Inter-lingual uncertainty in bilingual and multilingual law

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Title Inter-lingual uncertainty in bilingual and multilingual law
Author Cao, Deborah
Journal Name Journal of Pragmatics
Editor Jacob L Mey
Year Published 2007
Place of publication Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier B.V.
Abstract Uncertainty, linguistic or otherwise, may lead to legal disputes. More complications are likely to arise when more than one language is involved. Inter-lingual uncertainty such as ambiguity, vagueness and other meaning indeterminacy is an area that has not received sufficient attention, in particular with regard to language used in law. This essay focuses on inter-lingual uncertainty with specific reference to legislative texts. It identifies three sources of gap in meaning in bilingual and multilingual laws, and discusses how the courts in Canada, Hong Kong and the European Court of Justice approach and construe meaning in such cases of linguistic uncertainty. It argues that judicial interpretation in the case of linguistic uncertainty is unique and is constrained by established laws, statutory interpretive rules, policy and other considerations. This is particularly the case for bilingual and multilingual law for the reconciliation of legal meanings and harmonisation of laws. The court has to resolve linguistic uncertainties to provide the uniform interpretation that the law requires. This has implications for the study of legal language, legal translation and pragmatics.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Publisher URI
Alternative URI
Volume 39
Issue Number 1
Page from 69
Page to 83
ISSN 0378-2166
Date Accessioned 2007-10-19
Language en_AU
Faculty Faculty of Arts
Subject PRE2009-Jurisprudence and Legal Theory
Publication Type Journal Articles (Refereed Article)
Publication Type Code c1

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