Plain-Meaning Rule

Plain-Meaning Rule

A principle used by courts in interpreting contracts that provides that the objective definitions of contractual terms are controlling, irrespective of whether the language comports with the actual intention of either party.

The plain meaning of the contract will be followed where the words used—whether written or oral—have a clear and unambiguous meaning. Words are given their ordinary meaning; technical terms are given their technical meaning; and local, cultural, or Trade Usage of terms are recognized as applicable. The circumstances surrounding the formation of the contract are also admissible to aid in the interpretation.

References in periodicals archive ?
187) First, the court established that it was using the plain-meaning rule under federal precedent.
Like the other cases, the court first laid out the plain-meaning rule.
The plain-meaning rule only looks to other statutory maxims if the text is ambiguous.
Thus, the plain-meaning rule states that where the law speaks in clear and categorical language, there is no room for interpretation.
6) This objective approach, which is broadly referred to in the United States as textualism, is based on the plain-meaning rule.
Looking It Up] (identifying the plain-meaning rule as one of the
Court's devotion to the plain-meaning rule and accepting that
court has explicitly rejected the so-called plain-meaning rule.
The court then announced that it would no longer follow the dictates of the plain-meaning rule, which it said was fraught with flaws and inconsistencies, in determining the meaning of statutes.
122) To similar effect is the argument that the plain-meaning rule is "rather an axiom of experience than a rule of law, and does not preclude consideration of persuasive evidence if it exists.
Important as I think it is, I must admit that not all appellate judges subscribe to the plain-meaning rule.
Here's what I mean by that: When appellate courts apply the plain-meaning rule to construe a statute by using language in the way in which it is used in everyday speech, they are primarily doing two things.