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Vol 21 No 9 Sept/Oct 2016

Book of the Month

Cover of Goode on Commercial Law

Goode on Commercial Law

Edited by: Ewan McKendrick
Price: £170.00

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The Nature and Value of Vagueness in the Law

ISBN13: 9781849466066
To be Published: July 2017
Publisher: Hart Publishing
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £63.00

Lawmaking is - paradigmatically - a type of speech act: people make law by saying things. It is natural to think, therefore, that the content of the law is determined by what lawmakers communicate. However, it is sometimes vague what content they communicate, and even when it is clear, the content itself is sometimes vague.

In this monograph, Hrafn Asgeirsson examines the nature and consequences of these two linguistic sources of indeterminacy in the law. The aim is to give plausible answers to three related questions: In virtue of what is the law vague? What might be good about vague law? How should courts resolve cases of vagueness? Asgeirsson argues that vagueness in the law is sometimes a good thing, although its value should not be overestimated.

He also proposes a strategy for resolving borderline cases, arguing that textualism and intentionalism - two leading theories of legal interpretation - in a significant sense often complement rather than compete with each other.