number 2(23)/2020, pp. 49-65.
Number of downloads: 25
English abstract: The purpose of this text is to present an outline of the dialogical concept of legal interpretation. It involves the need to establish the relationship between the legislature and courts. In the normative dimension, this concept includes an analysis of assumptions about the mutual roles of the legislature and courts in determining the substance of the law. In the descriptive dimension, the authors present tools that enable communication between the legislature and courts in order to improve the interpretation process. The authors describe the requirements for communication between courts and the legislature, and refer to existing solutions in Poland and the United States. In the text the importance of this issue is only signaled, but the authors believe that it is worth further research.
Keywords: legal interpretation, strategies of interpretation, communication theory of legal interpretation
Published: Number 2(23)/2020, pp. 35-48.
Number of downloads: 15
English abstract: Does legal interpretation have borders? Are these borders conventionally established? What makes the given ‘legal reasons’, set forth by certain normative theories of legal interpretation, acceptable in legal discourse (even if the reasons are wrong)? In the present paper, we argue that the notion of the borders of legal interpretation is linked to the general notion of the borders of law. We indicate the scope of ‘interpretive theoretical disagreements’ in law, as discussed by certain new, ‘institutional’ versions of legal positivism. Interpretive borders are not fully determined by the given ‘institutional’ framework. In our view, these borders are also more generally determined inter alia by certain truistic (platitudinous) beliefs related to law and interpretation.
Keywords: interpretive methodology, limits of legal interpretation, legal positivism, second-order rules of legal interpretation, normative theories of legal interpretation
Published: Number 2(23)/2020, pp. 19-34.
Number of downloads: 19
English abstract: The duty to provide justification for claims is the realization of the postulate of criticism in the academia. Decisions regarding legal interpretation (regardless of whether they are formulated in the process of applying the law or outside this process) are made in the form of claims about a binding legal norm with a certain content. Validation of such claims requires their justification, just like in the academia. And in the academia, a claim remains theoretical until someone presents an inter-subjectively verified justification for it. The aim of this article is precisely that: to indicate the necessity to justify interpretive claims (both partial and final) in the process of interpretation. As a starting point in the process of demonstrating the need to formulate such a justification, we choose the derivative conception of legal interpretation, which provides for the duty to justify interpretive claims for methodological reasons (and which is an intrinsic element of the content of legal directives in this conception, at least implicitly). We present and discuss the types of justifications for interpretive claims and their variants (weak and strong). Furthermore, we analyse the difference between justifying ordinary and interpretive claims. Finally, we also identify the consequences of failure to provide such justifications.
Keywords: justification of interpretive claim, legal interpretation, postulate of criticism
Published: Number 2(23)/2020, pp. 7-18.
Number of downloads: 28
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