Declaratory judgment

Translating «declaratory judgment» or «declaratory relief» can be treacherous. Declaratory judgment / declaratory relief is a court decision that explains the parties their rights and responsibilities without awarding damages or ordering them to do anything.

In Russian legal reality such goal can be achieved through a variety of suits where a plaintiff asks the court to recognise a certain right or its absence («иски о признании»).

Nevertheless, there are instances when translating «declaratory judgment» as «решение о признании» can be misleading. For years «declaratory» has been translated — or, rather, transliterated — as «деклараторный». So nowadays it is almost a tradition. The problem with such approach is that it is not, strictly speaking, a translation. One just takes a word and imitates the sound of it. It’s cheating.

Yet, to avoid confusion, a translator may follow suit and turn «declaratory judgment» into «деклараторное решение» and «declaratory relief» into «деклараторная защита» as long as it is clear from the context what these words actually mean.