Adjudication and Interpretation

Garrett Barden and Tim Murphy

in Law and Justice in Community

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780199592685
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595653 | DOI:
Adjudication and Interpretation

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Adjudication is the effort to resolve a dispute by determining, amid the clamour of rival claims, what is just. This chapter argues that the adjudicative question is always of this form: ‘In the case now being considered, what is due to whom?’ In adjudication, it is sometimes possible to discover what is intrinsically and in that sense naturally just, but sometimes what is just must be established by convention. The chapter also discusses evidence and impartiality and argues that audi alteram partem and nemo iudex in causa sua are intrinsic to the nature of adjudicative investigation. An interpretation is a text that expresses the interpreter's understanding of another text and the chapter addresses the processes of interpretation and reasonable judgement, which is not infallibility. The chapter brings together various aspects of the discussion by analysing the definition of a ‘refugee’ under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention.

Keywords: adjudication; adjudicative question; procedural justice; evidence; impartiality; interpretation; understanding; knowing; reasonable judgement; infallibility; refugee

Chapter.  20643 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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