Introduction: The Dynamics of Law and Language in the Interpretation of International Legal Sources

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The linguistic turn in twentieth century’s philosophy, as well as pragmatist trends in contemporary linguistic research, have significantly changed the theory of legal interpretation. The emergence of new streams within social and cultural studies, pointing to the importance of the context of any interpretive event, has also significantly influenced the approaches, methods, and imagery of legal interpretation. This chapter examines how the linguistic turn has in recent years affected the theory and practice of international law and international courts and tribunals, in particular in terms of a departure from the predominantly positivist interpretive tradition. This gradual change is associated with new types of challenges for adjudicators that the intensifying globalization processes in law have created. Besides the judicial activism and the dynamic interpretation style that have turned international adjudicators into writers rather than readers of the law, globalization has also affected the practice of legal interpretation in other ways. This chapter demonstrates how acting across a multiplicity of languages and legal traditions, comparative law, legal translation, and multilingual interpretation have become necessary elements in the interpretive practice of international courts and tribunals.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLanguage and Legal Interpretation in International Law
EditorsAnne Lise Kjaer, Joanna Lam
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication date2022
Pages 1–22
ISBN (Print)9780190855208
ISBN (Electronic)9780190855239
Publication statusPublished - 2022
SeriesOxford Studies in Language and Law

ID: 235546487