Main Article Content



The present study examines Arabic legal phraseology formation from the standpoint of positive law and jurisprudence. It claims that phraseological constructions in Arabic legislative and statutory texts are largely influenced by the translation process of Roman law texts. However, scholarly literature still relies to some extent on formulae used in the Islamic jurisprudence. To illustrate this, three examples of legal principles anchored in Islamic jurisprundence, known as legal maxims, are discussed along with their corresponding expressions in positive law in modern-day Arabic. Ultimately, the purpose of this paper is twofold: firstly, to demonstrate that the phraseology present in many Arabic positive laws stems from a historical translation process that started in the beginning of the 20th century; secondly to emphasize the significance of textual genre awareness in legal translation. Concretely, the introductory section provides an overview of recent studies that have addressed legal phraseologisms. It is followed by a section on the historical role of translation in the construction of certain phraseologisms. The general legal principles of (a) burden of proof, (b) presumption of innocence, and (c) the pacta sunt servanda principle are then examined in order to shed light on the influence of both the Civilist tradition and Islamic jurisprudence on the use of legal Arabic today, as well as to demonstrate how the translation of phraseologisms is dependent on the parameters of genre. The analysis leads to the conclusion that proper use of phraseologisms, whether in drafting or translation, is closely linked to knowledge of phraseology formation and the historical influence of translation.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite


  1. Abed, Abdel Hafiz. 2003. Al-ithbat al-jinaii bi al-qaraiin. Al-Qahira: Al-Hayaa al-masriya al-‘ama li al-kitab.
  2. عابد عبد الحافظ عبد الهادي. 2003 . الاثبات الجنائي بالقرائن. القاهرة، الهيئة المصرية العامة للكتاب.
  3. Abu-Sahlieh, Sami A. Aldeeb. 2016. L'alliage entre le droit positif et le droit musulman dans les pays arabes, notamment en Égypte. (accessed April 4, 2019).
  4. Al-Aqad, Mohammed H. 2014. Translation of legal texts between Arabic and English: the case study of marriage contracts. Arab World English Journal 5, no. 2: 110-121. (accessed December 12, 2020).
  5. Al-Dabbagh, Harith. 2014. Quelques aspects de l’imprégnation du droit des obligations des pays arabes par la culture juridique civiliste. Revue de l’ERSUMA : Droit des affaires – Pratique professionnelle, N° Spécial IDEF, Les systèmes de droit civil des pays du Sud. (accessed April 21, 2019).
  6. Al-Farahaty, Hanem. 2010. Lexical and syntax features of English and Arabic legal discourse: a comparative study. Comparative Legilinguistics 4: 61-80. DOI: (accessed July 5, 2019).
  7. Al-Jabburi, Sajir Naser. 2005. Al-tashri’ al-islami wa al-ghazw al-gharbi li al-bilad al-islamiya. Beirut: Dar al-kutub al-‘ilmiya.
  8. الجبوري ساجر ناصر. 2005 . التشريع الإسلامي والغزو القانوني الغربي للبلاد الإسلامية، بيروت، دار الكتب العلمية.
  9. Al-Sanhuri, Abd al-Razzaq Ahmad. 1926. Le califat: son évolution vers une société des nations orientale. Travaux du Séminaire oriental d’études juridiques et sociales. Paris: P. Geuthner.
  10. Al-Sanhuri, Abd al-Razzaq Ahmad. 1952. Al-Wasit fi sharh al-qanun al-madani al-jadid. 1. Al-Qahira: Dar al-Nahdha al-‘arabiya.
  11. السنهوري، عبد الرزاق. 1952. الوسيط في شرح القانون المدني الجديد 1. مصادر الالتزام، القاهرة، دار النهضة العربية.
  12. Al-Shalqawi, Omro. 2013. Izdihar wa inhiyar al-nukhba al-qanuniya al-misriya 1805-2005. Al-Qahira: Al-Shuruq
  13. الشلقاوي عمرو. 2013 . ازدهار وانهيار النخبة القانونية المصرية 1805-2005، القاهرة، الشروق.
  14. Al-Shayel, Jamal al-Diin. 1951. Tarikh al-tarjama wa al-haraka al-thaqafiya fi ‘asr Muhamad ‘ali. Al-Qahira: Dar al-Fikr al-Arabi.)
  15. الشيال جمال الدين .1951 . تاريخ الترجمة والحركة الثقافية في عصر محمد علي، القاهرة، دار الفكر العربي. (accessed November 12, 2020).
  16. Bejermi, Aya. 2018. Les sources du droit civil des pays arabes. Cercle des chercheurs sur le Moyen-Orient. (accessed April 23, 2019).
  17. Biel, Łucja. 2014. Phraseology in legal translation: A corpus-based analysis of textual mapping in EU law. In The Ashgate handbook of legal translation, eds. Le Chen King, Kui Sin and Anne Wagner, 178-192. Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Limited.
