Structure of statutes/ Aufbau der Rechtsakte

The EU has diagrams with vocabulary on titles, subtitles, chapters etc. of legal instruments, in both English and German.
This applies only within the EU context. Outside that, the situation is much more complex.

Die EU hat Tabellen mit Wortschatz zu den Bestandteilen der Rechtsakte: Titel, Untertitel, Kapitel usw., auf Deutsch und Englisch.
Sie beziehen sich auf EU-Dokumente; außerhalb der EU ist die Situation komplizierter für Übersetzer.Here is a summary:

|Verfügender Teil|enacting terms|
|Unterabsätze|Unnumbered paragraphs|
|in Erwägung nachstehender Gründe|Whereas:|

bq. Werden in einen gültigen Rechtsakt nachträglich Artikel eingefügt, so erhalten sie die Nummer des ihnen vorangehenden Artikels, welchem ein kleiner Buchstabe des lateinischen Alphabets hinzugefügt wirde, z.B. Artikel 1 – Artikel 1 a, Artikel 1 b usw.

bq. When articles are inserted in the operative part of an act [sic] already adopted, they take the number of the article which they follow, accompanied where necessary by (a), (b) etc. (for Latin numbering see the list in Annex A8)

The trouble is, I failed to find an Annex A8 – the annexes went up only to A7. The Latin abbreviations are an FAQ here. What do I do with bis, quinquies etc.? These are the French equivalent of the above: inserted articles. The usual answer is: if translating (a citation from) a French statute, leave it as it is so the reader can find it. But in EU texts, the legislation exists in all Community languages equally, so find the German/English version of the legislation and use what that uses.

Wenn ein französisches Gesetz zitiert wird, wo statt 1 a 1 bis steht, lässt man normalerweise das bis da, damit der Leser des Originalgesetzes nicht verwirrt wird, aber wenn es um EU-Rechtsakte geht, da die deutsche/englische Fassung gleichwertig mit der französischen usw. ist, findet man das deutsche/englische und zitiert es in der jeweiligen Schreibweise.

Yet another topic that becomes more complex the more you think about it. I see here Gedankenstrich rather than Spiegelstrich, but it amounts to the same thing, usually called indent.

The English style guide is not identical to the interinstitutional style guide.

Je mehr man über diese Fragen nachdenkt, desto komplexer erscheinen sie. Gedankenstrich heißt meist Spiegelstrich. Das English Style Guide der EU (vom englischen Teil des Übersetzungsdienstes geschrieben) hat kein deutschen Gegenstück.

7 thoughts on “Structure of statutes/ Aufbau der Rechtsakte

  1. Thanks for the v. useful diagram, Margaret.
    I – being so bold as to dispute irritating constitutional conventional wisdom – see that literal practice is becoming entrenched.

    Based on the original French source-language Treaty sources of yetseryear, Article – rather than section – and paragraph – instead of subsection – seems to be the EU norm.

    Also the word Article is included in the headers for numbering i.e. Articles 1, 2, 3 etc. However, in a UK/US(?) Memorandum and Articles of Association/ or of Incorporation (US) or ‘bog-standard’ Contract, the headings would just be numbered straight through i.e. 1, 2, 3, whilst referring to the Articles or (Memo/ Contract) Clauses in the body of the text.

    I suppose one, or the only, argument for dropping section is not to confuse Paragraf and Abschnitt.

  2. This does just apply to legislation, not contracts. Actually, when I translate a German contract, I often leave the § in, e.g. § 1, where I could perfectly well just write 1. Not very logical.
    But I will defer the discussion of how we do things *outside* EU legislation for another day…

  3. Yes. I realise this applies just to legislation.

    Problem is consistency of terms when there are quotations, all in the same source-lang. text, of Articles from an International Treaty, EU Directive or Reg., Domestic Codes, Memo & Arts. and a Contract/ Lease.

    So far, only my typists – and not clients – have queried the broad brush from clauses, sections to articles for the same Article word used in quick succession. When it gets too complicated, I just use the pedestrian literal translation.

  4. As I still can’t edit my entries, I forgot to add that I also use your astute trick of the §§ section symbols for e Article and () to get round the Paragraf/subsection conundrum.

    By the way, I follow Harraps F/E Dictionary for the Latin ordinals in v. common French addresses and regulatory sub-numbering: bis = a i.e. 12bis = 12a, tercer = b; quater = c; quinquies = d; sexties = e; septies = f and so on. It does call for some deft finger- or paper-work when the sub-numbering goes into high figures.

  5. Do you let your typists convert the symbols, or do you dictate the full thing to them?
    I can edit comments if you e-mail me, but it seems enough to add a further comment here.
    The ‘Paragraf/subsection’ conundrum is not quite clear to me. I will return to the topic.
    The Harraps method sounds like what I would not do, in that it confuses the reader when he or she looks at the French statute. So I would always follow the original in its use of bis or a) or whatever.

  6. I have the § symbol on my keyboard, plus my typists can also access it if I say dictate ‘the section symbol’.

    I meant the Paragraf/section -> false-friend paragraph and Absatz/paragraph -> subsection conundrum.

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