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Legal French

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  1. Legal French 7

  2. Historyof Legal French: Beginnings • 842 OathofStrasbourg: Latin and Old French • 12th and 13th c: Useofvernacularsinthechancelleriesof State beganspreadingthroughout Europe • PhiliptheFair (1268-1314) introducedFrench to the royal chancellery; the king’s examplespread to thechancelleriesofdukesandcounts, city administrationsandprivatedocuments • The king stressestheimportanceofdropping Latin fromtheadministrationoflawandgovernment

  3. Historyof Legal French: Beginnings • In 13th c. Frenchwidelyusedin northern France • Mid-13th c. Frenchwasestablishedlanguage for legal documents, at leastinthe north • 13th c.: over 2,000 documentsdrawnupinFrench • JudicialmatterspleadedinFrenchintheMiddleAgesin northern France

  4. Historyof Legal French: Beginnings • ParlementofParis, the royal court goingback to the King’s Council, became a specialised court organ inmid-13th c. • SittingsoftheParlement – heldinFrenchfromitsfoundations, itsjudgmentsdeliveredinthe same language, but recordedin Latin inorderto beenforcedthroughoutthecountry; witnessstatements – recordedin Latin • advocates – formallyforbiddenfrompleadingin Latin; eventhoserepresentingtheUniversityofParis had to use French

  5. Historyof Legal French: Beginnings • ExpansionofFrenchbeganaftertheHundredYearsWar (1337-1453), which had increasedthe power ofthe king of France • Linguisticunification – highlyusefulfromthestandpointoftheexerciseof power

  6. Historyof Legal French: Beginnings • Legal andadministrativelanguageofParisbegan to challenge Latin earlierthananyotherlanguage • Therefore, thegovernmentandthecourtsplayed a role of prime importanceinthedevelopmentofFrench; a largepartoftheirvocabularytransmitted to ordinarylanguage • Frenchorthographyalsogoesback to thepracticesofadministrativeandjudicialorgans

  7. Moderntimes • Status of Latin weakened as a resultoftheReformation • TheHumanists set upthe style ofthe Roman classics as the model – crippledthe use of Latin for everydaypurposes • 16th and 17th c. Frenchousted Latin ingovernmentandcourts

  8. Languagelegislation • DecreeofVillers-Cotterêt (1539): judgementsandproceduralactswere to bepronounced, recordedanddeliveredtothepartiesin “theFrenchmothertongueandnotinanyotherform”. • 1629 FrenchbecamethelanguageofChurchcourts • Languageofculture, literature, science

  9. Universities • At universities, the change wasslower • Inmid-17th c. Frenchlawfaculties – stillused Latin, traditionallanguageof Roman law, iuscommuneand canon law • In 1679 Louis XIV had Frenchlawincludedinlawfacultyprogrammes; somewhatlater, orderedthatthislawshouldbetaughtinFrench • TeachingofFrenchlawinFrench- onlytrulylaunchedin 18th c. • Legal thesesstillwrittenin Latin in 19th c.

  10. DiscardingRegionalLanguages • DecreeofLyon (1510) stillrefers to langue de pays • DecreeofViller-Cotterêt (1539) speaksexplicitlyofFrench - endofthe use ofthe Romance languagesoftheMidi • Judgementsandother legal documents had to bedrawnupinFrench, old languagesofprovincesexcluded; protestsinnon-Frenchspeaking regions • At the time oftheRevolution, 25 millioninhabitants: 6 milliondidnotunderstandFrench, 6millionunderstood it at thebasiclevel, 10 million had a passableknowledgeofFrench

  11. DiscardingRegionalLanguages • Revolutionarydecreesobliged civil servants to use Frenchanddrawup all publicdocumentsin it • French – thelanguageofthearmy • Compulsorymilitary service, the press, postalservicesandrailwaysincreasedthemovementofthepopulationandconsolidatedthe central administration

  12. QualityAssuranceof Legal Language • Legal Frenchgraduallybecamepetrifiedandincreasinglydifficult to understand • 1635 establishmentoftheAcadémieFrançaise – care for qualityassurance • Académiefoundthe style oflawcourtsoutoffashion, over-technicalandevenincomprehensible; this led lawyers to sticktotheirtraditionallanguageeven more strongly

