Español jurídico: Distinguishing Jurisdictional Disputes

Legal Synonyms,Confusing Terms(what's the difference between..._)

conflicto de jurisdicción; conflicto de competencia; cuestión de competencia

The principal difficulty in finding a suitable translation for each of these expressions lies in the fact that all three may perhaps be described in English simply as “jurisdictional disputes,” since in this context both jurisdicción and competencia are “jurisdiction” in English. In effect, in most contexts “jurisdictional dispute” may suffice for all three, but if further clarification is necessary a “descriptive translation” may be warranted.

In that regard and as used in Spain, a conflicto de jurisdicción may be described as a “jurisdictional dispute between the courts and the public administration” (conflicto entre los tribunales y la administración). In this case it must be determined whether a given decision should be adopted by a court or by a governmental agency.

 Conflicto de competencia might be translated as a “dispute between courts of different jurisdictions” (conflicto entre tribunales de distintos órdenes jurisdiccionales), such as a dispute as to whether a case should be heard in the civil or the administrative courts (tribunales civiles o contencioso-administrativos).

And cuestión de competencia might be rendered as “dispute between different courts within the same jurisdiction” (conflicto entre tribunales dentro del mismo órden jurisdiccional), such as, for example, a dispute as to whether a civil case should be heard by a lower or higher court within the civil court hierarchy.

In general, the above may sometimes categorized as either positiva or negativa, depending on whether the entities in question seek to claim or decline jurisdiction. In that regard, in a conflicto de jurisdicción positiva both the court and the governmental agency involved in the dispute claim jurisdiction (se declaran competentes) over the matter. In a conflicto de jurisdicción negativa, the two entities claim that they lack jurisdiction (se declaran incompetentes) to decide the case.

Terminology of Criminal Procedure in English: 20 Verbs (and their Prepositions)

legal english crimpro terms

In our unit on the Criminal Law and Procedure, my students of Legal English often express surprise at the number of seemingly simple verbs used in describing criminal proceedings, many of which are collocations that must be coupled with the right preposition. In the event that they may be of interest to readers of this blog, here are what perhaps may be considered the Top 20 Legal English Crimpro Verbs:

  • to suspect (someone) OF having committed a crime
  • to commit a crime
  • to accuse (someone) OF a crime
  • to be charged WITH a crime
  • to bring charges AGAINST (someone)
  • to arrest (someone) ON a charge OF (X)
  • to be arrested FOR an offense
  • to be brought BEFORE a judge
  • to plead guilty/not guilty TO a crime
  • to confess TO a crime
  • to be released ON bail
  • to prosecute (someone) FOR an offense
  • to be tried FOR an offense
  • to defend the accused AGAINST the charges
  • to pass verdict ON the accused
  • to find the accused guilty AS charged
  • to convict/acquit the accused
  • to sentence the accused TO 10 years in prison
  • to serve a 10-year sentence
  • to be released FROM incarceration

Multiple meanings of “board” (and how they translate into Spanish)

Legal Terms with Multiple Meanings

When “board” denotes a group of persons exercising managerial or supervisory powers the term can have several different Spanish renderings. For example, in business law contexts “board of directors” is consejo de administración, while the “board of trustees” of a foundation is its patronato.

“Board” is also used in the context of alternative dispute resolution (resolución extrajudicial de conflictos), in which arbitration (arbitraje) may be conducted by a single arbitrator (árbitro) or by a panel of arbitrators commonly known as an “arbitration board” (tribunal arbitral).

In the US, a state or local entity that governs and manages the public school system is commonly know as the “board of education,” while persons appointed to supervise institutions of higher education such as colleges and universities are often known as the “board of regents.”

And “board” may likewise designate a type of governmental body or entity. In that regard, what in Spain are collectively termed organismos administrativos (generically, “governmental agencies”) receive several different names within the US Government. One of these is “board” (Federal Reserve Board; National Labor Relations Board), but also include “agencies” (Central Intelligence Agency—CIA; Environmental Protection Agency—EPA), “bureaus” (Federal Bureau of Investigation—FBI) and “commissions” (Securities and Exchange Commission—SEC; International Trade Commission—ITC).