Translation-related and foreign language interpretation issues often come up in the courtrooms, as well as when conducting business in the EU. According to the EU case C-161/06 Skoma-Lux, the Court of Justice held that the obligations contained in the European Commission’s legislation that was not published in the Official Journal using the language of the Member State in which enforcement is sought cannot be enforced against that State. In this particular case, a specific Article in the Act of Accession for the Czech Republic was not published in Czech. The reason for this ruling – which is applicable to both legal and natural persons in a Member State – is to allow the party to familiarize itself with the law in a language they can understand. According to the court, this is only possible with the act being translated into the language of all parties it applies to.
For the attorney practicing before the EU or dealing with EU law, it is important to keep in mind the basic principle of this decision and its extent. Behind this decision is the belief that a party cannot be held to a legal requirement if that requirement is not written in their native language. Whether it be an official act, or a contract, or a business arrangement, this principle is likely to apply. For this reason, when dealing with EU clients and law, it is essential to obtain a foreign language translation of all the legal documents and papers- in the native language of all the involved parties.
To read “Multi Language Translation, Professional Language Translation, and Privacy in the EU Workplace- the International Employer’s Perspective,” click here. And to read “Certified Courtroom Translators and Document Interpreters, and Workplace Bullying in a Multi-Lingual Setting”, click here.