  18. Botiveau, Bernard. 1993. Loi islamique et droit dans les sociétés arabes. Mutations des systèmes juridiques du Moyen-Orient. Paris: Karthala.
  19. Brinton, Jasper Y. 1926. The Mixed Courts of Egypt. The American Journal of International Law 20, no. 4 : 670-688. DOI : (accessed March 31, 2019).
  20. Chehata, Chafik. 1965. Les survivances musulmanes dans la codification de droit civil égyptien. Revue internationale de Droit comparé 17: 839-53. (accessed August 14, 2019).
  21. Cotterrell, Roger. 2006. Law, culture and society. Legal ideas in the mirror of social theory. Aldershot: Ashgate.
  22. Elgawhary, Tarek. 2014. Restructuring Islamic law: the opinions of the ‘Ulama towards codification of personal status law in Egypt. PhD dissertation, Princeton University. (accessed August 7, 2019).
  23. El-Shamsy, Ahmed. 2015. ‘Fiqh, faqih, fuqaha’. In Encyclopedia of Islam, THREE, eds. Fleet, Kate, Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas and Everett Rowson. Brill. DOI: (accessed November 10, 2020).
  24. Fellmeth, Aaron and Horwitz Maurice. 2009. Guide to Latin in international law. Oxford Publication Press.
  25. Goldberg, Jan. 1998. Réception du droit français sous les britanniques en Egypte : un paradoxe ? Egypte/Monde arabe, Première série 34: 67-80. (accessed April 23, 2019).
  26. Goźdź-Roszkowski, Stanisław. 2011. Patterns of linguistic variation in American legal English. A corpus-based study. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
  27. Halimi, Sonia. 2018. Rethinking the English-Arabic legal translation course: restructuring for specific competence acquisition. International Journal for The Semiotics of Law – Revue Internationale De Sémiotique Juridique 32: 117-134. DOI: (accessed August 19, 2019).
  28. Hashim Kamali, Mohammed. 2006. Qawa’id al-Fiqh: The legal maxims of Islamic law. In The Association of Muslim Lawyers, UK. (accessed May 28, 2017).
  29. Hill, Enid. 1988. Al-Sanhuri and Islamic law: the place and significance of Islamic law in the life and work of ‘Abd al-Razzaq Ahmad al-Sanhuri, Egyptian jurist and scholar, 1895-1971, [Part II]. Arab Law Quarterly 3, no. 2: 182-218. (accessed August 9, 2019).
  30. Kifagi, al-Dayf. 2020. Dawr qa’idat ‘ibi al-ithbat fi hasm al-khusumat bayna al-qanun al-madani wa al-fiqh al-islami. AL Mi’yar 18, no. 35: 263-290.
  31. كيفاجي الضيف. 2020. دور قاعدة عبء الاثبات في حسم الخصومات بين القانون المدني والفقه الإسلامي، المعيار، المجلد 18، العدد 35: 263-290. (accessed December 21, 2020).
  32. Kjaer, Anne Lise. 1990. Phraseology research – state-of-the-art. Methods of describing word combinations in language for specific purposes. Terminology Science and Research 1, no. 1-2: 3-32.
  33. Kjaer, Anne Lise. 2007. Phrasemes in legal texts. In Praseologie/Phraseology: Ein internationales Handbuch zeitgenössischer Forschung/An International handbook of contemporary research 2, eds. Harald Burger, Dmitri Dobrovol’skij, Peter Kühn and Neil R. Norrick, 506-515. Berlin: de Gruyter.
  34. Lobingier, Charles Sumner. 1918. Napoleon and His Code. Harvard Law Review vol. 32, no. 2: 114-34. DOI: (accessed July 5, 2019).
  35. Mattila, Heikki. 2013. Comparative legal linguistics: Language of law, Latin and modern lingua francas. (2e Ed) Farnham: Ashgate.
  36. Médhat-Lecocq, Héba. 2010. De la nécessité pour le traducteur de maîtrise les domaines spécialisés : le cas des systèmes juridictionnels. Meta 55, no. 2: 251-265. DOI: (accessed August 20, 2019).
  37. Menhem, Lena, Bassil Chamel, Bechara Claire and Rahmé Romy. 2010. Lexique des termes juridiques : français, arabe, anglais. Paris-Liban: Dalloz Hachette-Antoine.
  38. Mousseron, Jean Marc. 1968. La réception au Proche-Orient du droit français des obligations. Revue internationale de droit comparé 20, no.1: 37-78. (accessed April 23, 2019).
  39. Mrouk, Naser. 2020. ‘ibu al-ithbat fi al-masail al-jinaiya. Al-Majalla al-Jazaiiriya li al-‘ulum al-qanuniya wa al-siyassiya 38, no. 3: 47-122.
