Latinismos: venia

Venia, from the Latin meaning “grace,” “indulgence” or “favor” is frequently used in legal Spanish in at least two different contexts. When a lawyer in court addresses the judge asking for permission to proceed, he inevitably commences by saying “con la venia, Señoría” or “con la venia del Tribunal.” This corresponds to the English expression “May it please the Court,” a formalism dating from the early 17th century that is still used in Anglo-American courts when lawyers commence their oral arguments, as well as in written briefs submitted for the judge’s consideration.

Venia also denotes a lawyer’s agreement to transfer a case to another colleague. When a client changes lawyers, his newly-appointed counsel must solicitar la venia, asking that the case be transferred to him. Likewise, the former attorney is said to dar (or) conceder la venia, turning over all of the case documents to the new lawyer and pledging to cooperate with him to ensure that it is successfully prosecuted.

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