  13. Styleofjudgments • UntiltheRevolution, Frenchjudgmentslackedgrounds; reasons: • 1) ParlementofParis – a high court, andstrenghteningitspositionbroughtabout power struggleswiththe king; thesestruggleswouldhavebeenaggravatedbyexplicitpresentationofgrounds for judgment, whichthe king mighthavefeltprovocative; 2) Requiringgroundswouldhavebeeninsulting to theauthorityof senior judges; as a result, publicastionofdecisionswasconsidereduseless, evenbanned

  14. Styleofjudgments • DuringtheRevolution, judgesbeganmotivatingtheirdecisionsagain, but groundswerelaconic, evenformal • Court reasoningconsistedessentiallyofarticlesoflaw • Inthe new ideology, in a judge’s work thequestiondidnoteven arise ofindependentlycreatinglaw – it involvedonlythemechanicalapplicationofstatutes • Formalgrounds – referonly to statute articles, concealingthecreativeaspectoftheiractivities, theformationoflawbycases

  15. Styleofjudgments • Statute articlesoccupy a central place inthegroundsofjudgments: groundsofotherkindslesscommon • Thefactthatthe Civil Procedure Coderequiresjudgments to bereasoned is notreflectedinthecontentofthegrounds

  16. Globalisationof Legal French: Diplomacy • Up to the 17th c. Latin wasthemainlanguageofinter-state relations • Bilateralandmultilateraltreaties – drawnupin Latin • Followingthe rise of France to a dominantposition, the use ofFrenchspreadintheinternational arena as a languageofdiplomacyandinternationallaw

  17. Globalisationof Legal French: Diplomacy • TheHoly Roman Empire insisted on the use of Latin, whileFrenchambassadorspresenteddocumentsinFrench • TheConventionofVienna (1736) andtheTreatyofAix-la-Chapelle (1748) – drawnupinFrench • From 1676, all ambassadorsof France spokeFrenchintheircountriesofaccreditation

  18. Globalisationof Legal French: Diplomacy • Frenchspread to internationaltreatiestowhich France wasnot a party • 18th c. internationaltreatiesin Latin – increasinglyrare • DominanceofFrench – sostrongthat it wasusedincaseswhereactionwasdirectedagainst France or evenincasesinvolving her defeat: at theCongressofVienna (1815) FrenchremainedthelanguageofnegotiationsandTreatylanguage • 1871, duringpeacenegotiationsfollowing Franco-Prussianwar, OttovonBismarckusedFrench

  19. Globalisationof Legal French: Diplomacy • Endof 18th c: the US decided to use onlyEnglishintheirdiplomaticrelations; • 20th c. Englishbegan to threatenthepositionofFrenchininternationalrelations, andacquireddominanceinthisfield

  20. Colonisation: Canada • 16th c. France became a colonial power: coloniesin North America • French Canada (1534-1760) • British Canada (1760-1867) • “Canadian Canada” (1867)

  21. Colonisation: Canada • Historyof legal language – closelylinked to legal translation • Beforethe British conquest- Canadian French – highquality • Afterthe British conquest - poortranslatorscorruptedthelanguage

  22. Colonisation: Canada • Endof 18th c. publiclawandthejudicialsysteminQuebecwereanglicised; thisrequiredrapidtranslationintoFrenchof a largenumberoflawsandother legal Englishtexts, to be applied to theFrench-speakingpopulation • LawswerepreparedexclusivelyinEnglishuntil 1867 • Translators – no specialisedtraining • Fastidiousnessandrepetitivenessof legal English – repeatedinlegalFrenchofQuebec (e.g. il seralevé, perçu et payé à sa Majesté ‘it shallberaised, leviedandpaid to His Majesty’ – repetitionofsynonyms)

  23. Colonisation: Canada • Betweentheearly 1790’s andthemid-19th c. legal Frenchin Canada movedvery far fromthatin France • French-Canadian legal languagebecameincreasinglyEnglish • Legal English – expressed a completelydifferent legal culture • French-Canadian legal texts – fullofanglicisms (acte ‘loi’ (act), délai ‘retard’ (delay); évidence ‘preuve’ (evidence), offence ‘infraction’ (offence)

  24. Colonisation: Canada • Actof Union (1840) prescribedthatEnglishwastheonlyofficiallanguagein Canada • StrongresistanceofFrenchspeakers • RecognitionofFrenchbypublicauthorities • TheConstitutionof 1867 recognisedthelanguagerightsofFrenchspeakers • 1960’s PeacefulRevolution – the status ofQuebecconsolidated

