Legal Latin’s Legacy in Modern Languages and Systems of Law

  • Roger S. FisherEmail author
Reference work entry


Legal terms that have a Latinate origin are so prevalent in the modern world that virtually every legal practitioner makes some use of them in writing or speaking about the law. The lingering legacy of this “Legal Latin” is a complex sociolinguistic phenomenon. While tradition, colonialism, and elitism are the conventional explanations for the continuing prevalence of Legal Latin in specific legal cultures or jurisdictions, they do not offer a sufficient account for the persistence of the language in the modern world. The best explanation may simply be that Legal Latin has always flourished in a multilingual environment, whether the Roman Empire, Renaissance Europe, the Holy Roman Empire and its successor (the European Union), or the modern world of globalization and international institutions.


Legal sociolinguistics Jurilinguistics Loan translations Calques Comparative law 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HumanitiesYork UniversityTorontoCanada

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