Español jurídico: Translating excepciones procesales

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In Spanish civil procedure excepción denotes a “defense” (“defence,” in British English) that a defendant may raise or a “motion” that he may make in court in response to the allegations in a plaintiff’s complaint, and in this context the term cannot really be translated literally as “exception.” In that regard, there are “excepciones procesales/de forma” (procedural or formal defenses) that seek to defeat a lawsuit before it can proceed, and “excepciones materiales/de fondo” that address the merits of the case (affirmative defenses). In practice, the term excepciones generally denotes procedural defenses. In Spanish the defendant deduce, alega o formula excepción, all of which may be expressed in English as “raising a defense.”

There are quite a few defenses that can be raised in Spanish civil proceedings. Here are some of the most common with possible English renderings:

 –excepción de falta de competencia objetiva o territorial o sumisión a arbitraje (defense of lack of jurisdiction, improper venue, or submission to arbitration)

–excepción de falta de legitimación activa (defense that the plaintiff’ lacks standing)

–excepción de falta de legitimación pasiva (defense that the defendant lacks standing)

–excepción de falta de capacidad (lack of capacity defense)

–excepción de falta de litisconsorcio activo necesario (defense of failure to join/nonjoinder of an indispensable plaintiff)

–excepción de litisconsorcio pasivo necesario (defense of failure to join/nonjoinder of an indispensable defendant)

–excepción de litispendencia (lis pendens/another action pending defense)

–excepción de prescripción (statute of limitations defense)

–excepción de cosa juzgada (res judicata defense)

excepción de falta de agotamiento de la vía administrativa;  excepción de falta de reclamación previa en vía administrativa (defense of failure to exhaust available administrative remedies)

excepción de inadecuación de procedimiento (defense of improper proceeding)

Legal Look-alikes: derecho de audiencia vs. “right of audience”

Legal _Look-alikes_

These look-alike expressions concern two different aspects of procedural guarantees. Derecho de audiencia (also known as derecho a ser oído) is a party’s “right to be heard” in judicial or administrative proceedings. As expresed in the American Bar Association’s Model Code of Judicial Conduct, “a judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or to that person’s lawyer, the right to be heard according to law.” The Diccionario de Español Jurídico underscores that this is a principio general del Derecho según el cual nadie puede ser condenado sin ser oído y vencido en juicio; implica dar a las partes la oportunidad de intervenir en el proceso, con independencia de que la utilicen o no.

In contrast, “right of audience” generally denotes an individual’s right to speak on behalf of another person in court and, more specifically, a lawyer’s right to appear in court to represent and defend the interests of his client. In Spain (and, generally, in Spanish-speaking jurisdictions) all lawyers normally have right of audience (i.e., the distinction between the roles of solicitor and barrister does not exist). “Right of audience” may be rendered in Spanish as derecho de actuar ante los tribunales.

Legal Meanings of despacho

Common Words with Uncommon Legal Meanings

Despacho is one of those common words that can have several different meanings in legal contexts. It is perhaps most often used in the expression despacho de abogados, one of the Spanish terms for “law firm.”

In the context of customs law (Derecho aduanero), despacho aduanero denotes “customs clearance” and despachar mercancías en aduanas is “to clear the goods through customs.” In EU customs terminology, despacho is often expressed as “release:” despacho a libre práctica (“release for free circulation”); despacho a consumo (“release for consumption”).

And in a third sense, despacho can also be a synonym for título, being defined in the DLE as documento escrito, título o comisión que se da a alguien para algún empleo o cargo. As an example, after finishing their training at the Escuela Judicial in Barcelona, newly-graduated Spanish judges receive their diplomas and assignments (destinos) in a ceremony known as entrega de despachos.