The equivalence classifications used in this dictionary to address the degree of terminological congruency – Near Equivalence, Partial Equivalence, No Equivalence – are based largely on the functional equivalence translation approach used by leading experts and academics in the interdisciplinary field of law and linguistics.

If a local term shares the same purpose, scope of application (extension) and legal effect as the English (Common Law) term to which it is matched, then we have classified the two terms as having near functional equivalence. Although obviously no two legal systems are identical, if those three criteria are met, we have listed the matching English counterpart terms as translations for the local terms without any additional explanation or qualification. Even in some of these near-equivalence cases, however, we have also offered alternative descriptive translations to address certain contextual situations that the user may face.

If a local term and the English counterpart term share the same purpose and at least one of the other two functional equivalence criteria (similar scope or legal effect), then we have classified the two matched terms as having partial functional equivalence. This means that the English term can be used as a translation, but an additional explanation or qualification could be required. As with some near equivalent matches, we have offered alternative descriptive translations for some terms to address specific contextual situations.

If the local term does not have a conceivable English counterpart or if it has a vaguely similar English counterpart that does not share quite the same purpose or that shares the same purpose but none of the other functional equivalence criteria (similar scope or legal effect), then we have classified the local term or concept as having no functional equivalence, thereby warranting the creation of a new descriptive word or phrase in English (a neologism). The neologisms created for a distinct local legal concept could seem odd to persons not familiar with the local laws and legal systems. Thus, in those cases, additional explanations would be required.