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Differences in terms between the Spanish and English legal systems

The differences between the various legal systems are palpable even in the legal terms used in each one. In order to translate or translate the meaning of one of these terms to another legal system, it is necessary to know it in depth. It is not enough to simply translate correctly from one language to another. In fact, in order to provide a correct legal translation, it is even necessary to know the functions and positions of the professionals working in the legal systems.

In order to produce a quality sworn translation, it is therefore necessary to avoid assigning equivalences. between the terms and maintain as far as possible the name of the position in the original language. Equivalence can only be granted in cases where a direct equivalent relationship is established. Likewise, it is important to be clear about the purpose of the translation in order to add more value to the content.

Legal translation, the terms in the English and Spanish legal system

In this text we will review some terms of the British legal system and the judicial system in Spain, trying to compare them and find their similarities or differences in the functioning of both. Spanish law comes from the Roman-Germanic legal tradition. British law, on the other hand, is based on three pillars: legislation, jurisprudence and Equity, the latter known as a judicial philosophical tradition developed from the 14th century in England in parallel to the British legal system.

In the text of the Legal TranslatorRodrigo Mencía Rodríguez, refers that the mere fact of the existence of these differences between the two legal systems is sufficient evidence of the diversity of legal actors that each one contemplates.

Terms in the Spanish legal system

In Spain, the procurador is the professional in charge of procedural representation before the courts. Procedural representation is defined as the substitute phenomenon by virtue of which a person is entrusted with the management of someone's interests in a legal proceeding. He has the capacity to represent his client, since he receives his notifications and the documentation concerning the case on behalf of his client. However, he/she does not have the power to appear in court, taking into account that appearing refers to putting oneself in the presence of a judicial body.

In Spain, on the other hand, the lawyer is competent to appear in court. in the case of his client. In that sense, his main function is the technical representation before the courts, i.e., he represents the client directly before the judge and has the power to present reports, arguments, pleadings and any documentation required for the case. Given his functions, he is responsible for the representation of his client and defends him in court appearances.

The solicitor and the barrister in the English legal system

In the United Kingdom there are also two key figures in the role of legal accompaniment. The first figure, the solicitor, has the function of legally representing the client, but his field of action is outside the courts. It can be said that the solicitor deals directly with the client. Therefore, he is usually in charge of legal work outside the judicial institutions, advising clients and preparing the legal documents necessary for representation. He may even appear before the judge but only in the lower courts.

The term barrister defines the professional figures in charge of legal work in specialized legal areas. They have the power to appear before all courts, with special emphasis on the higher courts. Unlike the work of the solicitor, which is usually done in conjunction with other professionals, barristers work individually and are usually organized in chambers specialized in different areas. In general, these lawyers do not have a direct contractual relationship with the client, as they work through the solicitors. The profession of barrister is regulated by a different body than that of solicitor and the preparation for performing functions is different.

What about legal terms today?

At present, the divergences between one legal figure and the other have become blurred. In some cases, clients often go directly to the barrister, without first being advised by the solicitor. Despite this situation, both figures continue to coexist in British law.

In this system, the term lawyer is also used to refer to any lawyer or attorney. legal professionalwhatever its function within the legal process.

In the case of the current judicial system in the United States, The terms attorney or attorney-at-law are used to designate the legal professional. In this country, the designations are usually simplified, so that no distinction is made between lawyers who handle the case in court and those who practice out of court and deal directly with the client.

Sources consulted