Legislation & Statutory Interpretation

Law School Description

This course examines the interrelationship between the legislative and judicial branches of government in creating and interpreting laws and prepares students to work with complex statutory schemes.  In modern times, legislatures have taken a larger role in creating law through the enactment of statutes, and this has resulted in a relative shrinking of purely judge-made common law.  As legislatures increasingly play the role of lawmakers, lawyers and judges become more engaged as interpreters of statutes and administrative regulations.  But because statutory interpretation sometimes equates to law creation, the respective role of courts and legislatures in the law-making process has become less well defined and more controversial. This class explores the synergies and tensions between law “making” and law “interpreting” and prepares students to work in a legal environment dominated by statutory and regulatory sources of law.  Along the way, it covers the federal and Hawai‘i law-making processes, mechanisms of direct democracy, theories of the legislative process, techniques of legislative and quasi-legislative drafting, theories and doctrines of statutory interpretation, and the many approaches to statutory interpretation employed by lawyers and judges in their roles as advisors, advocates, and decision makers.Course Learning Objectives By the end of the course, students should have: Gained a basic understanding of the federal and Hawai‘i legislative processes; Gained a basic understanding of the leading theories of the legislative process, and of how those theories inform different approaches to statutory interpretation; Gained an understanding of the major methods and theories of statutory interpretation, including formalism, purposivism, the new textualism, and legal pragmatism, and be able to deploy these theories in predictive and normative analysis; Improved their skills in researching federal and Hawai‘i legislative history; Improved their ability to apply statutory interpretation methods and doctrines in legal analysis; and Developed basic skills in legislative drafting, and, in the process, reinforce principles of English for Legal Purposes covered in Legal Practice I and II.

Uh Mānoa Catalog Description

The interrelationship between the legislative and judicial branches of government is explored through a review of Federal and Hawai`i law-making processes, direct democracy, legislative drafting, and theories of the legislative process and statutory interpretation.

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