El Català a l'empresa

Contracts, invoices, receipts and others

Also pre-contracts, general conditions, deposit receipts, estimates and other similar documents

What does the law say?

All contracts, invoices, contractual documents in general, estimates, deposit receipts or related documents must be in Catalan. This includes product warranties, adhesion contracts, contracts with standard clauses and regulated contracts (article 128-1 of the Law 22/2010 of the Catalan Consumer Code and article 15 of Act 1/1998 on linguistic policy).

Moreover, invoices and other documents have even more specific obligations for certain sectors. Thus, more concretely, the following kinds of companies, among others, are doubly affected:

  • Utility companies such as fixed and mobile telephony, DSL, postal services, railways, taxis, buses, airlines and water, electricity and gas suppliers (article 31 of Act 1/1998 on linguistic policy).
  • Hotels and tourist accommodation (Decree 159/2012 on tourist accommodation establishments and property for tourist use provides for the use of Catalan in internal regulations made immediately available to the client - article 12 -, in the notification of prices and services - article 20 -; invoices - Article 21 -, and mandatory knowledge of the language by all receptionists - annexes-).
  • Financial and insurance institutions (article 43 of state Law 26/2006 on private insurance and reinsurance brokerage).
  • Travel Agencies (articles 15 and 16 of Decree 168/1994 regulating travel agencies).

There are also various obligations in Andorra:

Contracts, orders, invoices, estimates, receipts and generally speaking all business documentation must be in Catalan (article 22 of the Law regulating the use of the official language, from the year 2000).

As for patents in Andorra, although they can be registered in Catalan, Spanish, French or English, a central part (reivindications, that is, the description of the invention) has to be written in Catalan. In case of infraction, the requests of precautionary measures and evidences have to be written in Catalan too (Law 26/2014 of 30th October, of Patents).

What would a good practice be in this regard?

  • Beyond the full presence of Catalan, as provided for by law, in contracts, invoices and other documents, it is very important that they be readily available to the client.

  • Another very important aspect is that the customer should never have to ask for an invoice or contract in Catalan. It must be provided automatically in Catalan, or else the customer should be informed of language options before entering into or receiving the contract.

The Government of Catalonia provides templates for different documents in the labour, business, administrative, legal and academic areas that are available to companies that wish to use them. You can see some examples of them at this portal or this one. The Government of Andorra also provides some very useful linguistic resources.