The Law Dictionary

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CONSTRUCTION Definition & Legal Meaning

Definition & Citations:

The process, or the art, of determining the sense, real meaning, or proper explanation of obscure or ambiguous terms or provisions in a statute, written instrument, or oral agreement, or the application of such subject to the case in question, by reasoning in the light derived from extraneous connected circumstances or laws or writings bearing upon the same or a connected matter, or by seeking and applying the probable aim and purpose of the provision. It is to be noted that this term is properly distinguished from interpretation, although the two are often used synonymously. In strictness, interpretation is limited to exploring the written text, while construction goes beyond and may call in the aid of extrinsic considerations, as above indicated. Strict and liberal construction. Strict construction is construction of a statute or other instrument according to its letter, which recognizes nothing that is not expressed, takes the language used in its exact and technical meaning, and admits no equitable considerations or implications. Paving Co. v. Watt. 51 La. Ann. 1345, 20 South. 70: Stanyan v. Peterborough, 69 N. H. 372, 46 Atl. 191. Liberal construction, on the other hand, expands the meaning of the statute to meet cases which are clearly within the spirit or reason of the law, or within the evil which it was designed to remedy, provided such an interpretation is not inconsistent with the language used; it resolves all reasonable doubts in favor of the applicability of the statute to the particular case. Black. Interp. Laws, 282: Lawrence v. McCalmont, 2 IIow. 449. 11 L. Ed. 326; In re Johnson’s Estate, 98 Cal. 531, 33 Pac. 400, 21 L. R. A. 3S0; Shorey v. Wyckoff, 1 Wash. T. 351Law Dictionary:


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