Friday, August 19, 2005


The use of the term "brocard" in English is not really wrong, but it is very rare. Its use is far more common in French or Italian law. English would use the term "maxim" to mean just about the same thing. Even more precisely, "legal maxim" would distinguish these sayings from maxims which can arise in many other areas of knowledge. Maxims have no formal legal weight, but can be influential as representative of a society's accumulated wisdom. Eclecticology, Friday, July 12, 2002
Here we are again :-)) Another difference, then, on "Maxim". Or, better, a case of false friends: the corresponding word is in our system mainly related to the principle that a judge expresses in its interpretation of the law inside the sentence, while a brocard is a referring expression, a sort of motto or proverb mainly used by students (and teachers) to better learn and keep in mind some concepts. Our maxims do have a legal relevance (at least for the sentence which they are contained into), even if a following sentence can freely contain opposite concepts, thus reverting the previous principles. Do you think we need some redirecting? It seems that we are getting closer to the moment we'll have to list a few differences among legal systems... :-) Gianfranco If these questions about law were easy, the lawyers would be starving. I even had to pause over your use of the word "sentence" to make sure that you weren't talking about the prison term or fine that a judge levies after an accused has bee found guilty. It's the rarity of the word in English that makes the redirection advisable. Perhaps we can find a way of resolving the subtleties there. An article explaining the differences between the two main legal traditions is a great idea, but very difficult to write. We should only (!) identify the elements and the concepts which are different, the false friends, and whatever might deserve to be noted. ;-)
No, it won't be easy... but I believe we can make it, little by little.
Ah, our "sentence" is only the latin sententia, the response of the judge. It is a different concept from the latin poena, that I believe you call penalty, which is contained into the sentence, is a part of it (even if obviously it is its most evident concrete effect). Gianfranco
Your table looks beautiful, and it's an excellent proposal. I'll give some thought into what the article title should be. As to "sentence". The "sententia" usage is another one that's almost unknown here. When the "poena" interpretation didn't make sense I settled on the most commen english usage, the grammatical one, for which you would use "frase".