To answer this question we must review what our legislation provides. The Civil Code establishes in Article 2435 that contract “…is an agreement between two or more persons to constitute, regulate or clarify a legal bond between them.” The great legal minds share this definition almost exactly when they say that it is a way of creating, modifying, regulating or extinguishing obligations between two or more parties.
The contract is, therefore, the will of two or more people to create obligations between them for a specific purpose. Our Civil Code also establishes the requirements for the validity of contracts in general: that there is consent between the contracting parties, and that the purpose (object) of the contract is certain, possible, and lawful. Once these two requirements are met, the contract and the obligations arising from it become binding, just as the law is binding. The contracting parties cannot be released from the obligations unless the other party agrees to release the contracting party from such obligation.
There are other general requirements regarding the validity of the contracts that the Civil Code regulates and that are specific to certain contracts, as is the case of the transfer of the real estate, in which the formality of being executed in a public deed is required.
Understanding then that with the consent of the two parties and a certain and lawful object, we have a contract, as a generality we can say that contracts are valid whether they are embodied in a document or not, be them in any language, and even if they have been constituted in different places and times. Thus, a transport service agreed by messages on a mobile phone between people in different places, even in different countries, and agreed on different days, in a language other than Spanish, is a valid contract.
It is always advisable to have a way to prove the existence of the contract in the event that the person with whom we contracted does not want to fulfill his/her obligations that were accepted at the time of agreeing to the contract. In a verbal contract, for example, it will be very difficult without witnesses to be able to prove the existence of the contract and obligation that your counterpart now does not want to fulfill.
In the same way, it is recommended that the contract, if written, be in Spanish, simply for ease in case it is necessary to force compliance through a court since our civil procedural legislation establishes the obligation to present a translation of any document in a language that is not the official. Therefore, any contract written in any other language is always valid and, therefore, the obligations contained therein are enforceable even before a court.
By way of conclusion, we can then emphatically affirm that contracts in a foreign language are valid in Nicaragua as long as there is consent and a certain, possible and lawful purpose.
- Art. 2447 of the Nicaraguan Civil Code (C.).
- Article 2479 C.
- Article 2534 C.
- Article 11 Cn
- Preliminary Title XXXVIII C.
- Art. 2448 and following C.
- Art. 286 Nicaraguan Civil Procedure Code (CPC).