Legal English – Peter’s Pills – Lesson 22 – Construe

Legal English for Notaries - By Federnotizie




Today we look at a great verb in legal English: Construe.

Construe is the legal English equivalent of interpret which is used in general English, but it has a more specific meaning.

We all know that interpret simply means to explain the meaning of something – like to interpret a dream; or to understand something in a specific way – like to interpret something from someone’s actions.

Construe goes one step further. It means to determine the meaning of the words of a written document, a statute or a legal decision, based upon rules of legal interpretation as well as the normal meanings of words.

In short, construe means to understand the interpretation of something in a legal framework. The noun for construe is construction.

In order to construe the meaning of something, legal experts will look at the general English meaning of words, as well as the legal meaning of words, but will not read excessively into the meaning of these words. This means that they will generally not enter into a philosophical debate as to what a word could possibly mean or consider vague interpretations.

Here are some examples of construe used in sentences:

  • Please do not construe this as legal advice;
  • Lawyers from other jurisdictions may construe the law differently;
  • The courts construe laws by considering the legislators’ intention;
  • Nothing contained in this Agreement shall be construed as binding the parties to any form of exclusivity.

Thank you very much and see you next time for more Peter’s Pills to improve your Legal English!

Construe – interpretare; fare l’analisi grammaticali, logica e giuridica
Statute – la legge emanata e scritta
Upon = On – su
In short – in breve
Legal framework – quadro giuridico/legale/normativo
Construction – interpretazione
Vague – vago
Shall be construed – può essere interpretato binding
Binding – vincolante

Read about what “Strict Construction” in the USA means here: “Strict Construction Has Been Debated For More Than 200 Years“.

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