Multilingual Analysis of Macrostructure in Online Lower Court Judgments of England and Wales, Germany, France and Spain: A Comparative Summary and Phraseology
Keywords:Court judgments, Macrostructure, England and Wales, Germany, France, Spain, legal system, comparative study, phraseology, corpus analysis
Court judgments are documents in legal proceedings, defined as: “a court’s final determination of the rights and obligations of the parties in a case” (Garner, 2006: 388). The main importance of this legal document lies in the fact that it covers all private and public problems that may arise in society. Owing to this fact, court judgments can be found in most of the legal systems worldwide. The aim of this article is to establish a comparative study of court judgments from four legal systems and written in the following languages: English, German, French and Spanish. This paper is focused on the macrostructural structure of court judgments in four legal systems: England and Wales, Germany, France and Spain. Thanks to this contrastive analysis, we may establish some patterns in court judgments written in four languages and issued in four different legal systems in order to set some patterns that would be appropriate for legal professionals, translators and interpreters, linguistics, and other academic experts. This digital corpus is composed of 60 multilingual court judgments: 15 of England and Wales, 15 of Germany, 15 of France, and 15 of Spain, issued recently (between the years 2019 and 2020) from different lower courts of these four legal systems. This study includes an internal analysis of the structure observed in all the court judgments, main terminology in the four languages with a brief explanation in English and the common phraseology in every court judgment of our multilingual corpus. This paper also includes the masculine and feminine forms in German, French and Spanish nouns, such as the French noun “Demand-eur [masculine] /-euse [feminine]”. Thanks to these findings, we may find some linguistic parameters for experts to understand these essential court documents, how to compare their linguistic similarities and how to overcome the main linguistic differences of court judgments in these languages in order to make this study practical in several disciplines, such as foreign language teaching, specialized translation of comparative law, among many others.