  25. Colonisation: Canada • Importanceof legal translationdecreasedthanks to autonomouspreparationoflawsinFrench • Today: French is theonlyofficiallanguageinQuebec • Quebec National Assemblyadopts all itslawsinFrench

  26. Colonisation: Canada • BothEnglishandFrench – officiallanguagesof Canada, but only at thelevelofthefederalgovernmentanditsinstitutions • Legal textsofthe Canadian parliament – alwaystranslatedintobothlanguages • Draftsof Canadian federallaws – workedoutsimultaneouslyinEnglishandFrench: co-drafting • Thequalityofthe original draft – more easilyrevealedbycomparingthetwolanguageversionsthanbyexamining a singleversion

  27. Colonisation: Canada • Terminological work andtheprincipleofco-draftinghavefreed Canadian FrenchfromthepatronageofEnglish • Canadian legislative work bringsfreshelementsintotheFrenchlanguagebecasuethespecificconditionsimposedby legal textsobligetheCanadians to becreators, surrenderingthementalcomfortcreatedbypreservingwhat is old andcertain

  28. Colonisation: Africa • 19th c. Frenchcoloniesin North AfricaandBlackAfrica • TheMaghreb (Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco) – multilingual regions • French – the sole officiallanguageoftheregionin 19th c.

  29. Maghreb • Intoday’s Maghreb, onlyArabic is theofficiallanguage; more peopletodaywith a commandofFrenchthan at theendofthecolonial era (French- languageofhighereducationandupwardsocialmobility)

  30. Sub-SaharanAfrica • French – sole officiallanguagein Benin, Burkina Faso, theDemocraticRepublicofCongo (Kinshasa), theRepublicofCongo (Brazzaville), theIvoryCoast, Gabon, Guinea, Mali, Senegal, Chad, Togo • Traditionaljustice, based on customarylawandadministeredbyvillageelders – Africanlanguages • InRwandaandBurundi- governmentandlocalcourts use regionallanguages, whilethe central authoritiesandhighercourts use French

  31. Sub-SaharanAfrica • Djibuti: justice is administeredinfourlanguages; highercourtsonlyoperateinFrench, whiletheIslamiccourts (shariacourts) always use Arabic • Incourtsapplyingtraditionalcustomarylaw, procedurallanguages: Arabic, Somali or Afar. • In all cases, judgments are drawnupinFrenchsothattheycanbeenforced

  32. RadiationofFrench Legal Culture • UniversityofParisfoundedin 13th c. • Professorscontributedgreatly to thedevelopmentof Canon lawandiuscommune • Addedimpetus to thetheoryofinternationalprivatelaw, esp. in 16th c. • ManyFrench legal works translatedintoItalianin 19th c.

  33. RadiationofFrench Legal Culture • Fromtheearly 19th c. severalforeigncountrieshavereceivedFrenchcodes, particularlythe Civil Code (1804) • The Civil Code - a model for correspondingcodesinvariouscountries (Rhineland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, Spain, Portugal, theNetherlands, Poland, Rumania; Quebec, Louisiana, Latin American countries; Egypt, Ethiopia, Maghreb)

  34. RadiationofFrench Legal Culture • Frenchadministrativejusticecontributed to thebirthof German administrative legal scienceinthe late 19th c.

  35. DefendingthePositionofFrench • The Age ofEnlightenment – Frenchwassowidespreadthattheexpression “French Europe” wasused • Politicaldominanceof France collapsedwiththedefeatof Napoleon • Frenchlanguage – retreatin Europe • ImportanceofEnglishand German on the rise

  36. The Link betweenRelatedLanguages • Frenchlaw – model abroad • French legal influence – esp. stronginItaly • Italianlawand legal sciencedevelopedinthedirectionindicatedbyFrenchmodels • New Italian legal termsoftencamefrom France • InItalian regions annexed to theFrench Empire (Piedmont, Parma, Piacenza, Liguria, Tuscany, Umbria, Lazio, Corsica) – decreesandadministrativecircularspublishedinbothFrenchandItalian

  37. The Link betweenRelatedLanguages • Rumanian Civil Code – almost a directcopyoftheFrench Civil Code • NotrepealedevenduringtheCommunist period • Rumanian civil lawterminology – based on French • The legal ordersystematisedinthe same wayin all Romance countries; similaritiesin legal terms – notmisleading

  38. Legal English • Royal courtsofmedievalEnglandusedlawFrench, developed on thebasisof Norman French • French – used as judiciallanguagein 13th and 14th c. • Legal EnglishandlegalFrenchoften use the same terms, but the legal systematicsandconceptual systems – different • Termsthatappearidentical do notnecessarily express the same concepts

