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The 49th Lecture of Comparative Law and Sociology of Law Held Successfully

On October 12th, 2015, comparative law and sociology of law series lecture was held successfully in Koguan Building of Peking University Law School. Previous chair professor of Taiwan Shih Hsin University professor Huang Weixing was invited to give a speech themed “What Is Legal Interpretation: Reflection on Traditional Method of Legal Interpretation”. The lecture was hosted by Professor Zhang Qi from Peking University Law School, organized by comparative law and sociology of law research institution mainly, Peking University Law School Graduate Students’ Union jointly.

Professor Huang Weixing is grandson of Mr. Yan Fu, who was the old headmaster of Peking University. Therefore, before the lecture, Professor Huang said he felt honored to give the speech in Peking University, which made him feel like home. At the beginning of the lecture, Mr. Huang made a point that the purpose of the lecture is to communicate. Besides, about traditional method of legal interpretation, Mr. Huang pointed out that these methods were influenced by the point of natural science, yet were challenged by recent philosophy. Therefore, the lecture was themed reflection on traditional method of legal interpretation.

In Professor Huang’s opinion, the features of traditional method of legal interpretation are as following: Firstly, they believe that there is a “method” in legal interpretation, which will lead to the result. Secondly, there are many different methods. Lastly, there is an order in these methods.

On these issues, Mr. Huang pointed out that, the above-mentioned discussions were useless in the process of propelling legal interpretation. From Mr. Huang’s point of view, these discussions had divided legal interpretation into different parts, however, legal interpretation should be considered as a whole. Besides, these discussions presupposed a precondition that objective meaning didn’t exist in law, yet so-called objective meaning is subjective.

According to Mr. Huang’s rich judicial experience, the reason why the above-mentioned discussions existed was that, judges just couldn’t get away with subjective cognition factors. Though it didn’t mean that judges twisted the law, we still need to face the problem and fix it.

Based on the discussions above, Mr. Huang pointed out that, the main point of legal interpretation was to identify the practical significance instead of the original implication, given the reason that while it’s hard to access original implication, the nature of legal interpretation was to persuade audiences instead of pursuing objective meaning.

After the theme speech, Mr. Huang developed an interesting communication with the audience at present. Questions like “Where is the boundary between legislation and judicature?” “Are comprehension and explanation absolutely the same thing?” were asked by Mr. Huang.

In the end of the speech, Professor Zhang Qi gave a conclusion. In Professor Zhang’s opinion, legal interpretation was a classic topic in jurisprudence, and Mr. Huang shared his unique perspective during the lecture. The lecture itself deducted textualism and was full of debate over views. The lecture ended in boundless discussions between teachers and students over legal interpretation subject.

Translated by: Wu Tong

Edited by: Xia Jing