European Dictionary of Selected Legal Terms The words you need, the languages you need them in
ISBN 0-9545356-0-X Published by Eversheds LLP Edited by Geoffrey Morson . Designed by Epigram © Geoffrey Morson/Eversheds (2009)
The Eversheds EuropeanDictionary of Selected Legal Terms has been specifically designed with US corporate counsel in mind. It brings together in a handy pocket format a guide to more than 1000 legal and commercial expressions commonly encountered or used by US corporate counsel in business and in litigation situations in Europe. By covering these terms in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish, it extends to the EUmarkets which directly serve more than 300 million people. Expressions such as Six Sigma, due diligence, e-commerce, comfort letter, M&A, securitization, derivatives, GAAP, 10-K (and many others) are now so widely known and understood in Europe that no translation of them is normally required. They have entered the shared word base of international business and law. Internet words such asmeta-tagging, morphing, caching, spamming, spoofing, framing, cookies, etc. are not included here. They are internationally recognized in English, although their legal significance varies from country to country. Terms like “business method patent”, “poison pill”, “mezzanine finance”, “tagalong provision” and “earnout clause” may be widely recognized in their English and American forms but their legalsignificance may vary from country to country.
More importantly, even traditional English and American words for the most basic legal procedures and institutions are often elusive to translate and many have apparent meanings in foreign languages that can be quite misleading. In French, for example, the Judge in a court can, depending upon the circumstances, be a “juge”, or a “magistrat”, or a“conseiller” (not a “counselor” but a magistrate in certain French appellate courts). The French “raison sociale” does not mean “social reason”, but means “corporate name”. There are many other examples. Certain US legal expressions have no exact equivalent in EU law or in the law of any EU member state. Such terms as “diversity jurisdiction”, “Erie doctrine”, “removal to federal court”, “DIP financing”,“A/B/C reorganization”, “upstream merger”, “SLAPP suit”, “Markman hearing”, “race-notice”, “doctrine of equivalents”, “file wrapper estoppel”, “qui tam action”, “Rule 144 stock”, and “perfected security interest” come immediately to mind. It would probably be misleading to translate those. The important US constitutional phenomenon known as “pre-emption” is somewhat analogous to EU“harmonization” but the two should not be equated (anyway not yet). Similarly, quite a number
of US procedural terms (TRO, interlocutory appeal, summary judgment, JMOL, JNOV, ex parte, automatic stay) are tricky to translate because the foreign words cannot readily describe what an American lawyer will be accustomed to those terms meaning at home. We hope that this handy dictionary, small enough to fit intoyour pocket or briefcase, will help you with the cultural and legal diversity which exists within the EU. It is intended to provide a useful selection of up-to-date legal expressions that you will surely encounter in the main EU languages. There is a lot of law and a lot of legal expertise underlying all of this – and for advice you need only turn to Eversheds, one of the largest law firms in theworld. They speak your language – everywhere in Europe and in East Asia.
Special thanks to Alexandre de Goüyon Matignon (Eversheds Paris), to Alberto Piergrossi and Valentina Cassata (Eversheds Milan/Rome), to Carsten Rumberg (Eversheds German Desk) and to Julian Diaz Rainey (Eversheds Spanish Desk) for their very helpful comments and suggestions. Geoffrey Morson is a US attorney...