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.