The peculiar term texto articulado has often been translated literally as “articulated text,” or understood as referring to the “sections” (artículos) of a given law. These renderings both ignore the fact that the expression actually denotes a specific type of delegated legislation. In Spain the legislative branch of government (Las Cortes Generales) may delegate to the executive branch (Gobierno) the power to prepare legislative texts having the force of law (con rango de ley). These are of two types: texto articulado and texto refundido.
Texto articulado denotes a legislative text designed to regulate a new area or aspect of law not previously addressed. In this case, Las Cortes Generales authorizes the government to do so in what is known as a Ley de Bases, which specifies the scope of subject matter of the future law, limits the legislative powers delegated, and establishes a time limit for presenting the final text. In contrast, and as its name suggests, a texto refundido is “consolidated legislation,” bringing together in a single text all existing laws regulating the same matter.
Spain’s Ley de Seguridad Vial is often cited as an example of each. The law was initially a texto articulado (Real Decreto Legislativo 339/1990, de 2 de marzo, por el que se aprueba el Texto Articulado de la Ley sobre Tráfico, Circulación de Vehículos a Motor y Seguridad Vial), to which other related regulations were later incorporated in a texto refundido (Real Decreto Legislativo 6/2015, de 30 de octubre, por el que se aprueba el texto refundido de la Ley sobre Tráfico, Circulación de Vehículos a Motor y Seguridad Vial).
To conclude, how should texto articulado be translated? In most contexts the expression may be rendered simply as “law.” But if context requires, it may perhaps be more specifically be rendered as “delegated legislation.”