CONTRIBUTION D’UN JURILINGUISTE À LA DISTINCTION ENTRE PRÉJUDICE ET DOMMAGE
Keywords:Jurilinguistics, private law, obligations, liability, terminology, legal, language, comparative law, meaning and significance, damage
Law contains very few synonymous and interchangeable terms or expressions, such as the French civil law terms “dommages” and “dommages et intérêts”, both meaning “damages”. As with any specialized language, the majority of
legal terms are monosemic, and synonymy is rare. Many lawyers mistake the key French civil liability terms dommage and préjudice as being synonymous. This causes a sometimes erratic use of the words in doctrine, jurisprudence
and, above all, by the legislator. Are they synonymous to the point of being interchangeable in any situation? Like most Francophone civil lawyers, the Quebec legislator seems to think so, contrary to the old order established since
the Napoleonic Code. What does a jurilinguist have to say about it?