Español jurídico: What is tácita reconducción?

Weird Words You Need to Know

This strange, seemingly cryptic expression is defined in the RAE’s Diccionario del Español Jurídico como prórroga del contrato de arrendamiento de fincas rústicas o urbanas que se produce cuando, una vez terminado el contrato hecho por tiempo determinado, permanece el arrendatario disfrutando quince días de la cosa arrendada con aquiescencia del arrendador.* In that regard, reconducción refers specifically to prórroga de un arrendamiento (DLE).

Tácita reconducción has often been translated literally as “tacit renewal,” described as “renewal by default” or, perhaps in more idiomatic English, rendered as “automatic renewal (of a lease).” But it should be noted that all of these translations are actually inaccurate, confusing prórroga (“extension”) with renovación (“renewal”). Thus tácita reconducción more appropriately denotes the “automatic extension” of a lease (if, as indicated in the DEJ’s definition above, fifteen days after the contract expires neither party has given notice of termination to the other).

*Código Civil, arts. 1566-1567.

Translating “hechos” across Legal Disciplines


One of my lawyer students of Legal English recently asked me how to translate hechos, whether they are “acts,” “facts,” “events” or something else. And of course I had to reply that it depends on the context (in legal translation, context is everything). Here are a few examples from Spanish law with (possible / approximate) English translations (there may be others):

Derecho registral

  • hechos inscribibles (recordable events)

Derecho de daños

  • responsabilidad por hechos propios (personal liability)
  • responsabilidad por hechos ajenos (vicarious liability)

Derecho procesal

  • hechos aducidos (facts alleged [in pleadings, etc.])
  • hechos controvertidos (facts in issue; facts in dispute)
  • hechos no controvertidos (undisputed/uncontested facts)
  • hechos probados (proven facts; facts as found)
  • hechos notorios (facts that are common knowledge)
  • hechos notorios no necesitados de prueba (judicial facts; judicially-noticed facts)
  • hechos nuevos o de nueva noticia (new or after-discovered evidence)

Derecho penal

  • hecho típico (criminal offense; act/action/conduct defined as a criminal offense)
  • hecho constitutivo de la infracción penal (conduct constituting a criminal offense)
  • lugar de los hechos (crime scene)

Derecho tributario

  • hecho imponible (taxable event)

Derecho de familia

  • unión de hecho (nonmarital union; domestic partnership)
  • pareja de hecho (nonmarital/unmarried couple)
  • guarda de hecho (de facto guardianship)

Derecho de sociedades

  • comunicación de hechos relevantes (notice/disclosure of material events)

Derecho contable

  • hechos posteriores al cierre (events after the reporting period)

Source: Rebecca Jowers. Léxico temático de terminología jurídica español-inglés. Valencia: Tirant lo Blanch, 2015.

“Entertain” Used in Legal Contexts

Common Words with Uncommon Legal Meanings

In everyday English “entertain” is most often associated with providing amusement or with offering hospitality to a guest. But as a verb, “entertain” has the additional meaning of “to bear in mind” or “to take under consideration,” and in legal contexts means “to give judicial consideration to” (Black’s). Thus “the court entertained the motion for continuance” indicates that the judge considered the party’s request for a delay (but may or may not have decided to grant it). Here are a few examples of how “entertain” is used in this context:

  • In no event shall any judge entertain such motion if it be made after the making of an opening statement by counsel for plaintiff.
  • Court finds that it cannot entertain the case because there was no dispute between the parties on the date when the application was filed.
  • The judge will not entertain any written discovery motions until the Court has been provided with an opportunity to informally mediate the parties’ dispute.
  • In the absence of leave from an appellate court, a trial judge lacks jurisdiction to entertain a motion while judgment is pending on appeal.