Giving content to general concepts

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General concepts, such as 'reasonableness', 'unconscionable conduct' and 'unfairness', are used in a variety of ways by judges, commentators and in statute. Sometimes, general concepts are merely statements in the nature of a conclusion reached after a process of detailed legal reasoning has taken place. In many cases, however, general concepts themselves play a determinative role in legal analysis, either as an important step in a process of analysis, or else as the sole or central concept determining liability. In such cases, it is of critical importance for the pursuit of open and rational legal reasoning that meaning is given to such concepts. This article explores some of the ways in which general concepts are utilised in legal reasoning and the various ways in which meaning and content can be given to such concepts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-241
Number of pages24
JournalMelbourne University Law Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes


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