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.