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合同英语特色介绍

2006-05-28 16:10   我要纠错 | 打印 | 收藏 | | |

  看了之后明白了很多英文“之乎者也”所对应的现代文,对合同英语的结构和特色也有了大概的了解。值得一看。

  Contract 与 Agreement的有无区别

  在英语中,合同一般称为Contract,协议一般称为Agreement.

  何谓“contract”?

  1999年中国《合同法》第二条对contract定义为: A contact in this Law refers to an agreement establishing, modifying and terminating the civil rights and obligations between subjects of equal footing, that is, between natural persons, legal persons or other organizations“。根据这一定义,合同平等主体之间设立的确定民事权利和义务的协议。 ,

  Steven H. Gifts编著的“Law Dictionary”中将contract 定义为“contract is a promise, or a set of promises, for breach of which the law gives remedy, or the performance of the which the law in some way recognize as a duty.”根据这一定义,合同是一种承诺,违反承诺可以得到法律救助,某种意义上法律将履行该承诺看做是一种补偿。

  L.B Curzon 在其编撰的字典“A Dictionary of Law”给contract的定义:“Contract is a legally binding agreement”根据这一定义,合同就是有法律约束力的协议。

  综合起来,有一个相同点,就是“Contract is an agreement”,即可将合同说成是“An agreement which binds the parties concerned”或者说合同说成是“An agreement which is enforceable by law”, 也可以说:Contracts are promises that the law will enforce. ,

  何谓“Agreement”? ,

  L.B “A consensus of mind, or evidence of such consensus, in spoke or written form, relating to anything done or to be done.”

  根据这一定义,协议是对已经做或准备做的相关事宜,经过谈判、协商后取得一致意见,以口头或书面形式做出的约定。

  Black "Law Dictionary"有两个定义。一个是:“A concord of understanding and intention between two or more parties with respect to the effect upon their relative rights and duties, of certain past or future facts or performance”根据这一定义,协议即双方或多方京某些过去或将来某些事实的相关权利、义务或相关权利、义务的履行而达成的一致理解和愿望。

  另一个是:“The consent of two or more persons concurring respecting the transmission of some property, right or benefits, with the view of contacting an obligation, a mutual obligation.”根据这一定义,协议即两个或多个当事人,为了约定单方责任或相互责任,就财产权利、利益的转移取得的一致同意。

  Contract(合同)和Agreement(协议)是不是可以互换呢? ,

  合同的成立必须具备几个主要因素。它们(要约和承诺构成的)协议、约因、设立法律关系的愿望和缔约能力四大部分组成。

  L.B Curzon编著的“A Diction of Law”提到:“Contract generally involves”

  1. offer and absolute and unqualified acceptance (要约和绝对接受)

  2. consensus ad idem (意思表示一致, 也叫meeting of minds)

  3. intention to create legal relations (建立合同关系的意愿)

  4. genuineness of consent (同意的真实性)

  5. contractual capacity of the parties (合同当事人的缔约能力)

  6. legality of object(标的物的合法性)

  7. possibility of performance (履行的可能性)

  8. certainty of terms(条款的确定性)

  9. valuable consideration(等价有偿)

  Black 'Law Dictionary" 中解释道:Although often used as synonyms with "contract", agreement is a broader term, e.g. an agreement might lack an essential element of a contact."

  即“协议”和“合同”经常用作同义词,但“协议”这一术语含义更广,例如协议可能缺乏合同的必备条款(essential clauses/provisions)。

  实际使用当中,协议可不受必备条款的限制,而称为合同的文体肯定少不了必备条款,有的合同将其单列,称为一般条款(General provisions)。 ,

  1999中国《合同法》第十二条规定了八项一般条款,分别是:

  1. title or name and domicile of the parities(当事人的名称或姓名和住址)

  2. contract object(标的)

  3. quantity(数量)

  4. quality(质量)

  5. price or remuneration(价款或者报酬)

