In nonlegal usage, “file” and its verb form “to file” are most often associated with the meanings archivo and archivar. In that sense, expediente is often the term that denotes a court’s (or a lawyer’s) “case file.” But in legal language “filing” is must often be translated as presentación while, as a verb, “to file” is generally rendered as presentar. In that regard, in procedural contexts “filing (or) entering an appearance (in the proceedings)” corresponds to a party’s personación (en la causa/en autos) in Spanish procedure. In civil litigation one may “file a complaint or counterclaim” (presentar una demanda o reconvención), while in criminal contexts one may “file (or) bring charges” (presentar una denuncia/querella). In family proceedings, a spouse may “file for divorce” (presentar demanda de divorcio), and in guardianship cases a potential guardian “files for guardianship” (promueve la constitución de la tutela). As a final example, in tax law contexts, one “files a tax return” (presenta la declaración de la renta).
2 thoughts on “Legal Meanings of “file” and “to file””
Once translators learn that presentación is the word for “filing” they often fail to see that “presentación” in connection with a negotiable instrument is “presentment” in English.
Thus, “presentación del cheque al pago” is “presentment of the check for payment.”
“Presentación de una letra de cambio” is “presentment of a bill of exchange.”
The word “presentment” may sound strange but it is the term used in § 3-501 of the Uniform Commercial Code in this connection.
Thanks! That’s a great addition to this entry: “presentación” = “presentment” in the context of negotiable instruments.