Whether you are an English lawyer learning legal Spanish or an English legal translator working from and / or into Spanish, the following are some resources (paid and free, available online and offline) that will prove useful for improving your legal Spanish and gain insight into the Spanish legal system:
EL ESPAÑOL JURÍDICO
If you are truly serious about taking your legal Spanish to the next level, the manual El español jurídico is a must-read. A work of reference amongst translators, El español jurídico was jointly written by linguists Brian Hughes and Enrique Alcaraz Varó and delves into the features of legal Spanish from several perspectives: grammar, style, terminology (ex. Spanish legal professions) and translation challenges, focusing on different areas of the law, including Constitutional Law, Civil Law, Criminal Law, Civil Procedural Law.
Other useful resources for legal Spanish learners and translators by the same authors include Legal translation explained and Diccionario de términos jurídicos inglés-español y español-inglés.
SPANISH LAW FOR NOTARIES
Primarily intended for English notaries involved in transactions between Spain and England / Wales, this manual provides a guide on the Spanish legal system, focusing on those areas where English notaries intervene. It is also an excellent resource for English lawyers who are learning legal Spanish.
Also, as the author puts it, this book is also very useful for legal translators working into and / or from Spanish because it includes practical information on transactions where the services of legal & sworn translators are usually required, as well as an Annex containing sample translations of typical documents handled by notaries.
The author, Javier Pérez-Manglano, is a Spanish abogado and is also qualified as a Notary Public in England and Wales. He is also a Sworn English / Spanish Translator.
SPANISH INSTITUTIONS’ WEBSITES
Some institutions offer information on their websites that can be useful for legal Spanish learners.
Under section ‘La justicia en España‘, Spanish Ministry of Justice (Ministerio de Justicia)’s website explains in detail how the Spanish judicial system is organized across the entire territory. This includes the different types of Spanish courts (juzgados, tribunales, audiencias) and their divisions (salas / secciones), as appropriate, as well as a description of the different branches of law that come within the scope of Spanish courts (civil, penal, contencioso-administrativo, laboral and militar). A very useful resource for getting acquainted with terminology. Access here.
The Center for Judicial Documentation (Centro de Documentación Judicial) of the General Council of the Spanish Judiciary (Consejo General del Poder Judicial) runs a directory where you can find judgements per different criteria, including the branch of law, type of court and division. You can access here.
Checking the latest legal news is important for helping you keep your legal Spanish up to date.
El Confidencial Jurídico offers interesting, high-quality articles, often written by lawyers. This is a useful resource both for beginners and more advanced legal Spanish learners.
Noticias.jurídicas.com also offers a wealth of news content, distributed in tags, helping you check what’s new on your particular area of interest.
Prestigious publishing houses specialising in legal matters such as Tirant Lo Blanch include a section for latest news on their website.
For ‘auditory’ learners, these are three very useful podcasts:
- UNED Humanidades (in Spanish) – available on ivoox. Focusing on humanities (history, philosophy, law, etc.), this podcast from the Spanish Open University (UNED) delves into concepts of the Spanish legal system, explained in plain and accessible Spanish.
- Tertulia Jurídica (in Spanish) – available on ivoox and Spotify. Recently launched, this podcast is specifically targeted at Spanish legal professionals. Whereas this podcast does not cover legal translation or legal language learning in particular, it provides an excellent way of familiarising with formulaic legal language and learning how to speak like a Spanish lawyer. Some of the topics covered include: interviews with legal professionals (el café jurídico), news in different areas of the law, legal aid, legal drafting.
- Universidad Miguel Hernández channel (in Spanish) – available on ivoox. An educational channel from the UMH (Universidad Miguel Hernández) with podcasts covering several areas of the law (Derecho Civil, Derecho Procesal, Responsabilidad Civil Extracontractual, Filosofía del Derecho, Derecho Tributario). A comprehensive option for learning about the Spanish legal System in an easier way.
DE LEY: MANUAL DE ESPAÑOL JURÍDICO
‘De ley: manual de español jurídico‘ workbook is targeted at Spanish students (B2 level) who wish to become proficient in legal Spanish. Whereas some activities are intended for instructor-led and group classes, others can be completed independently. There is a strong focus on legal vocabulary and phrases throughout the book.
BLOGS BY ANGLO-SPANISH FIRMS
Blogs run by Anglo-Spanish Law Firms can prove a valuable source of content not only for practising your reading skills in legal Spanish but also for getting familiar with Spanish private international law.
Examples include Scornik Gerstein LLP (visit Scornik’s blog in Spanish here) .
Finally, for more resources (including dictionaries, legal Spanish style guides and websites), visit my article ‘Recursos para el traductor jurídico de inglés’ here.