May 6, 2014

Stridonium talks: English legal contracts with Stuart Bugg

Guest post by attendee John Edmund Hynd
On Sunday April 27th and Monday April 28th 2014 Stridonium hosted the first in a series of three workshops met at Hotel HoogHolten, in a converted 1919 English-style hunting lodge in the Salland National Park at Holten in the Dutch province of Overijssel.
Forest pathways around the venue
After a delicious networking dinner the evening before, we learnt about everything to do with English legal contracts from our speaker Stuart Bugg from New Zealand and England who together with his German-born wife practices law in and around Nuremberg in the Bavarian province of Franconia.

Stuart’s easy-going and approachable style put us all immediately at our ease, enabling participants from Belgium, Germany, England and the Netherlands to make constructive comments throughout the course of the day. Participants, all experienced legal translators and interpreters, were invited to ask questions during the talk, and this led to lively and informative discussions with everyone getting answers and helpful suggestions to their own specific questions and translation challenges.
Workshop setting: the library
During the morning we learnt about the ‘Great Divide’, the ‘Three Musketeers’, what constitutes a ‘deed’, ‘cross-system contracts’, ‘forum shopping’, why English common law has no ‘law of obligations’, what ‘equity’ is, why we do not have ‘movable’ and/or ‘immovable’ property in common law, why we do not have enforceable penalties in English law contracts, why not all contracts have to be in writing to be valid, what ‘fitness for purpose’ is as well as ‘merchantability’ and/or ‘satisfactory quality’, when is ‘delivery’ nothing to do with sending a contract by registered post, what ‘bailment’ is, who is a ‘bailor’ or a ‘bailee’ and when does adding a glossary at the end of your translation become essential? 

We then adjourned for lunch and were treated to an excellent hot meal of mustard soup, fish and dessert before starting the afternoon session where we dealt largely with legal English terminology and more specific problems related to translation work.

The speaker, the stunning setting, the lush show that Mother Nature had put on for us, the participants and the helpful hotel staff all conspired to make this seminar well worthwhile. The entire group looks forward to Stuart’s next two seminars on Legal Drafting scheduled for May 25th and 26th and Commercial Law on June 1st and 2nd at the same delightful venue.

John is Anglo-Dutch and an official legal translator and interpreter based in the south of the Netherlands (Eindhoven), where he has been tackling legal translations for almost 20 years, building on the extensive knowledge of Canon Law imparted to him at Innsbruck by Prof Johannes Muehlsteiger S.J.


  1. Looks like it was a very worthwhile event. Probably as a legal curiosity for most translation purposes, it's interesting to note the Scots law does have the concept of "moveable estate/property" (see e.g., with what in e.g. German law would be called "immovable property" termed "heritable property" in Scots law (demonstrating that Scots law is a sometimes rather confusing mix of what are often referred to - not always entirely accurately - as "common" and "Roman" law).


  2. I can confirm the accuracy of John's lovely description and praise for all aspects of this very worthwhile series of courses, having also attended all three sessions in May and June. Stridonium will be hosting Stuart Bugg again on December 3, when he will give a seminar focused on aspects of Legal Drafting and Commercial Law. Details and registration here:

    I had been wanting to take a course with Stuart for some time, but Nuremberg was simply too far from Düsseldorf to fit into my schedule. It was therefore with great delight that I read Kevin's announcement here in April that Stuart would hold not one but three seminars in the Netherlands, a pleasant and convenient train trip from Düsseldorf, also manageable as a day trip.

    Stuart is a knowledgeable and effective instructor, whose strictness regarding the subject matter is leavened with wry humor and "war stories" from his practice. . The group was stimulating and congenial, and I also continue to benefit from the copious course and reference materials Stuart gave us, particularly on Contracts, the main legal texts I translate. All three courses made me more acutely aware of the pitfalls and blunders that I will avoid in the future. This written "thank you" is belated but heartfelt. Also to Christina Guy for her friendly and professional organization. I'm looking forward to attending more talks arranged by Stridonium!

    Terry Gilman


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