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Verba and Voluntas – Conflict of Laws in Interpretation of Contracts

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Abstract

This paper aims to describe an existing legal practice of contractual interpretation in Estonian legal order. In order to investigate the semiotic essence of contractual interpretation and its limits, this paper narrows its focus on a notion “conflict of laws” (as developed by Roberta Kevelson). By conflict of law is meant a depiction of incompatibility or conflict of co-existing legal practices, the conflict, which is both internal and external to Estonian legal system. From the inner perspective of Estonian legal order, the conflict of law is subsequently reduced to the conflict in law, and being analyzed on the grounds of contract law, the conflict of legal rules, in fact becomes a issue of contractual interpretation. It is claimed in this paper that there has been a fundamental incompatibility between objective and subjective approaches to interpretation of contracts. As later as 19th century, with the development of systematic legal science, an apparent confusion of objective and subjective approaches was becoming transformed into an open and growing system of law, based on a fusion of both methods. This paper lays theoretical grounds for a practical test, which could measure the exact level of legal integrity between different elements of legal system.

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Correspondence to Vadim Verenich.

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Verenich, V. Verba and Voluntas – Conflict of Laws in Interpretation of Contracts. Int J Semiot Law 18, 67–82 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11196-004-7932-2

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Keywords

  • 19th Century
  • Theoretical Ground
  • Legal System
  • Legal Rule
  • Legal Order