Mon, Sep. 18, 2006

Code by Lawyers for Lawyers

CK - Washington.   Not so fast--the German civil code may be available in a new, government-sponsored English translation but don't rely on it unless you are trained in that aspect of German law.

That's the warning renowned lawyer-translator Margaret Marks of Transblawg offers on September 17, 2006. In that context, she publishes from the introduction to a comparative analysis of laws an excellent overview, in German and English, of the logical structure of the Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch.

The lack of such structure, in particular the factoring out of the general part, Allgemeiner Teil,--similar to structural elements in functions and procedures in programming languages,--bewilders German lawyers in foreign legal systems while foreign lawyers find unexpected traps in the German code. Marks suggests that the translation, like the original statute, requires background knowledge.


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