  6. time limit, place and method of performance (履行期限、地点和方式)

  7. liability for breach of contract(违约责任)

  8. methods to settle disputes (解决争议的方法)

  上述解释说明,contract(合同)和agreement(协议)的概念虽然接近,但使用范围不同,不能互换使用。合同是协议的重要组成部分,所有合同一定是协议,而协议不见得都是合同。可以说具备合同成立要求的具有强制执行力的协议才是合同。

  结构特点

  合同类法律文件用以规定当事人的权利与义务,是预防与解决争议的依据。合同英语行文慎密而准确,历史悠久,深含法律文化底蕴。 ,

  中文的合同开头一般先罗列当事人的名称、姓名、住所或营业场所,然后是合同正文,结尾是当事人印章、授权代表签字、职务及签字日期。而英语合同一般以下面这类句式为开头:

  This agreement/contract is made and entered in to this ____ day of _____(month), _______ (year) by and between Party A (hereinafter called " Party A ")and Party B(hereinafter called " Party B ")

  然后是开始陈述: ,

  WHEREAS…THEREFORE

  … It is hereby agreed as follows:

  或以: ,

  WITNESSETH, WHEREAS…

  NOW THEREFORE, for and in consideration of the mutual covenants and agreements contained herein, the parties hereby covenant and agree as follows: ,

  接着是正文,最后是证明部分:

  IN WITNESS WHEREOF,the parties hereto have hereunto set their

  hands the day and years first above written. ,

  随后还包括当事人和见证人的签字。签字日期一般在英文合同最搬弄是非是找不到的。

  下面列出新加坡、美国、香港和日本的合同格式。

  A. 新加坡 ,

  Agreement ,

  THIS AGREEMENT is made the 9th day of August, 2001 between LUCKY INTERNATIONAL LTD, a company incorporated in Singapore and having its registered office at Telek Blongar Rise, Singapore 19569 (hereinfater called "The Company") of the part and JACK Wong (NRIC No._________ /A) of 108 Orchar Road, Singapore 01688 (hereinafter called "The Mangager") of the other part.

  WHEREAS:

  1. The company is engaged in IT business and requires a person with the necessary qualifications and experience to manage its business.

  2.

  …。

  NOW IT IS HEREBY AGREED as follows: ,

  1. The company shall employ the Manager and the Manager shall serve the Company as manager of the Company's IT business for a period of two years commencing on 1st day of September

  2.

  …。

  IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have set their hand the day and year first above written.

  THE SCHEDULE ABOVE REFERRED TO

  Duties of Manger

  1. To manage, maintain and promote the business of the Company.

  2.

  3.

  SIGNED by Roger Tan

  For and on behalf of LUCKY INTERANTIONAL LTD

  In the presence of

  SIGNED by TERESA WONG

  In the presence of

  新加坡的通用合同分五部分: ,

  第一部分:称为parties, 主要介绍合同各方的姓名或名称,注册地国及地址、邮编及各自在合同的简称。开头框架一般为: ,

  THIS AGREEMENT is made the ——__________ day of _____ (month),____ (year) between A _______ (hereinafter called "The Company") of the part and B______, (hereinafter called "The Manager") of the other part. ,

  句子开头THIS AGREEMENT

  或CONTRACT和当事人的姓名和名称,都应大写。当事人是自然人的,用“of”和其后的住址相连;是法人或非法人单位的,用“having its registered office at”和其后注册地址相连。

  第二部分:称为recital.以WHEREAS开头,进入叙述部分,用陈述正式说明当事人订立合同的原因。

  第三部分:称为habendum,正文。具体约定当事人的权利和义务。正文部分的结束段为:

  IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have set their hand the day and year first above written. ,

