n South African Law Journal - What's in a word? Interpretation through the eyes of ordinary readers

Volume 127, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0258-2503
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2177



The article explores the current approach to contractual interpretation and contrasts it with the way ordinary readers understand documents. It suggests that the focus on a search for the intention of the parties is an unrealistic exercise that disguises what courts actually do when construing written contracts. It advocates an acceptance of an objective approach to interpretation of contracts based on the reasonable reader's approach to the wording of the contract and suggests that this helps to remove the mystique with which lawyers surround the task of interpretation.

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