LawTermFinder – Australian family law terminology resource

LawTermFinder is a database of terms used in Australian Family Law:

This LawTermFinder homepage gives access to an online termbank of words and phrases frequently used in Australian Family Law. Its compilation is a joint project between the Attorney General’s Department and Macquarie University’s TermFinder group, in the Centre for Language Sciences. Legal consultants to the project are from Macquarie Law School, the ANU College of Law, and a specialist family law practice in Sydney, Dettmann Longworth Lawyers.

The termbank’s pages give you accessible definitions of terms used in family law and in mediation services. There are examples of each term in use, taken from recognised sources. Where possible, diagrams are shown of clusters of terms whose meanings are interconnected. There are linked audio-recordings of the definitions, and links to legal documents for those seeking more information.

You can enter terms and get definitions, example sentences and related terminology, sometimes with further links both internal and external. I tried best interests, contact, and mediation.


(family law)

Listen: click to listen

Grammar: noun
plural: contacts
Definition: a legal arrangement by which a child can communicate and spend time with the parent they do not live with
1. The Court should endeavour to ensure that any case with orders providing for supervised contact in a Children’s Contact Service is relisted as soon as possible before an appropriate judicial officer.

2. Recently, there has been increasing emphasis on the need to recognise the costs of contact of non-resident parents who have ongoing and regular contact with their children.
Related Compound: contact arrangements, contact parent, contact visit, supervised contact, contact order
Usage Note: The term “contact” as used in the 1995 amendments was replaced by “time with” in the 2006 amendments to the Family Law Act.

Via From Words to Deeds


Qualetra stands for Quality in Legal Translation!

This is from the Eulita site, where there is more, including a preliminary programme:

QUALETRA: Launch conference
Thursday 4 April 2013, 9.30 h to 18.00h

London Metropolitan University,
84 Moorgate, London EC2M 6SQ

QUALETRA – Quality in Legal Translation

The aim of the Qualetra launch conference is to get an update of the current situation of legal translation in Europe, and to bring together all relevant stakeholders together to discuss the content of the project. The conference is open to practitioners and trainers of legal translation. The registration fee is €50. The number of conference participants is limited to 120. Early registration is therefore recommended. The deadline for registration is 1 March 2013.

The language of the conference is English, interpreting into French will be provided.

After the conference, the proceedings will be published online on this website.


This is a note to myself on a word I just came across for the first time: totality. I think it means the same as the German Gesamtstrafe: you form a complete criminal sentence which is less than its components. This is an oversimplification, just a note.

From the excellent UK Criminal Law Blog, Four men jailed for ‘fatal crash for cash’ plot:

As there were some pleas and some trials, it is not as simple as working out each sentence in isolation. For example, one may think you add the right sentence for causing death by dangerous driving to the right sentence for conspiracy to commit fraud, and (where appropriate) add on the right sentence (minus a discount for the plea) for perverting the course of justice.

However, there is a principle called totality which requires a sentence to be moderated, taking in to account the overall criminality. For example, where a burglar pleads to 25 burglaries, and each burglary is worth 12 months, the correct sentence is plainly not 25 years.

What judges usually do is take a view of the case as a whole; what sentence properly reflects all the offences?

A Google search (totality Gesamtstrafe) revealed them both on the same page of a book about international criminal law, at marginal no. 636 of Völkerstrafrecht
by Gerhard Werle, Florian Jeßberger.

Shall or must? recommendations for UK parliament

Parliamentary counsel, also known as parliamentary draftsmen, draft bills for legislation. The latest Drafting Guidance (December 2011) can be downloaded from this page as a PDF file. It’s 84 pages long and deals with many language points. Have a look at the table of contents!

The reading list at the end has two of my favourite books: Butt and Castle on Drafting and Thornton on Legislative Drafting. It also has four weblinks to similar materials in Australia, Canada and the UK.

This useful link comes from a colleague (thanks, Siriol) via Daphne Perry, a lawyer who is the UK representative of Clarity. At the Clarity website, which I must have mentioned at some time in the past nearly ten years of this blog’s life, you can see earlier copies of their journal. A large number of arguments for and against shall and must are given. The conclusion is that shall is used less than it used to be, and some of the current uses in legislation may be where a statute has been amended and the drafters did not want to change the usage where the original used shall.

In relation to translation: one reason to avoid shall which Daphne Perry mentioned is that she heard several Arab lawyers say they were told always to translate ‘shall’ into Arabic as expressing an obligation – but of course, it is used in several other ways too. (I have less of a problem translating into English and using ‘shall’ only to express an obligation).

Particularly interesting on the perennial debate about using ‘shall’ or ‘must’ is a 2008 paper by the Drafting Techniques Groups at parliamentary counsel, another PDF file: Shall. It discusses the non-legal use of shall too. I am not keen on the use of the term ‘simple future’, although I know what they mean. There is reference to the Scottish and Irish reverse the English usage of I/we shall – you/he/she/they will,

E.g. the drowning Scotsman who was left to his fate because he cried “I will drown and no one shall save me!”

but I was surprised to read

But the first person “shall” lingers on in questions like “Shall I make a cup of tea?”

That usage is not ‘simple future’, but modal. But my Northern Irish colleague would understand it as ‘simple future’!

Incidentally, googling for “drafting techniques group” also brings up other papers, for instance on gender-neutral language.

