Legal Dictionary for Afghanistan (Dari/Pashtu/English)

As part of the project “Improving the Afghan Legislative Process”, staff members of the Max Planck Foundation are developing a dictionary of legal terms in Dari, Pashtu and English. The finer points of language play an important role when it comes to drafting legislation, as law itself constitutes a form of communication in many ways. This issue has long been overlooked in Afghanistan – a country with two official languages – and has led to many misunderstandings of legal texts.

This book is intended to help lawyers to develop a well-grounded understanding of different forms of legal terminology of their own legal language. Moreover, the dictionary will also make working with specialist legal publications easier, as many such works are published in English.

This dictionary will provide a new type of contribution in supporting the development of law in Afghanistan. Similar works available in Iranian Persian (Farsi) are not fully suited to Afghanistan, as the legal terminology of Afghan Persian (Dari) is different in parts. For example, Dari legal language uses much terminology from the Pashtu language. Additionally, Dari and Farsi usages of the same Arabic terms also often strongly deviate from one another. Pashtu legal language is even less developed and no specialised dictionary yet exists for it.

The book will contain all important legal terms in Dari, Pashtu and English and, where necessary, supplement these with short explanations. It will have a total of about 20,000 entries with international law terminology accounting for approximately 20 per cent of its total content, public law terminology for 20 per cent, criminal law for 25 per cent and private law for 35 per cent. The proportion allocated to each area of law is based on an appraisal of its importance in the Afghan legal system. Reference is made to Islamic legal terminology where it is relevant for the area of law and the current legal order. The dictionary is aimed at both practicing lawyers and researchers in the field of legal studies alike. Lawyers involved in the legislative process at different Afghan institutions are the dictionary’s specific target groups. In addition, the dictionary will be of benefit to others, such as Afghan students, professors and lawyers.

Editors: Tilmann J. Röder and Mohammad Sadr Touhid-Khaneh

Coordination of the overall project “Improving the Afghan Legislative Process”: Adele J. Kirschner