  40. مروك نصر الدين. (2020). عبء الاثبات في المواد الجنائية. المجلة الجزائرية للعلوم القانونية والسياسية، المجلد 38، العدد 3: 47-122. (accessed December 3, 2020).
  41. Najjar, I. 2005. Le code civil et les droits des pays du Proche-Orient. Revue du droit des affaires en Afrique. Institut international de Droit d’espression et d’inspiration fançaises. (accessed November 11, 2020).
  42. Najjar, Ibrahim, Shalala Youssef, and Badawi Ahmad Zaki. 1983. Dictionnaire juridique français-arabe. Beyrouth: Librairie du Liban.
  43. Najjar, Ibrahim, Shalala Youssef, and Badawi Ahmad Zaki. 2006. Nouveau dictionnaire juridique français-arabe: suivi d’un index arabe-français. Beyrouth: Librairie du Liban.
  44. Nelken, David. 2001. Towards a Sociology of Legal Adaptation. In Adapting Legal Cultures 4, eds. David Nelken and Johannes Feest, 7-54. Oxford: Hart Publishing. DOI:
  45. Omar, Faridh. 2013. Al-Qawa’id al-Fiqhiyyah. Legal maxims of Islamic jurisprudence. A translated compilation. Mishkâh. Islamic University of North America. (accessed July 5, 2020).
  46. Pontrandolfo, Gianluca. 2011. Phraseology in criminal judgements: A corpus study of original vs. translated Italian. Sendebar 22: 209-234. (accessed July 11, 2017).
  47. Razai, Sara. 2019. Law and legal systems in the Arab Middle East : beyond binary terms of traditionalism and modernity. The institute of Law and Justice in Arab countries. (accessed August 10, 2020).
  48. Ruusila, Anna and Lindroos Emilia. 2016. Conditio sine qua non: On phraseology in legal language and its translation. Language and Law/Lunguagem e Direito 3, no. 1: 120-140. (accessed May 15, 2017).
  49. Saleh, Nabil. 1993. Civil codes of Arab countries: the Sanhuri codes. Arab Law Quarterly vol. 8, no. 2: 161-167. Brill. DOI: (accessed August 14, 2019).
  50. Schweizer, Mark. 2016. The civil standard of proof – what is it, actually? The International Journal of Evidence & Proof 20, no. 3: 217-234. (accessed July 15, 2020).
  51. Terre, François and Lequette Yves. 1994. Les grands arrêts de la jurisprudence civile. Paris: Dalloz.
  52. Thayer, James B. 1890. The Burden of proof. Harvard Law Review vol. 4, no. 2: 45-70. DOI: (accessed December 21, 2020).
  53. Tiersma, Peter. 1999. Legal language. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  54. Usmani, Muhammad Taqi. 2002. An introduction to Islamic finance. The Hague/London/New York: Kluwer Law International.
  55. Vieillard, Guillaume. 2014. La contribution de la Commission des Nations unies pour le droit commercial international (CNUDCI) à l’harmonisation et l’uniformisation du droit commercial international. Centre de recherche sur le droit des marchés et des investissements internationaux. Université de Bourgogne. UFR Droit et Science politique. (accessed December 18, 2020).
  56. Zakariyah, Luqman. 2015. Legal maxims in Islamic criminal law. Theory and application. Brill’s Arab and Islamic Laws Series 9: 24-59. DOI: (accessed July 10, 2019).
  57. National and international instruments in Arabic (last accessed for verification):
  58. Algerian Civil Code, 2007. Official Journal. (accessed January 14, 2021).
  59. Algerian Constitution, 1996. Official Journal. (accessed January 14, 2021).
  60. Arab Charter on Human rights, 2004. (accessed, January 14, 2021).
  61. Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, 1990. (accessed January 14, 2021).
  62. Egyptian Civil Code, 1948. (accessed January 14, 2021).
  63. Egyptian Code of Evidence, 1968. (accessed January 14, 2021).
  64. Egyptian Constitution, 2011. (accessed January 14, 2021).
  65. Lebaneese Obligations and Contracts Law, 1932. (accessed, January 14, 2021).
  66. Libyan Civil Code, 2016. (accessed January 14, 2021).
  67. Qatari Civil Code, 2004. (accessed January 14, 2021).
  68. Syrian Civil Code, 2018. (accessed January 14, 2021).
  69. Syrian Constitution, 2012. (accessed January 14, 2021).
  70. Tunisian Code of Criminal Procedure, 1968. (accessed January 14, 2021).
  71. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948. (accessed January 14, 2021).
  72. Yemeni Code of Criminal Procedure, 1994. (accessed January 14, 2021).
  73. National instruments in French (last accessed for verification)
  74. French Code of Civil Procedure, 2007. (accessed January 14, 2021).
  75. French Code of Criminal Procedure, 2019. (accessed January 14, 2021).
  76. Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, 1789. (accessed January 14, 2021).