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  • Print publication year: 2021
  • Online publication date: December 2020

2 - Statutory Interpretation as Problem Solving


For many readers the paradigm of argumentation in a legal setting is that of the trial, an instance of the type of dialogue called the persuasion dialogue or critical discussion in the argumentation literature (van Eemeren and Grootendorst, 1992; Walton, 1999; Prakken, 2009). This setting is an adversarial one. For example, in a criminal case the prosecution’s role is not only to support its claim that the defendant committed the crime by bringing forward evidence, but also to attack the arguments of the other side, defend its own arguments against these attacks, and prove its own claim to the standard required, that of beyond reasonable doubt in the common law system. With this paradigm in mind, it is easy to jump to the generalization that legal argumentation is a kind of persuasion dialogue in which each side is trying to persuade the trier of fact to accept its view of the matter (Feteris, 1999, 171–174; Kloosterhuis, 2013).

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