The German Legal System and Legal Language, Fifth Edition

The German Legal System and Legal Language, Fifth Edition


A clear and authoritative guide to the German legal system and its special language.


Author: Howard D. Fisher | Format: Hard Back (156 x 246) | ISBN: 978-1-905536-51-1 (Hardback Book) | Price: €149 | Approx 900 pages | Published Feb 2013

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The German Legal System and Legal Language is an established, reliable and practical resource and learning tool designed to give native English speakers a clear and authoritative guide to the German legal system and its special language. The book, now in its 5th edition, has been fully revised and updated. It includes a full suite of appendices as part of the published work, comprising a list of abbreviations, a vocabulary of selected German and Latin words and phrases, a table of cases and a paragraph register.

Even within the European Union, the law and legal terminology of a different country is not something that one has to deal with every day. Nevertheless, despite the territoriality of law, the reasons for contact with the legal system of a foreign state can be diverse. People are then confronted by a bewildering array of rules, concepts and procedures, all formulated in a strange, technical language, and those embroiled in an international dispute, whether lawyers or not, are often at a loss to understand what is going on `on the other side of the fence´. The complex and multi-layered architecture of a particular legal system, with its distinctive national methods, traditions and values does the rest.

As far as the Federal Republic of Germany is concerned, this book provides the English-speaking reader with a broad and systematic survey in the English language of some of the main areas of German public and private law. It is supported by detailed, cross-referenced notes, an extensive, specialized vocabulary, a bibliography and a paragraph register. The meanings of innumerable German legal expressions and principles are clarified. In addition, attention is occasionally drawn to equivalent concepts and norms found in English law. Together, this material represents a unique compendium of information on a subject in which accuracy and experience can be vital. The work is the product of knowledge gradually acquired by its author, who is a translator and interpreter and a former UK Solicitor and German Rechtsanwalt, over 25 years.

The new, consolidated and revised 5th edition contains many pioneering explanations and continues to be a valuable source of reference for anyone interested in the German legal system and legal language or who, for professional or private reasons, becomes involved in legal affairs in that part of the world.

About the Author

Howard D. Fisher has practised law in both the UK and Germany and is a sworn interpreter and accredited translator in Berlin.



  1. Historical Introduction
  2. The Federal State
  3. The Supreme Federal Organs
  4. The Supreme and Other Federal Authorities
  5. The ‘Länder’
  6. Local Government
  7. The Constitution (‘Grundgesetz’)
  8. The Basic Rights
  9. Public and Private Law
  10. Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB)
  11. Private Law: BGB Company Law and The Commercial Code (HGB)
  12. The Private Limited Company (GmbH)
  13. Civil Procedure
  14. Administrative Law
  15. Administrative Procedure
  16. Criminal Law
  17. Criminal Procedure
  18. Employment Law
  19. Business Law (‘Wirtschaftsrecht’)
  20. Private International Law
  21. International Legal Co-operation
  22. The Legal Profession and Court System


A. Vocabulary: selected German and Latin words and phrases
(with their English/legal meanings)
B. Abbreviations
C. Paragraph Register


4 reviews for The German Legal System and Legal Language, Fifth Edition

  1. Clarus

    The volume offers, due to its broadness, a good overview and first introduction into the German legal system, especially for lawyers having a common law background.
    The European Legal Forum, Issue 2-2009

  2. Clarus

    I bought the book in November, and it has already proved extremely useful to me, both wearing my freelance translator hat and as a part-time staff translator.
    Nigel Hulbert, December 2009

  3. Clarus

    …one of the essential tools for the legal translator’s toolbox.
    Kriemhild Zerling, The Capital Translator (Newsletter of NCATA), March 2006

  4. Clarus

    The arrival of the new edition of ‘Fisher’ is a great day for me as a legal translator. A marvellous resource.
    Paul Gretton, November 2008

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