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Appears in Collections:Law and Philosophy Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: A new skill? Law-text analysis
Author(s): Bennion, Francis
Goodall, Kay
Keywords: statutory interpretation
legal education
Law Great Britain Interpretation and construction
Law Great Britain Study and teaching
Issue Date: Jun-2006
Date Deposited: 20-Feb-2008
Citation: Bennion F & Goodall K (2006) A new skill? Law-text analysis. Web Journal of Current Legal Issues, 3, pp. 1-20.
Abstract: It is our thesis that there are intellectual techniques, at present underdeveloped and neglected, for the proper handling of law texts (those which constitute law or are authoritative texts from which laws can be derived). These techniques we collectively refer to as “law-text analysis”. They grow from disciplines such as statutory interpretation and precedent, but they are more than that. Together they can be defined as the general intellectual skill of identifying the legal issues involved, formulating the relevant rules(s) and reaching the actual or arguable legal result of applying the rule(s) to the facts. These are not mere mechanical rules, but neither are they simply fictions to conceal caprice. They are an undervalued means of ensuring that decision-makers act constitutionally. These techniques are not given the emphasis they should have in legal education and there is a tendency to believe that other skills such as research can replace them. We describe some of the key components of law-text analysis and argue that it should be taught not as a separate subject, crammed into already overcrowded curricula, but as a running topic central to the intellectual discipline of law.
Rights: Published in Web Journal of Current Legal Issues at:; Publisher copyright statement follows: Copyright in all contributions remains with the authors, and the publishers acquire publication rights. This work may be reproduced without the consent of the author, in part or in whole in any manner and in any medium subject only to the two following conditions: (a) no charge shall be made for the copy containing the work or the excerpt, (b) the author's name and place of first publication shall appear on the work or the excerpt.

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