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Article

Statutory Interpretation in Multilingual Jurisdictions

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2013
Keywords drafting, multilingual, translation, interpretation, authenticity
Authors Odethie Birunga
AbstractAuthor's information

    Considering that every piece of legislation is subject to legal interpretation, its practicability depends highly on successful interpretation. In any legislation drafted in more than one language, divergence in meanings of versions is not only possible, but inevitable. It is not a simple task to draft in a way so that contexts are translated and included in all different language versions so that it becomes one meaningful legislation. While relying on one version only in the course of interpreting a piece of legislation may sound a lot easier, there could be ambiguous passages which may be clarified by consulting other versions. The existence of discrepancies between the versions of legislation is neither a smooth sail in multilingual environment.


Odethie Birunga
Odethie Birungi Kamugundu is a Principal State attorney in the ministry of Justice Rwanda since 2010 in the Legislative drafting department which drafts, coordinates and oversees the drafting of laws in Rwanda. Prior to that, she worked in the National Public Prosecution as a prosecutor from 2002 to 2010. She graduated in Law (LLB) from the National University of Rwanda in 1999, and in Legislative Drafting (LLM) from the University of London- Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in 2012.
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