Translating & Interpreting Foreign Statutes

This article aspires to address academics and anyone who must translate or interpret foreign statutes without previous in-depth education in the alien language and law. To make matters more interesting, the author concentrates on the plight of the minority of judges who want to arrive at independently reasoned interpretations of foreign law when given the opportunity. Most judges strive mightily to avoid even having to glance at foreign laws. And, when it becomes absolutely necessary to read a foreign code, most judges and litigators retain the centuries-old habit of relying too slavishly on tendentious expert testimony. Furthermore, while most states and the federal courts currently allow proof of foreign law in a manner similar to domestic law, vestiges of the old approach remain, wherein parties must prove foreign law as an issue of fact. Commentators have long criticized this outmoded approach.