  这段作用相当于中文合同的“双方签字盖章,特此为证”。

  第四部分:称为schedule或addendum,附录。是对前述合同部分条款的必要补充。不是所有合同都有这一项。

  第五部分:称为attestation,证明部分。当事人如果自然人,用“SIGNED by __” 英文写作翻译;连接后填写见证姓名的表达部分“In the presence of ____”;当事人是法人或非法人单位时,授权代表后接的是“SIGNED for and on behalf _____ of____”,然后才是In the presence of _______.与中文合同的显著不同是签章处除当事人外,多了一个In the presence of _______供证人签字之处。另一不同的是合同订立日期没有放在合同最后,而是出现在开头段的当事人介绍部分。

  第五部分在新加坡还有另一种表达“

  As Witness our Hands this _____day of _____,in the year of our Lord Tow Thousand and One.

  Signed, sealed, and delivered by the above named

  In the presence of

  Signature

  Address

  Occupation

  上述合同的格式很有代表性,其它英文格式与之相比大同大异,有的合同中不含附录。 ,

  B. 美国 ,

  APPOINTMENT AS CONTRACT FULL-TIME SENIOR CUSTOMS ADMINISTRATOR

  AN AGREEMENT FOR SERVICES made the 1st day of September, 2000 between ______ of _____ (address)(hereinafter referred to as "the Company") as one part and Mr._______ of _______(address) (hereinafter referred to as the Contractor) of the other part.

  WHEREBY IT IS AGREED AND DECLARED AS FOLLOWS: ,

  1. THAT the Company shall …

  2. This agreement shall commence on …。

  3.

  4.

  IN WITNESS WHEREOF, both parties set their hands on the date herein mentioned

  SIGNED BY

  Name :

  Designation :

  For and on behalf of : (signature) ,

  Contractor :

  Designation :

  For and on behalf of : (signature) ,

  本合同分为四个大部分(缺附录,schedule)。与上一合同基本相同,但第一段没有谓语,不是个完整的句子。个别用词与前一合同有差别。最后落款处还多了了“职务”,即designation(有的合同还惯用position)。

  ,

  C. 香港 ,

  CONTRACT

  CONTACT NO.

  SIGNING DATE/PLACE ,

  THE BUYER: Name

  Legal Address

  Contact ,

  THE SELLER: Name

  Legal Address

  Contact ,

  This contract is made by and between the Buyer and the Seller.

  Whereby the Buyer agrees o buy and the Seller agrees to sell the

  under-mentioned commodity according to the terms and conditions. ,

  1. NAME OF COMMODITY AND SCOPE OF THE CONTRACT

  2. PRICE

  3. PAYMENT译

  4. PACKING

  5. ,

  IN WITHNESS WHEREOF, this contract has been executed effective as

  of the date first above written. ,

  THE BUYER THE SELLER

  ___________ ___________

  By:__________ By:__________

  Date:——_________ Date:——_________ ,

  THE END USER

  ___________

  By: __________

  Date: ——____-_________ ,

  比起前两个合同,该买卖合同的不同之处于在于,合同开头出现了合同编号和签署日期,当事人名称或姓名采用简单列举式。证明部分用完成时被动态,最后落款处SIGNED

  BY项目,但增加了最终用户一项。 ,

  D. 日本 ,

  SERVICE AGREEMENT ,

  This agreement is made and entered into on March 1st ,2001, by and between______ LTD (hereinafter referred to as "PARTY A"), and ________CO., LTD. ((hereinafter referred to as "PARTY B")

  WITNESSTH:

  WHEREAS, PARTY B has requested by PARTY A to dispatch its personal for the purpose of _______ to PARTY b; and

  WHEREAS, (PARTY A is willing to dispatch its personnel t PARTY B in response to such PARTY B's request)

  NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the mutual promises and covenants herein contained , the parties hereto agree as follows:

  1.

  2.

  3.

  IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have caused this Agreement to be executed by their respective duly authorized officers as of the date first herinabove written.

