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6.1 Introduction

We have now looked at how formal rules are formulated, and at some of the strategies that may be deployed when interpreting them. In this part we will take this one step further and explore in more detail something that we have already touched on and thought about – the application of rules. This is a really important thing to understand, since rules are designed to regulate conduct, and have to be applied to instances of the conduct with which they are concerned.

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5.3 Summary of Part D

After studying Part D you should be able to:

  • explain the difficulties of interpreting written statements;

  • explain what is meant by indeterminacy;

  • explain what is meant by interpretive strategies;

  • describe the literal approach to interpretation;

  • describe the approach to interpretation which seeks to avoid absurdity;

  • describe the approach to interpretation which looks t
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2.3 Summary of Part A

In Part A you have learned:

  • that the English legal system is a common law system;

  • that this means that much of the law has been developed over time by the courts;

  • how to develop your use of language.

2.2 Use of language

Use of language is extremely important in law. As a law student it is important that you use language in an accurate way. The rest of Part A of this unit will therefore consider the importance of language in law.

Box 1 Use of language

By now you will have had a few opportunities to look up the
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2.1 The history of the common law

Prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, there was no unitary, national legal system. Before 1066 the English legal system involved a mass of oral customary rules, which varied according to region. The law of the Jutes in the south of England, for example, was different from that of the Mercians in the middle of the country (see map below). Each county had its own local court dispensing its own justice in accordance with local customs that varied from community to commun
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