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viernes, 24 de abril de 2015

English Tips for Spanish Lawyers (x)

Por Nick Potter

In this series we look at real-life examples of the most common mistakes in English by native Spanish lawyers. These and lots more invaluable tips are available in a new e-book/paperback, here: 50 English Tips for Spanish Professionals.

in case / in the case / in case of



Of all these regular mistakes in English by Spanish speakers, which word causes the most problems of all? There is a strong case for the word “case”.

Take a deep breath, there may be grammar ahead.

Question: Only ONE of A – F below is correct. Which?


A In case that it is not possible to reach an agreement, we will pay the amount requested
B In case that it applies for authorisation to open a branch the costs will be higher
C A notification requirement is triggered in case the 5% threshold is reached or crossed
D Only in case of Property B are the expenses first satisfied by the Vendors and then recovered from the tenant
E Registrar’s notice to comply in case of failure with respect to amended articles
F Companies make plans in the case the euro collapses

Before you read the answer, remember:


Most importantly, en caso que in Spanish is wrong and an example of quéismo (please don’t ask me to translate quéismo).

In English, “in case that” is also wrong and one of the following is needed.

Por si means in case, referring to precautions taken now against something that may happen in the future e.g. I’ll take an umbrella in case it rains (Llevo paraguas por si llueve).

En caso de means in case of, or in the event of, referring to instructions as to what to do if something happens e.g. In case of fire, do not use lift (En caso de incendio, no use el ascensor).

Both en caso de que and en el caso de que usually mean in the event that, in the case that or, in plain English, if, to refer to rules that apply or what will happen in a particular situation e.g. if there’s a problem (en caso de que haya algún problema).

Finally, en el caso de [+ sustantivo ó nombre] means in the case of to refer to specific cases e.g. in the case of Lehman Brothers (en el caso de Lehman Brothers). En el caso que also refers to a specific case e.g. in this case (en el caso que nos ocupa).

The best advice is: if you mean if, say if.

So:


A is wrong because “in case that” is wrong:

A In the case that / In the event that / If it is not possible to reach an agreement, we will pay the amount requested

B is wrong. Same reason. You cannot say “in case that”:

B In the case that / In the event that / If it applies for authorisation to open a branch the costs will be higher

C is wrong because “in case” refers to measures taken or provisions made now to be prepared for a future possibility. Here, we are simply talking about how one thing leads to another:

C A notification requirement is triggered in case in the case that / in the event that / if the 5% threshold is reached or crossed

D is an incorrect use of “in case of”. It refers to a specific case, not precautions:

D Only in the case of Property B are the expenses first satisfied by the Vendors and then recovered from the tenant

E is the correct answer. Taken from the UK Companies Act 2006, it gives registrars instructions as to what to do if companies fail to fulfil requirements:

E Registrar’s notice to comply in case of failure with respect to amended articles [CORRECT]

Why is F wrong? Because, like the umbrella example, the headline referred to measures that companies took por si something happened in the future:

F Companies make plans in the case the euro collapses

Case closed.

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