Seminar on Legal Interpretation

April 27th – 28th 2016

UEF Law School


UEF Law School welcomes all those interested in the theory of legal interpretation to a two-day seminar to be held in Joensuu in 27th and 28th April. Legal interpretation is a multifaceted theme that raises many intriguing questions. They can be divided into four groups, those concerning (1) the concept of interpretation, (2) the object of interpretation, (3) the methods and rules of interpretation, and (4) the areas of interpretation. 

(1) Concept. The fundamental question "What is interpretation?" presupposes an even more fundamental question "What is meaning?" -- Maija addresses these questions (and so do other speakers, less directly).

(2) Object. The basic question here is "What and where is the thing that we interpret?" For instance, is a norm the object of interpretation or the product of a process of interpretation? -- Niko deals with this problem. 

(3) Methods. One of the fundamental questions under this heading is "Do we need rules of interpretation?". -- Seppo argues for an affirmative answer. Tomas takes the basic rule of interpretation, the textual canon, under scrutiny. And Jan considers how the conflicts of the canons are handled.        

(4) Areas (or branches) of law are, as it were, viewpoints from which we see questions (1) - (3). These questions appear in different guises in different areas. Katja deals with EU law, and Pavel with constitutional law.


Wednesday 27th April (AU111)

14.00 - 14.50 Seppo Sajama (Professor, University of Eastern Finland): Do we need canons of interpretation at all?

15.00 - 15.50 Pavel Ondrejek (Senior Lecturer, Charles University, Prague): Savigny's canons and the modern methods of constitutional reasoning  

16.10 – 17.00 Katja Lindroos (Professor, University of Eastern Finland): Statutory (Conflicting Directives) interpretation by EU Courts


Thursday 28th April (AU203)

9.15 - 10.05 Maija Aalto-Heinilä (Senior Lecturer, University of Eastern Finland): The concepts of meaning and interpretation

10.10 - 11.00: Tomas Berkmanas (Associate Professor, Dean, Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania): Scalia's Matter of Interpretation in the Context of Legal Philosophy: Some Observations 

11.00 - 12.00 Lunch

12.00 - 12.50 Niko Soininen (Lecturer, University of Eastern Finland): The fragmented existence of legal norms

13.00 - 13.50 Jan Wintr (Associate Professor, Charles University, Prague): Resolving the conflicts of the canons of statutory interpretation 

14.00 Closing of the seminar


The seminar is open for all. However, please sign up before 20th April by sending an e-mail to Niko Soininen (