Interpretative Importance of Legal Principles for the Understanding of Legal Texts

Abstract
Law is a system of legal rules and legal principles. The distinction between them is a relative one. Always such definite major and minor premises are to be formed that the case can be subsumed under the rule and a conclusion, which includes the decision, can be drawn. This applies to legal principles that are operationalised by legal rules as well as to statutory forms of legal rules, which are often open as to their meaning and/or contain definitions that comprise elements of principles. The basic characteristic of legal principles is that they are value measures directing the definition of legal rules as to their contents, the understanding of the rules, and the manner of their application. Legal principles aim at a goal, have weight, and define the scope of the meaning within which the legal rules move. The operationalisation of legal principles is the _ratio decidendi_ that the court has to achieve in order to be able to decide in a concrete case. Legal principles live through the rules that are the reasons for the decision in a concrete case. New cases can be solved by a new operationalisation of legal principles or by analogous application of precedents if the new cases, in their essential elements, correspond to cases that have already been decided
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