Spanish Translations of “Breach”

Legal Terms with Multiple Meanings

“Breach” is one of those multi-hued words in Legal English that requires many different translations when rendered into Spanish. “Breach of contract” (also: “contract default” or “contractual nonperformance”) is the English term for incumplimiento contractual. “Breach of trust” may be rendered as abuso de confianza, while “breach of fiduciary duty” corresponds to what in Spanish corporate law is termed adminstración desleal, describing the acts of a director or manager when acting ultra vires.

“Breach of duty” is sometimes rendered as omisión del deber, while “breach of the peace” (also: “disturbing the peace” or “disorderly conduct”) is an offense akin to the Spanish alteración del orden público or atentado contra la paz pública. Likewise in criminal law contexts, “breach of sentence” (also: “sentence violation”) is quebrantamiento de condena, while “prison breach” (also: “prison break”) more specifically denotes a fuga de prisión or, more formally, quebrantamiento de la condena privativa de libertad. And as a final example, a “data breach” entails some form of violación de la seguridad de datos, as defined in the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (Reglamento General de Protección de Datos).

Ellipsis in Legal Spanish: circunstancias modificativas

Ellipsis in Legal Spanish

circunstancias modificativas

agravantes; atenuantes; eximentes

Circunstancias modificativas is an ellipted expression used in Spanish criminal law contexts to denote certain circumstances that may aggravate or mitigate criminal liability, or even exonerate a person accused of an offense. The complete expression, with the ellipted part included is circunstancias modificativas de la responsabilidad criminal” (articles 19-23 of the Spanish Código Penal).

Other ellipses used in this context include agravantes (circunsancias agravantes) or “aggravating circumstances” that may increase the degree of criminal liability; atenuantes (circunstancias atenuantes) or “mitigating circumstances” that may reduce the degree of culpability; and eximentes (circunstancias eximentes), literally “exonerating circumstances” that, if successful at trial, may preclude criminal liability and which are known broadly in English as “defenses to criminal liability.”

Read more here and here.

False Friends: accidental and “accidental”

false friends purple

Accidental has several meanings in which the term cannot be appropriately rendered in English as “accidental.” This is the case when accidental is used in the sense of “provisional” or “temporary.” Thus, for example, the expression secretario accidental denotes an “acting (or) interim secretary.” Likewise, el decano accidental del Colegio de Abogados refers to an “acting (or) interim president of the Bar Association.”

Accidental may also mean sin formalidad jurídica (DLE). In that regard, in Spanish business law sociedad accidental is another expression for contrato de cuentas en participación, an informal business vehicle in which a party may privately contribute capital to a business venture with a view to sharing in the profits (arts. 239-243 of the Spanish Código de Comercio). As used in this context, sociedad accidental has often been translated as “partnership” or “joint venture,” although in Spain it lacks the usual legal formalities required to set up most businesses, being a simple pacto que no requiere escritura ni inscripción en el Registro Mercantil.