English Legal Terminology

Via Juristisches Internetprojekt Saarbrücken, course summary and materials for an introduction to English (mainly US) terminology. held by Judith L. Holdsworth in the winter semester 2002-2003.
The course manuscript is a PDF file with summaries of a lot of information about legal English. There is also a link to a website at Leeds University with the text and picture of the Carbolic Smoke Ball case (1893) so well known to English law students (the court held that a contract was entered into when a woman bought a ‘carbolic smoke ball’ and complied with the terms of the advertisement but nevertheless contracted flu and therefore was entitled to the compensation promised).Entering the Leeds University site at a higher level, I find materials called UK Law Online, on topics such as the legal systems in the UK, and then, concentrating on England and Wales, the various kinds of lawyers, sources of law, court hierarchy, statutory law, and sources of law.

Back to the Saarland English Legal Terminology Site: there are links to a number of other, mainly US, materials. There is also a list of ‘research topics’ with links. I looked at the German statutes in English translation and found a Basic Law translation I am not sure I know. At least, it was published by the Bundestag in 2001 and is to be found at the site of Ms Holdsworth’s firm. After comparing three translations of the Basic Law last year I decided to use the one by Axel Tschentscher. But as always, nothing is perfect.

I then looked at the site of Ms Holdsworth’s firm, deKieffer & Horgan, and on the English publications page I found a paper by her on taking evidence in Germany in support of foreign litigation and another on the practical application of CISG. The former looks like a very good example of how to write about German law in English:

bq. The German Code of Civil Procedure (Zivi1prozeßordnung, “ZPO”) distinguishes the taking of evidence from (1) nonparty witnesses (Zeugen) (§§ 373 – 401 ZPO); (2) parties to the suit (§§ 445 – 455 ZPO); and (3) experts (Sachverständigen) (§§ 402 – 414 ZPO).

There are a number of other goodies there, for instance a link to a glossary of international trade terms by Merritt R. Blakeslee and Carlos A. Garcia.

To see how else I might have found this glossary, I entered first one and then two of the terms in the glossary into Google, then the terms together with the word ‘glossary’, but this one did not appear on the first two pages. That was just to check how useful it is to fish around in law firms’ publications pages – they often have materials on the latest developments in German law in English.

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