Skills in Legal Interpretation - LW594

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
(version 2)
View Timetable
6 15 (7.5)


LW588/LW614 Public Law 1.





90% of English cases involve a statute. For obvious reasons, it is crucial that you should know how to interpret and apply a statute. Through a series of fascinating examples both from the UK and elsewhere, this module teaches you these skills, which all employers highly value. Skills in interpretation are also very useful when you have to deal with judicial precedents. This module will make a difference on your résumé!


This module appears in:

Contact hours

1 hour lectures and 1 hour seminar per week.

Method of assessment

40% coursework consisting of a 2000 word essay and 60% examination.

Indicative reading

S Glanert and F Girard (eds) Law's Hermeneutics: Other Investigations (London: Routledge, 2016)
H Fenwick, G Phillipson, R Masterman (eds) Judicial Reasoning Under the UK Human Rights Act (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007)
P Goodrich Reading the Law ( London: Blackwell, 1986)
F A R Bennion Understanding Common Law Legislation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001)
A Scalia and BA Garner, Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts (St Paul, MN: Thomson/West, 2012)
S Fish, Is There a Text in This Class? (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1980)
HG Gadamer, Truth and Method trans. J Weinsheimer and DG Marshall, 2nd edn (New York: Continuum, 2004)
R Hunter et al (eds), - Feminist Judgments: From Theory to Practice (Oxford: Hart, 2010)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate a detailed understanding of the established canons of statutory interpretation in the UK and with those prevailing in other countries such as Canada, France and the United States.
2. Critically assess the impact of EU law on statutory interpretation in EU Member States.
3. Demonstrate a detailed understanding of hermeneutics, reader-response theory, and deconstruction as these movements pertain to statutory interpretation in the UK.
4. Demonstrate a critical awareness of the politics of statutory interpretation in the UK.
5. Demonstrate a critical understanding of methods of statutory interpretation to be used in a given situation
6. Critically assess the legal efficiency of statutory interpretation strategies at both the national and supranational level.
7. Demonstrate a critical awareness of, and sensitivity to, the economic, political and/or social implications arising from the application of various methods of statutory interpretation.

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