Ellipsis in bien protegido

Ellipsis in Legal Spanish

Bien protegido might appear to refer to “protected assets (or) goods,” and the expression has sometimes been mistranslated as such, or has simply been deemed an adjective phrase and rendered as “well-protected.” But bien protegido is actually an ellipsis for bien jurídico protegido (also called bien jurídico tutelado), a criminal law term (from the German Rechtsgut) that designates the specific interest protected under the individual provisions of the Spanish Criminal Code.

As examples, in the crime of homicidio, the legally-protected interest (bien jurídico protegido) is la vida humana.* With respect to delitos de amenazas, the legally-protected interests include “el sentimiento de tranquilidad y el ataque a la libertad en la formación de la voluntad…”* In the crime of failure to come to the aid (omisión del deber de socorro) the bien jurlidico protegido is “la solidaridad humana.”* And in crimes of theft, robbery and burglary (hurto, robo con violencia en las personas y robo con fuerza en las cosas) the legally-protected interests are posesión or propiedad.*

*Source for the examples cited above: Tomás Vives Antón, et.al., Derecho Penal, Parte Especial, Valencia: Tirant lo Blanch, 2015.

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