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I'm from Austria, which is a german speaking country.

In the german language, in jurisprudence, we have lots of latin terms / expressions, because latin expressions seem to be more exact.

Is this also the case in the english speaking world?

Thanks alot.

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In the german language, in jurisprudence, we have lots of latin terms / expressions, because latin expressions seem to be more exact.

Is this also the case in the english speaking world?

You are correct that there are many Latin expressions in the English speaking legal world. You are not fully correct regarding the reasons that this is the case, and in some instances this means that you can't trust a Latin legal term to mean the same thing in common law jurisprudence as it does in civil law jurisprudence.

In England, Latin made its way into legal use because the clergy and literate Norman French elites spoke Latin for affairs of consequence and state and used it for that purpose in much the same manner that elites in India today use the English language. But, they were using Latin to document their own rulings and decisions in the feudal records which were largely based on tradition, common sense and local custom and practice. (This was also true in Scandinavia until the Scandinavians adopted legal codes based upon continental models in the 18th and 19th centuries or so.)

In Germany (and most of continental Europe) the situation was different. In the Roman Empire, the judicial role was delegated mostly to people we would call arbitrators these days, who issued written decisions in Latin after cases were litigated before them by people we would call lawyers today, and these were collected, edited, arranged by subject and published in books that are the equivalent of the legal digests or case reporters today.

When the Roman Empire collapsed, these fell into disuse, but monks continued to copy sets of them of future generations through the dark ages. Then, sometimes around the late Middle Ages/early Rennaisance it became fashionable for lords and officials making judicial determinations to reference these digests in their decision making on something of a grass roots basis until it became accepted practice after a few centuries for there to be formally trained jurists who were familiar with the digests and it was expected that these trained professionals relying on these historic Roman legal sources were the only legitimate way to make legal decisions.

This process is called the "reception" of Roman law in early modern Europe and was the foundation of the law in most continental European countries that ultimately became civil law countries until it was so jumbled and arcane that Napoleon streamlined it by having an expert prepare his civil code with the idea that it could be used to get fair and accurate legal resources without lawyers or legally trained jurists. Germany and Spain then copied this efforts in their respective national styles. Germany strove to be more detailed and more exactly accurate in codifying the Roman law substrate using "legal science" intended for use by legal professionals, and has a longer more detailed civil code with more major categories and more rigorously consistent used of defined terms throughout their codes as a result. Spain was, if anything, a bit more loose in drafting than the French, but made substantive adjustments to reflect local ideas on the correct rule of law. These codes, in turn, were used as models by almost everyone else in Europe.

To make a long story short then, Germany and other continental European countries use Latin legal terms not just because Latin was a common language of the clergy and literate elite, but because they were borrowing Roman legal terminology directly from Roman legal sources that had been preserved by monks in through the Middle Ages and then restored to active use in the early modern period, unlike the English, who were mostly coining Latin legal terms for non-Roman legal concepts or borrowing Roman legal terminology in an uninformed and frequently not technically accurate way compared to the way they were used by the trained legal scholars familiar with Roman legal sources on the continent.

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Yes, there is a lot of Latin in English law. Many jurisdictions have made a concerted effort to replace Latin terms with English except where the terms are common outside legal circles - a lot of Latin terms are sufficiently Anglicised that they can be considered English.

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