  ______ Ltd. ________ Co., Ltd. ,

  (signature) (signature)

  MANAGING DIRECTOR MANAGING DIRECTOR

  该合同也由四大部分构成,与上述合同最大的不同在于,在叙述部分上端加了一个WITNESSETH(鉴于),最后落款处也没有SIGNED BY 项目,但授权签字代表的职位真接打出来,放在签字的下一行。别外,当事人的简称部分用的都是大写。

  相比之下,英文合同除个别地方外,整个合同的段落排列,句式和用词大同小异。在草拟英文合同时,只要仿用上述任何一个,都算是地道的英文表达。

  用词特点(formal term)

  合同英语的用词极其考究,具有特定性。要求选词专业化(professional)、正式(formal)、准确(accurate)。具体体现在下列方面:

  1. May, shall, must ,may not (或shall not) 的使用 ,May, shall , must ,may not (或shall not)对学过英语的人再熟悉不过,但在合同中用这些词时要极其谨慎。权利义务的约见定部分构成了合同的主体。这几个词如选用不当,可能会引起纠纷。

  may 旨在约定当事人的权利(可以做什么),Shall约定当事人的义务(应当做什么时候), must 用于强制性义务(必须做什么),may not (或shall not)用于禁止性义务(不得做什么)。May do 不能说成can do, shall do, 不能说成should do 或ought to do, may not do 在美国一些法律文件可以用shall not,但绝不能用can not do或must not ) 例如,在约定解决争议的途径时的,可以说

  The parties hereto shall, first of all, settle any dispute arising from or in connection with the contract by friendly negotiations.

  Should such negotiations fail, such dispute may be referred to the People's Court having jurisdiction on such dispute for settlement in the absence of any arbitration clause in the disputed contract or in default of agreement reached after such dispute occurs. ,

  本句中的shall 和may表达准确。出现争议后应当先行协商,所以采用了义务性“约定”,如果协商解决不了,作为当事人的权利,用选择性约定may也很妥当。如果may和shall调换位置会怎么样? 前半句的shall换用may后,意思变成了当事人可以通过协商解决,意思上说得过去,但后半句的may换用shall 后,变成了应当诉讼解决,好象一出事,就要先见官,这就有些不友好了。

  本句可译:双方首先应通过友好协商,解决因合同而发生的或与合同有关的争议。如果协商未果,合同中又无仲裁条款约定或争议发生后未就仲裁达成协方的,可将争议提交有管辖权的人民法院解决。

  ,

  2. 正式用语(formal term)

  合同英语有着严肃的风格,与其它英语作品有很大不同。 ,

  例如: ,

  “因为”的短语多用“by virtue of ",远远多于”due to“一般不用”because of “;

  “财务年度末”一般用“at the close of the fiscal year”,而不用“in the end of the fiscal year”; ,

  “在……之前”一般用“prior to”,而不用“before”; ,

  “关于”常用“as regards”, “concerning”或“relating to”,而不会用“about”;

  “事实上”用“in effect”,而不用“in fact”;

  “开始”用“commencement”,而不用“start”或“begin”;

  “停止做”用“cease to do”,而不用“stop to do”;

  “何时开会并由某某主持”的表述为:The meeting shall be convened and presided by sb.

  其中“召开”不用“hold 或call”,而用“convene”; “主持”不用“chair”或“be in charge of ”,而用“preside”;

  “其他事项”用“miscellaneous”, 而不用“other matters/events”;

  “理解合同”用“construe a contract” 或“comprehend a contract”,而不用“understand a contract”;

  “认为”用“deem”,用“consider”少,不用“think”或“believe”;

  “愿意做”用“intend to do”或“desire to do”,而不用“want to do”, “wish to do”。

  三、用词专业(technical terms) ,

  合同用词不以大众是否理解和接受为转移,它是合同语言准确表达的保障。如合同出现的“瑕疵”、 “救济”、 “不可抗力”、 “管辖”、“损毁”、 “灭失”等就可能让非行业人士费解,在英语以上表达分别为defect、remedy、force majuere/Act of God、jurisdiction、damage and/or loss)。另外几乎每个合同都少不了hereinafter referred to as , whereas, in witness whereof, for and on behalf of , hereby, thereof 等虚词。这也是合同英语的一大特色。

