The purposive method of legal interpretation in practice

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In this study, I discuss the unique Israeli way of statutory
interpretation according to which the court should interpret statutes
in light of the purpose behind their legislation. After a brief survey
of the Israeli legal system, I discuss the place of interpretation in
legal philosophy in general and in the legal philosophy of Aharon
Barak – the most influential figure in Israeli current jurisprudence
– in particular. Finally, I present the judicial criteria for application
of the purposive method of legal interpretation and elucidate how
this method is applied in Israeli courtrooms by means of an
example of the judicial interpretation of section 13(5) of the
Defamation Law presented in the Fuad Chir v. Oded Gil case
(Permission of a civil appeal 1104/07). From the point of view of
comparative law the Israeli way of statutory interpretation is
interesting as in comparison to the other methods of statutes
interpretation applied in the Western family of legal systems, it is
an extremely flexible method of statutes interpretation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-54
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Law, Language and Discourse
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013


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