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January 26, 2015

Article 549 of the Chilean Código de Procedimiento Civil (Code of Civil Procedure) provides for four figuras jurídicas (legal concepts) whose names are likely to confuse translators who are only familiar with the legal Spanish of countries other than Chile: querella d...

January 21, 2015

In legal English, once you use a term you must repeat that term throughout the document you are drafting. If you use a synonym instead, it may be taken to mean something other than the original term you used. In legal Spanish, the rule seems to be just the opposite. Wr...

January 21, 2015



In 2014 Spain's Princess Cristina, the Duchess of Palma, was imputada (formally named a suspect) in the corruption case surrounding her husband Iñaki Urdangarin. As such, she was summoned to hacer  declaración (testify) before the juez instructor (investigating judge...

January 19, 2015



Presentación looks like "presentation" and means just that in some contexts. Note, however, that a "presentation" at a conference is called a ponencia and the presenter is called a ponente.


In legal Spanish, presentación has two meanings. The first is "fi...

January 17, 2015



Propiedad looks very much like the English word "property," which is usually the first term that comes to mind when a native English speaker sees it. It is important to note, however, that the most common word for "property" in Spanish is bien...

January 16, 2015

Yesterday's paper brought news that the Spanish Supreme Court  has agreed to hear a paternity suit against former Spanish King Juan Carlos, who abdicated last June in favor of his son, now King Felipe VI. While Juan Carlos was king, Article 56(3) of the Spanish Constit...

January 16, 2015

El Gobierno – las Cortes - el Congreso


The concept of separation of powers is common in Western countries and is known as separación de poderes or división de poderes in Spanish. The three branches of government are usually referred to as el Poder Ejecutivo (the Execut...

January 15, 2015



Entrada obviously means "entrance" or "entry" and can also refer to a "ticket" that allows you to enter a play or a concert, but in the legal Spanish of Spain, it has another meaning that can confuse you if you are unaware of it.

In Spain entrada also me...

January 12, 2015




The Spanish verb redactar is so similar to the English "to redact" that it would be reasonable to assume that they mean the same thing. Unfortunately, however, this pair of verbs is an example of what linguists call "false friends."


The English verb "to redac...

January 10, 2015

tratado, doctrina, jurisprudencia


One of the legal meanings of tratado is fairly well known. All learners of Spanish seem to know that tratado means "treaty." And indeed it does. Thus, for example, a tratado de doble imposición is a "double taxation treaty (DTT)."...

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