  39. InternationalHomogeneityof Legal French: Belgium • Homogeneityofthe legal languagesof France andBelgium – French-speakingpartofBelgiumhastendeduntilrecently to look for inspirationalmostexclusively to the legal cultureof France, andnot to the legal cultureofDutch-speakingBelgium, not to mentionthatoftheNetherlands

  40. InternationalHomogeneityof Legal French: Switzerland • Legal FrenchofSwitzerland – partly original withrespect to Legal Frenchof France – legal traditionsessentiallyGermanic • German – thelanguageofpreparationoflaws • Zivilgesetzbuch (Civil Code) – translatedintoFrench • FusionofGermanicand Romance legal cultures • French-speaking legal circlesimitatethelanguageofthedominantGermaniclegalculture • Beliefthatconcordanceofcontentofthe German andFrenchvariantsoflawscanonlybeguaranteedbyliteraltranslationofterms

  41. InternationalHomogeneityof Legal French: Switzerland • Sometimes, themeaningof legal termsdiffersbetweenSwitzerlandand France • Decisionsofthe Swiss Federal Court correspondintheirbasicstructure to theFrenchtradition; as to syntax, arrangingthetextinnumberedparagraphsinaccordancewiththe progress ofargumentationtheyfollowtheGermanictradition; decisionsdeliveredinbothFrenchand German

  42. InternationalHomogeneityof Legal French: Canada • Quebec: commonlawofEnglishoriginintermingleswithlawofFrenchorigin: mixedlaw • Publiclawcomesfromcommonlaw, privatelaw is mainlycontinental • A French-style notarialprofession – animportant element oftheQuebec legal system • Hierarchyofsourcesoflaw - continental

  43. InternationalHomogeneityof Legal French: Canada • Quebec legal French: theneed to express traditionalcommonlawconceptsinFrenchand vice versa • In some cases – termsfromFrenchlawobtained a meaningdifferentfromthatin France: dangerofmistakesandmisunderstandingsin communications with France

  44. InternationalHomogeneityof Legal French: Canada • At the time whenEnglishcommonlawwascreated, legal circleswereusingFrench • Institutionspeculiar to commonlaw – expressedinFrench • Byhighlightingthe original formofcommonlawterms, it is possible to fashiontermsthat are authenticallyFrench, with a character at once old and new

  45. InternationalHomogeneityof Legal French: Canada • Terminological work enabledcompilationof legal dictionariescontaining, inFrench, theterminologyofvariousbranchesofcommonlaw (e.g. lawofproperty, trusts, torts) • “ThemixedcharacterofQuebec legal French is alsoinevidenceinthefactthat Latin maximsappearinginthisformofFrenchcomebothfromthetraditionalLatinofcommonlawyersandfromtheLatinused as establishedin France.”

  46. InternationalHomogeneityof Legal French: Africa • Sub-SaharanAfrica – customarylaws • TheFrenchcolonial power codified some ofthese • Customarylaws – inadequate for modernsociety; completedbyFrenchlaw • France abolishedcustomaryrulesiftheywereincontradictionwiththefundamentalEuropeanvalues, esp. incriminallaw • FrenchCriminalCode – applicablethroughoutFrench-ruledAfrica

  47. InternationalHomogeneityof Legal French: Africa • FrenchusedinBlackAfrica . The same as thatin France • North Africa – Islamictradition; Arabicquotationsin legal FrenchofMaghreb, notablyintraditionalbranchesoflawexpressingconceptsfromthesharia • LocaltraditionsandconditionsalsoreflectedinAfrican legal French

  48. Originofvocabulary • Latin termstransmittedfromAntiquitybycontinuoustradition (loi<lex, juge <judex, justice < iustitia, délit < delictum, société<societas) • Medieval Latin: contumace < contumax ‘contempt’, ‘non-appearancein court’ • Greek: démocratie, politique • Neologismswhichwereneverusedin Latin or Greek: autogestion, monoparental; today, legal neologismsofGraeco-Latin originoftencomefromEnglish

  49. Originofvocabulary • Italianloanwords: banqueroute, change • Englishloanwords: franchising, dumping, leasing

  50. Legal FrenchStyle: Textconstruction • Cartesianspirit: textsconstructedin a logicalandmethodologicalway • Legal rules – systematicallyassembledincodes