This study (which replaces an earlier article published at the law journal Χρονικά Ιδιωτικού Δικαίου - Chronicles of Private Law, vol. 12 (2012)) examines issues arising from the translation of authoritative legal texts (constituting sources of law in the legal system under consideration), with an emphasis on legislation.
The first part of the article examines instances where authoritative texts of the same legal instrument co-exist in two or several languages, notably in the case of international uniform law instruments, such as the Vienna Convention on the International Sale of Goods (CISG).
The second part addresses instances of an instrument being translated to another, official language. After considering instances from the modern legal history of Greece (the codification projects of the Bavarian Regency in the early nineteenth century and the hellenization of German Pandectists' legal concepts; the integration of the Italian system of land registry established in part of the Dodecanese into postwar Greece), the article focuses on the case of Cyprus and the linguistic transition of that country's legal system from English (the language of the British colonial regime and source language of much legislation still in force) to Greek (official language post-independence and the native language of the population's vast majority). This transition was complicated - and its completion postponed for decades - by political emergency and the power politics within the Cypriot legal elite.
The article is motivated by the unique cultural and linguistic environment of Cyprus law (a peculiar breed of a a mixed legal system, with common law dominating what has been traditionally regarded by comparative lawyers as the "heart" of a legal system (private, criminal, procedural law and much of the court system). It complements other work by the author on the legal system of Cyprus from a comparative-law point of view.
- Cyprus law; Greek law; legal translation; contract law; tort law;
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/nikitas_hatzimihail/7/