Would you like to know some legal terms in Spanish? Following is a list of common legal terms in Spanish along with online resources for Spanish dictionaries of legal terms.
Legal Terms in Spanish
Here are some legal terms which have been translated into Spanish. A definition is given unless it is self explanatory.
- Acquit - absolver = to absolve of guilt, decide someone is innocent
- Affidavit - affidávit = official sworn statement
- Arbitration - arbitraje = judging a dispute
- 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.