Crowdsourced Chinese legal translation/ZH>

At a website has been set up to enable crowdsourced translation of legal texts from Chinese to English and vice versa. The system used is the wonderfully named Transposh. Apparently this is a system that WordPress bloggers can use to get their blog translated both automatically and by their users.

The site is new – the forum is pretty empty but may become interesting.

Via Chinese Law Prof Blog

Human rights and the EU/Britische Zeitungen verwechselt EU (wieder)

On the UK Human Rights Blog, Adam Wagner explains to The Sun (as if it was interested) that the European Court of Human Rights has nothing to do with the European Union:

No, The Sun, the Human Rights Act is not the EU

I was watching the England football team beat Ireland in the World Cup earlier when I was tweeted a cracking bit of legal gobbledegook from The Sun: Youngsters at risk after EU ruling. According to The Sun, Now the “EU could let fiends like him prey on your children“.

and at the end

And did you notice my error at the beginning of the post? England beat Ireland in the Rugby Six Nations, not the football World Cup. Did it jar? Don’t be so pedantic. EU, European Convention, football, rugby – what really is the difference?

There’s a wonderful book by Tom Kennedy, Learning European Law – A Primer and Vade-mecum – unfortunately dated 1998 and I presume not likely to be updated. One of the topics he deals with in the introduction is the prevalence of newspaper howlers, and he has a whole page of them, including some from The Times and The Financial Times.

The European Commission lists Euromyths.

Using CAT tools for legal translations/CAT-Programme auch für juristische Übersetzungen

There’s a useful post on Percy Balemans’ blog, Translation is an Art, about using CAT tools for non-repetitive texts: The Usefulness of CAT Tools.

She gives seven reasons why CAT tools can be useful even if your text is not repetitive.

Even if texts are not repetitive, consistency is still important. The concordance feature in your CAT tool allows you to search for words or phrases so you can check how they were translated before. This is also very useful in case you haven’t got a terminology list (yet).
Quality control
These days, CAT tools offer more and more quality control options. You can have your translation checked for, among other things, correct punctuation, conversion of numbers, tags and consistent terminology. If, like me, you tend to mix up numbers (typing 1956 instead of 1965 for example), it’s good to know you no longer have to worry about this, because your CAT tool will warn you when you’ve made a mistake.

I’m really pleased to read this summary because when I started using a translation memory program – STAR Transit – in 1998, and much later, I would hear colleagues saying ‘You can’t use it for legal translation’. It really annoyed me when people who knew nothing about what the programs can do simply said to younger colleagues: Forget about CAT in your field.

Sure, the original idea of such software was that if you were translating a computer manual, for instance, and the same sentence came up frequently, you could automatically ensure that your approach remained the same. Your speed of translating would increase by many times (and you would fall into the grasp of those translation agencies who pay less if their source text is repetitive).

But those programs did more than just show you repetitions. My program links up to one or more terminology databases I’ve created over the years containing solutions to problems I’ve handled. It highlights in the German text the words I have recorded in my dictionaries. Nowadays, it even links to past translations and suggests phrases (I find this less useful for contract translations than I thought I would). It would allow me to check a translation against a glossary to see if I’ve been consistent. It will check all the numbers in a document to see if I’ve made a typo. It will also check a number of other routine things (see the quote above).

This quality control does not usually save me time. There are some cases where it speeds up working on a repetitive text – for instance, a client sends two almost-identical contracts, or an update of an earlier one. There I could use the function in Word to compare documents, but the CAT tool makes it much easier.

LATER NOTE: See also Jayne Fox on the same topic.

What’s going on in Fürth?/Was passiert in Fürth?

Regular readers will be wondering what’s happening in Fürth? I’ve been doing a lot of work, but so has the beaver. Situation on January 5:

February 6:

Meanwhile, there is a fight going on about the demolition of the Park Hotel. The City Council appear to believe that allowing a rather small shopping centre to be built while removing the famous banqueting hall (a place a bit like the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool but which no one has shown any interest in since the 1950s) and replacing the historic front with boring modern architecture would save the town centre from decline, whereas others wish to preserve the historic front (which again, no one has seen since the 1950s) and the banqueting hall (we were allowed in there recently) at the expense of the potential small shopping centre.

This is the 1950s yellow exterior of the Park Hotel, which is quite nice really but none of the plans intend to keep it:

There is or was already a shopping centre in Fürth, known as the City Center. It was never terribly wonderful and has the distinction of having 351 owners, which makes it hard to sell. I was surprised yesterday when coming back from Nuremberg on the underground to hear the announcement ‘Exit here for Line 1 train to City Center and Fürth’ (the City Center is in a kind of limbo but in decline after a failed sale).

City Center in the Fürth Wiki (in German)

Here you can find a picture of the Park Hotel as it might be with its historic façade hidden behind the yellow). It looks very nice but it’s not going to happen, folks! If you scroll down, you can also see the ceiling construction of the banqueting hall (Festsaal). This would be very easy to restore, but when it was opened to the public for a couple of hours the ceiling could not be seen.

Misdirected emails/Email-Adressen, die einander ähnlich sind

I know I’m not the only Margaret Marks out there, but I do keep getting emails sent to one in Washington State, I believe.

You may find this helpful for you and your husband to use when planning meals on Sundays. And that frozen meal was called Organic Bistro.

Have a great week!

Erika Brown, RD, CD
20/20 Lifestyles Dietitian

A meal planner was attached.