A note on a translation problem: a colleague had a sentence with hilfsweise and later hilfs-hilfsweise. I have met ‘in the alternative…in the further alternative’.

Also encountered: ‘in the first alternative…in the second alternative’. I think this puts the two on the same level, whereas ‘in the further alternative’ makes it subordinate – first try one, then if that doesn’t work, fall back on two.

Also encountered in German texts: eventualiter and subeventualiter.

I have not given a context. It is sometimes used in applications to court, requesting one alternative, but if that fails, a second.

A Linguee search for ‘in the further alternative’ reveals also ‘äußerst hilfsweise’ and ‘weiter hilfsweise’. A web search reveals more. A ProZ entry suggests that the German should be hilfsweise and höchst fürsorglich.

But I don’t need to go into enormous detail, although the commenter xxxKrstyMacC may wish to.


10 thoughts on “hilfs-hilfsweise

  1. I’d suggest “main claim”, “alternative claim” for “hilfsweise” if it is related to procedural questions.

  2. What an interesting research. The ProZ entry you are referring to got it wrong. If anything, it’s höchst VORsorglich (not FÜRsorglich).

    And the sources I found do not use “höchst vorsorglich” as a second level of “hilfsweise”, but rather “hilfsweise und höchst hilfsweise” or “hilfsweise und weiter hilfsweise”.

    Höchst vorsorglich (as a precaution) (nicht fürsorglich) und hilfsweise make a different statement in the sentence below: “höchst vorsorglich” (if the court would not consider anything of what we said, then at least this), and “hilfsweise” (if our motion A is denied, then here is our motion B as an alternative)
    Mit Schreiben vom 28. März 2012 erklärte d. VN schließlich “den Widerspruch gemäß § 5a VVG a.F. bzw. den Widerspruch nach § 8 VVG sowie den Widerruf nach § 355 BGB sowie höchst vorsorglich und hilfsweise den Rücktritt vom Versicherungsvertrag gemäß § 8 Abs. 5 VVG a.F.”.
    Urteil: https://openjur.de/u/776086.html

    hilfsweise und höchst hilfsweise
    „Hilfsweise hat der Kläger von den Beklagten im Wege der Stufenklage – und in zweiter Instanz höchst hilfsweise mit einem gegen die Beklagte zu 1 auf Zahlung von …”
    Urteil: https://openjur.de/u/685799.html

    hilfsweise (zahlung an das FA …) und weiter hilfsweise (Hinterlegung zum Zwecke der Auskehr an die gläubiger FA …)

    • Yes of course, vorsorglich not fürsorglich – even I know that. i wouldn’t use vorsorglich for hilfsweise myself. It is ‘by way of precaution’. Thanks for your example, which shows the use of höchst vorsorglich in this context. It actually isn’t far from the mysterious ‘hilfs-hilfsweise’.

      • I am sure we are all for birth control ‘by way of extreme precaution’, but can’t say that such wording would be usual in an English legal context – where the *substantive* claims in a *procedural* or adjectival context – are merely numbered without any cautionary intro, except for ‘further or alternatively’.

        The French wording in the premises (in point) is routinely : ‘si, par impossible…’ – if, by some remote chance, that argument fails (e.g. the usually female judge does not accept that alternative vs. alternate) then here comes the next alternative.

        The other way round – English/German – also seems to spawn an implausible, literal translation: https://www.linguee.com/english-german/translation/second+alternative.html

        • 1. I don’t believe in ‘by way of extreme precaution’ in English texts, no, just ‘by way of precaution’. But I might use it to translate from the German. It’s a German legal text – it doesn’t need to sound like an English one – on the contrary, better that the reader is not misled into thinking it’s English law it’s dealing with.

          2. As for the Linguee page, that is quite a mess. First of all, there are two contexts for alternatives. We haven’t discussed this. a) One is where you describe a section of German law, and you refer to the first and the second alternative, which are usually equally possible points. b) The other is where you apply to a court for an order, and in the alternative for another order. (I don’t call this first and second, but someone claimed it is done that way in patent law – but without some context we are just floundering around in the dark).
          Your first Linguee example is from an EU site and is a case of a), and which language is the original we don’t know – in EU law both are supposed to be originals. Your second example is from a German site. I haven’t clicked through for more context. But it is pretty clear that the German is the original, not the English. (What is a ‘simple vicarious agent’? Vicarious agents of every colour are translatorese to me). The third is an EU patent matter.
          When you write ‘seems to spawn an implausible … translation’, which example are you referring to?

    • I was looking for something else in my database and found that in February 2017 I marked “fürsorglich” as a synonym for “vorsorglich”.I can’t remember the situation and it may well simply be a common error. Here it is in a judgment:

      • Replying to Adrian – I can’t find a direct reply link – ‘in der zweiten Alternative’ – the quote is from p. 16 of this PDF:
        I won’t quote it but it doesn’t look unGerman to me in context, although I see what you mean. But it’s not a question of gemäß dem zweiten Hilfsantrag’ exactly. It says that in this statute (?) there are three people who can apply for deletion, so ‘die zweite Alternative’ applies to people, not an application.
        I think this is enough for today.

  3. Thanks, Margaret, for that intro to my previous ‘Anglo-Scottish incarnation’ of Kirsty MacC. I have only now, pre-World Cup Final without England, sob, sob, picked up on the query.

    I consider ‘in the further alternative’ right for hilfs-hilfsweise where there are two alternatives only, albeit for UK rather than US or Canadian consumption.

    ‘In the first or second alternative’ would, IMO, assume a third, fourth & fifth etc. alternative. (I can’t recall the record, but 10 or more alternatives for a Chancery writ of claim or an originating > interpretation of a Will or translation ! < summons would not raise eyebrows of any thicknessl).

    By the same token, English legal drafting practice (at the Bar) dictates ‘of the one part’ and ‘of the other part’ for two parties to a contract or an (unregistered) purchase deed of land.

    In the US, ‘of the first and of the second part’ would imply, in England & Wales, that there are other parties e.g. of the third and fourth part joining in the contract or conveyance and would be a wrong English Bar legal-drafting exam-answer where there are two parties only ('deduct one mark from the unregistered purchase deed of land draft').

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