Introduction to English law for translators and/or non-lawyers
Starting again: I started this series on 22 October 2008 and wrote 5 posts, which you can find via the IEL tag. The last post was on 8 March 2009 and was a bit messy.
By request I am starting again, so here’s a summary of the story so far.
Summary so far:
A revised version of my old Erlangen teaching notes
2. Great Britain and Ireland: geographical and political terms
Terms: Great Britain, the British Isles, Ireland, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland
3. The United Kingdom and its three legal systems
Three jurisdictions: English law in England and Wales, Northern Ireland law in Northern Ireland (similar), Scottish law in Scotland (rather different).
4. English law
Started in 1066 (but no clean break) and later history, export of the system
5. History of English law
The courts, contract and tort (forms of action), real and personal actions, common law and equity
Terms touched on so far:
jurisdiction, Jurisdiktion, Gerichtsbezirk, Zuständigkeit
executive, legislature, judiciary
I am going to start again with a new post on equity and one on the common law. These are terms that cause translators a lot of grief, and I think the beginning of my treatment was very messy.
Let me repeat that this is a simplified, indeed over-simplified, summary that is intended to help people new to the subject orientate themselves in law and legal terminology. It has a tendency to generalize and could easily be criticized for that reason, but adding more detail would probably not serve its purpose.
One criticism I’ve received is recommending Wikipedia articles. I only recommend articles that I find helpful and reliable, and the fact that Wikipedia may contain errors somewhere or other does not alter the fact that some of its articles are ideal for this purpose. If you would prefer a book, one that I would recommend and that can be got second-hand is Dieter Henrich, Einführung in das englische Privatrecht – it’s in German, of course. It appeared in 1971 (Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft Darmstadt) and there was a later edition published elsewhere, and even a 2003 edition, but as it presents simple accounts of English law in history, it is not out of date.