  其它例子还有: ,

  “赔偿”用“indemnities”,而不用“compensation”

  “不动产转让”用“conveyance”,而不用“transfer of real estate”

  “房屋出租”用“tenancy”,而“财产出租”用“lease of property”

  “停业”用“wind up a business”或“cease (名词是cessation) a business”,而不用“end/stop a business”

  专利许可中的“特许权使用费”只用“royalities”

  还款或专利申请的“宽限期”英文“grace”,

  “当事人在破产中的和解”用“composition”

  以实物出资为“investment in kind”

  “依照合同相关规定”一般说“pursuant to provisions contained herein”或“as provided herein”等,不说“according to relevant terms and conditions in the contract”

  “合同任何一方当事人不得转让本合同”英文表述为“Neither party hereto may assign this contract”,其中“hereto”表示“to the contract”,选用“Neither party to the contract”较少。

  3. 同义词、近义词、相关词的序列

  FOR value RECEIVED,the undersigned does hereby sell, transfer, assign and set over to ______ all his right, tile and interest in and to a certain contract dated ______, 19____ by and between the undersigned and ______,a copy of which is annexed hereto.

  在这里的同义词和近义词并列(如sell, transfer, assign and set over,right和 tile and interest),在英文合同里十分普遍。这是出于严谨和杜绝漏洞的考虑,有的也属于合同用语的固定模式。如:

  This agreement is made and entered into by and between Party A and Party B.句中“made and entered into”和“by and between”两组分别属于同义词和相关词并列。

  For and in consideration of mutual covenants and agreements contained herein, the parties hereby covenant and agree as follows: 句中“for and in consideration of ”, “covenants and agreements”三组同义司和近义词并列。

  The parties have agreed to vary the Management on the terms and subject to the conditions contained herein. 这里的“on the terms”和“subject to the conditions”是一个意思都表示“依照本协议的条款规定”。合同条款的固定模式是“terms and conditions”

  再例如: ,

  “Party A wishes to be released and discharged from agreement as from the effective date”,一句中的“release”和“discharge”意思几乎相同。

  并列的词还有:

  ships and vessels

  support and maintenance

  licenses and permits

  charges, fees, costs and expenses

  any and all

  any duties, obligations or liabilities

  the partners, their heirs, successors and assigns

  control and management of the partnership

  applicable laws, regulations, decrees, directives, and rules

  5. 拉丁词 ,

  在国外合同中,拉丁词仍然是很常见:

  比例税率:用pro rate tax rate要比proportional tax rate多

  从事慈善性服务的律师:pro bono lawyer,不怎么用lawyer engaged in charitable legal assistance

  委托代理人:多用agent ad litem

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以前自己看书,感觉非常吃力,很多地方看不懂。抱着试试看的心理,我报名参加了外语教育网的基础法律英语辅导。沙老师和李老师讲得非常好,重点、难点,经过老师的系统讲解,我都基本掌握了。就连冥思苦想都不能解决的难题,也通过答疑板请教老师而得到了满意的答复。在此衷心感谢网校的老师。
学员 hnigni:
我是法律专业的本科生,因为工作的需要,必须得会法律英语,可之前在学校的时候没好好学过啊。正头疼,同事推荐了外语教育网,于是我就报了名,开始学习。在学习过程中,发现沙老师的课真的很不错,她不但英语口语发音标准,而且她授课的内容通俗易懂,很方便我们接受和学习。另外,外语教育网的教学模式很适合我这种已经参加了工作的人,可以让我兼顾工作和学习,也很不错。特此,到网上来赞一下沙老师!沙老师,谢谢您!也谢谢网校的良好服务!在外语教育网学习,真值!
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