Arguments of statutory interpretation and argumentation schemes

Fabrizio Macagno, Douglas Walton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper it is shown how certain defeasible argumentation schemes can be used to represent the logical structure of the most common types of argument used for statutory interpretation both in civil and common law. The method is based on an argumentation structure in which the conclusion, namely, the meaning attributed to a legal source, is modeled as a claim that needs that is be supported by pro and con defeasible arguments. The defeasible nature of each scheme is shown by means of critical questions, which identify the default conditions for the accepting interpretative arguments and provide a method for evaluating a given argument as weak or strong.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47–83
Number of pages37
JournalInternational Journal of Legal Discourse
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • argumentation schemes
  • arguments
  • defeasible reasoning
  • pragmatics
  • statutory interpretation


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