Linguistic Ambiguity in the Language of Law: A Study of Selected Articles from Transitional Civil Code of Eritrea

Dr. Kamlesh Dangwal, Dr. Ehab S. Alnuzaili


This paper is a detailed analysis of ambiguities in the legal code language, of Transitional Civil Code of Eritrea (herein after the TCCE). It begins with general definitions of ambiguity in language and in language of the law. Various examples and case studies is used to explain how the language makes the interpretation of law ambiguous. The paper details the necessity to remove such ambiguities, to avoid wrong decisions in courts. Finally, the paper talks about the difficulties faced by the legal community. Owing to the vastness of the study, the research paper is restricted to the legal and linguistic aspects of the TCCE. Many courts have revised the legal codes by professional linguists. Despite many legal dictionaries the problem is intact. Legal dictionaries are subjected to criticism as it offers little information. Traditionally, legal dictionaries on the market are the products of a lexicographical approach to legal terminology listing different meanings of a word and proposing possible equivalents in other languages. Therefore, this research paper, presents the case of the TCCE and findings ambiguity in legal language and its troubling effect on the courts and the public life.

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