Law is what is read, not what is written. Why? Because laws are formed to save humanity and provide you freedom. So they are dependent on how they are interpreted every time in a unique context.
Have you ever wondered how a legal supervisor settles a case or a dispute? What makes him better able to tackle such complex matters of legal concern? Honestly, it is the power of legal interpretation. And there is a proper framework to interpret the law by putting the rules in the right hierarchy each time.
Justice Scalia names the textual analysis “a holistic endeavor”.
Isn’t it an intriguing concept? To know what it is? How is it practiced, or what are the facts associated with it? Let’s talk more about it.
What does legal interpretation mean?
Legal interpretation stands in the cue of the most valuable tools of legal literacy. Its entire concept revolves around the ability to find reason or rules with an intention to make them workable in a specific situation, condition, or circumstance. The primary purpose of the entire legal action remains to impart justice to the plaintiff or to the defendant whosoever is proved lawfully sound and innocent.
Imagine the situation where the law says,
“killing or harming wildlife or any animal, including stray and domestic animals, is a punishable offense.”
The literal meaning of this statement is obvious and clearly prohibits one from this act of cruelty. But what if someone does this in a situation where that animal was a serious threat to his own well-being?
Keeping this situation in view, the law might be amended as follows.
“killing or harming wildlife or any animal, including stray and domestic animals, is a punishable offense, but this does not apply to a person under threat.”
Similarly, what if someone is stuck on an island with no food and needs to kill an animal to survive? In that case, the same amendment will be applicable. However, the possibility of innumerable amendments still stays there.
Due to this uncertainty, laws are stated in general terms. Thus, their interpretation relies on the judge or the tribunal, who is made responsible for fretting a legal matter of concern.
However, the process is not as easy as it appears to be. It is because despite having a general context, laws are sometimes ‘incurably incomplete’.
One can obviously interpret the text in a few different contexts only. This certainly means that legal interpretation or legislative interpretation, or statutory interpretation is a complex exercise of the brain that requires a great deal of legal literacy. Also, the responsible individual must possess a profound knowledge of the legal hierarchy of a particular legal text. After all, the judgment of a judge may become a precedent for interpreting particular legislation for future cases.
Therefore, one cannot make such interpretations based on his personal intelligence, thoughts, or opinion. The judgment, in that case, will be doubted for its legal validity.
How do courts interpret the law for non-English speaking citizens?
In regions where there is a high number of non-English speaking residents, the US judicial system promises fair treatment for all.
To ensure this, non-English speaking residents are provided with an interpreter and a translator throughout their court proceedings.
The interpreter translates the text from source to the target language verbally while the translator manages this language conversion for paperwork or other such written requirements.
Now you must be thinking about the validity of an interpreter’s interpretation. Yes, the possibility of bribery is there. Yes, he might provide us with a biased interpretation. Well, there is a foolproof process for handling this matter, and the judiciary never takes it for granted.
To begin, you must first know that court Interpreters are of two types. Certified interpreters are very well aware of the matters of court. They are hired after clearing a bilingual oral interpreting test, while the registered interpreters are hired only after earning an oral English proficiency test.
The plaintiff or the defendant are not allowed to use family or friends as their interpreters even if there is no certified or registered interpreter of their language available.
In that case, only the judge is allowed to hire some non-registered interpreter who has some basic experience of fulfilling such a critical responsibility already.
Besides that, for further assurance or validation, the interpreter is only eligible for this job if he has command over the court and colloquial terms and conversational phrases.
Non-English Speakers are also allowed to complain in case of any misinterpretation or for unsatisfactory procedures. A vast number of interpreters are provided to the courts as the US has an increasing number of Non-English Speakers than before.
These rules and regulations clearly make it easier for courts to interpret cases for fair decisions.
Did you know!
There are a number of interesting facts about the process of legal interpretation. Let us share the most amazing ones with you.
- Any individual can challenge a legal interpretation of a law claiming that there is some sort of exception in his case or that law has a limited scope and does not apply to his situation.
- A number of laws have two or more legally acceptable meanings. If someone wishes to settle a case or a dispute, he must first choose one of them as the basis of his argument.
- Legal interpretation is carried out only when the general text of the law fails to fit or apply to a situation under consideration.
- Legal interpretation serves as a reliable means of making our laws and rules flexible and adaptable to the changes in our surroundings.
All these insights reflect on the importance of legal interpretation as an unparalleled tool of our judicial system where reasoning is the key. The absence of this process can indeed lead to a haphazard pressurizing our judicial system to collapse instantly.
Thereby, it is proper to conclude that legal interpretation is a core pillar of our system that ensures justice.
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