Case law/Rechtsprechung

This came up on a legal translators' mailing list, and I can't resist blogging it. Apparently it has been argued that the German word Rechtsprechung should not be translated as case law, because the term case law implies the whole common-law system of judicial precedent, and German law has nothing like that. (This is an imprecise quotation: the suggestion was said to be that it is inappropriate to refer to court decisions of countries like Germany and Austria, which emphasize codification, as case law). I disagree with this: there are differences between the importance of cases in German and English law, but the term case law can still apply to both. And it is applied to both, for instance by Markesinis, by Raymond Youngs, by other writers on German law. A search on German case law in Google Books will produce many examples, some of them good. Markesinis uses precedent too. That is probably a clearer term for non-English speakers, but it certainly does not suggest that cases are not law in Germany. Anyway, the upshot is that for me, German Rechtsprechung and English case law are close enough to allow the translation. The translation of legal terminology often hinges on how close the translator finds two legal institutions. (I don't translate Rechtsanwalt as solicitor, unlike many, because I think it's too narrow - I prefer attorney, even though the term may be seen as historical or American). Incidentally, German case law was relied on by judges when the Civil Code was first introduced: it was not a blank slate or Stunde Null as far as civil law was concerned. Cases are used to fill gaps in codes and statutes, and in some cases this happens by the legislature's design. Commentaries on codes and statutes are full of references to cases. Of course, a court is not obliged to be bound, but it often will follow cases. The Federal Constitutional Court binds itself too ...Zum vollständigen Artikel

Cookies helfen bei der Bereitstellung unserer Dienste. Durch die Nutzung erklären Sie sich mit der Cookie-Setzung einverstanden. Mehr OK