Italian Property Law: Legal Translations in Real Estate Transactions

All legal documents relating to an Italian real estate transaction must be written in Italian, independent of the nationality of the parties.

Italian Property Law: Legal Translations in Real Estate TransactionsItalian legal writing is highly technical, ritualistic and often archaic due to close links with Roman Law. Legal language can appear obscure for people without a solid legal background in Italian law. 

On top of that, the profound difference between legal systems, more specifically between Common Law and Italian Civil Law adds to the confusion. 

As a matter of fact, there are juridical concepts in Roman Law that simply do not exist in Common Law and vice versa. There are concepts bearing the same name in the two systems but with different meanings. 

As a consequence, an accurate understanding of legal systems and processes involved, is essential for translators or interpreters involved in such important transactions. An in-depth knowledge of specialist terminology is required as well as knowledge of legal concepts. 

This is why a legal document should never be signed without the assistance of a bilingual qualified lawyer who can explain the full scope of your commitment.

Italian versions of contracts prevail in a court of law 

Italian real estate agents often use pre-printed contracts with an English translation. In reality, these translations are rarely faithful and can often be misleading for the buyer. It’s important to underline that in case of litigation, the Italian version of a document will always prevail in a court of law.

In the most crucial phase of the real estate transaction, when signing the Deed of Sale in front of the public notary, the Italian law requires the presence of an interpreter if the buyer is not fluent in Italian. 

Our advice is to make sure that your interpreter is duly qualified not only from a linguistic point of view, but also in terms of legal background.

Another crucial aspect to bear in mind is the independence of the interpreter. This would preclude using a bilingual real estate agent, an English-speaking relative or a friend of the seller.

Explaining the Deed or Sale that you are about to sign is a very sensitive task and you want to make sure you are putting your trust in the right professional. Please remember that the Italian version of the Deed will prevail if matters end up in court so, it is essential that there is an expert and independent explanation of the legal implications that are involved.

Finally …

Engaging a bilingual property lawyer will ensure you have the right expertise throughout your Italian real estate transaction. Your lawyer will always make sure you have a full understanding of all the documents you are requested to sign and can act as your interpreter to explain all the legal ramifications. If you need any assistance with your property purchase in Italy, Please get in touch

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