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February 25, 2015

In Spanish the suffix -ISTA can be added to the names of areas of law to designate a person who specializes in that area, either as a scholar or as a practicing lawyer.

There is a similar practice in English. For example, a "medievalist" is a scholar who studies the M...

February 19, 2015

There are many ways to say "law firm" in Spanish. In some countries, the terms bufete jurídico or bufete de abogados are used, but never in Argentina or Uruguay, where law firms are called estudios jurídicos.


In Mexico and Spain, law firms are often called despach...

January 30, 2015

Ellipsis in the sense of leaving the noun out of a phrase that consists of a noun plus an adjective is common in Spanish. For example, people refer to a tarjeta postal (post card) as simply una postal. Other common examples include referring to a tren expreso (express...

January 27, 2015

registro - registrar


Un registro is obviously a "register" (when you mean the book in which information is recorded) or a "registry" (when you mean the office where the records are kept), but it has a second meaning--one that is important in el derecho procesal penal (...

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 23, 2015


avocar, avocarse, abocarse, decurrir


The two verbs avocarse and abocarse are pronounced exactly alike, and for that reason Spanish speakers sometimes write one of them when they mean the other.


Abocarse is a verb used only in Latin America (not in Spain) and is a syn...

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...

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