Arraignment - lectura de cargos = when the accused enter a plea of guilty or not guilty before the court
Bail - fianza = a certain amount of money or property which allows the accused to be released until his trial
Beyond a reasonable doubt - más allá de una duda (fuera de duda) razonable
Breach of contract - incumplimiento de contrato
Brief - alegato, resumen = written summary of a case
Defendant - demandado = who gets sued in a civil case
Defendant - acusado = who is accused in a criminal case
Docket - orden del día del tribunal = the schedule of court cases
Jury - Jurado
Litigation - litigio = lawsuit
Mistrial - juicio nulo = a trial that is dismissed because of a mistake or inconclusive outcome
Plaintiff - demandante = the one who sues someone else
Plead of guilty - declaración de culpabilidad
Plea of not-guilty - declaración de inocencia
Probation - libertad a prueba = a person receives a suspended sentence but must be under a probation officer’s supervision
Sentence - sentencia, pena = punishment decided by the court
Subpoena - citación = orders someone to appear at a given time to offer testimony
Summons - notificación de demanda (civil) = order to appear in court
Summons - orden de comparecencia, citación (del acusado)
Verdict - veredicto = final judgement
Warrant - orden = a court order, permit or writ
Online Spanish Dictionaries for Legal Terms
Here are a couple of sources for legal terms in Spanish:
Z3.site has Spanish and English words for legal terms but does not include a definition.
Wi Courts.gov is a Glossary of Legal Terminology in English and Spanish. It is very good and gives the definitions.
Legal System in Spain
The combination of courts and justices in Spain is called the Judiciary of Spain. Judges and magistrates dole out justice in the name of the King of Spain. The court system is independent of any other power, so that the rule of law will be justly followed. The judges and magistrates are professionals, and are considered public servants. The group of Justices is divided into three sections: Judge, Magistrate, and Supreme Court Magistrate.
To be a Justice in Spain, you must be of Spanish nationality and hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Law from a Spanish university. After obtaining your degree, you must pass a state exam, a contest of merits, or a state exam of merits. If you are selected to enter the field of Justice, you then attend Judiciary School for a year. There you will attend classes as well as gain practical experience in various courts. After the year, if you pass your classes, you will be sworn in as a judge.
Magistrates of the Supreme Court are chosen with a contest of merits and are picked from jurists and lawyers with at least 15 years of service. Justices of the Peace are not in the judicial field and are elected by the town council where they reside.
There are five principles in the Spanish Constitution that ensure that the judicial system runs correctly.
Here is a list and brief explanations of each principle:
Impartiality: Judges must remain impartial in all cases and use good judgment when abstaining from cases.
Independence: No person or organization has power over the judicial system.
Immobility: Judges cannot be moved, retired, or suspended without proper cause.
Responsibility: Judges are personally responsible for any crimes that they commit while in office. These infractions are handled through established legal proceedings.
Legality: Judges are subject to the Constitution and laws the same as other citizens and branches of government.