There are two major systems of law which are ... in the Western world such as common law and civil law. Most English-speaking countries have a common law system. The term ... law has two different meanings. It may refer to civil or ... law, or to the system used by many continental European countries.
The civil law system is the older of the two. Its beginnings can be traced back to the law of the Romans. In the 6th..., there were ... of the Emperor Justinian to accumulate ... and to compile a Code that ... all of great Roman laws. This code ... to those parts of Europe under Roman control. In the 19th century, Napoleon established a similar..., which was later adopted to many European countries. For example, the Napoleonic Code also greatly ... the lawmakers of Quebec Civil Code.
THE PRACTICE OF LAW
1. Match these bodies of law with their definitions.
1. civil law
2. common law
3. criminal law
a. area of the law which deals with crimes and their
punishments, including fines and/or imprisonment
(also penal law)
b. legal system developed from Roman codified law,
established by a state for its regulation; 2) area of
the law concerned with non-criminal matters, rights
c. legal system which is the foundation of the legal
systems of most of the English-speaking countries
of the world, based on customs, usage and court
decisions (also case law, judge-made law)
2. Complete the text below contrasting civil law, common law and criminal law using the words in the box.
The term “civil law” contrasts with both “common law” and “criminal law”. In the first sense of the term, civil law refers to a body of law 1) …………. written legal codes derived from fundamental normative principles. Legal 2) ………………. are settled by reference to this code, which has been arrived at through 3)……............ .
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Judges are 4) …………….. the written law and its 5) ……………... .
In contrast, common law was originally developed through 6) ………………. , at a
time before laws were written down. Common law is based on 7) …………………
created by judicial decisions, which means that past 8) …………………. are taken
into consideration when cases are decided. It should be noted that today
In the second sense of the term, civil law is distinguished from criminal law, and refers to the body of law dealing with 10) ……………………. matters, such as breach of contract.
3. Which body of law, civil law or common law, is the basis of the legal system in our jurisdiction?
Types of law
The word law refers generally to legal documents which set forth rules governing a particular kind of activity.
4. Read the following short texts, which each contain a word used to talk about types of laws. In which kind of document do you think each appeared? Match each text (1-5) with its source (a-e).
a. court ruling
b. local government document
d. parliamentary speech
e. brochure for employees
1) The new EU Working Hours Directive
is reported to be causing controversy
amongst the medical profession.
2) When a statute is plain and unambiguous,
the court must give effect to the intention
of the legislature as expressed, rather than
determine what should or should not be.
3) The purpose of this Ordinance is to
regulate traffic upon the Streets and Public
Places in the Town of Hanville, New
Hampshire, for the promotion of the safety
and welfare of the public.
4) These workplace safety and health
regulations are designed to prevent personal
injuries and illnesses from occurring in the
5) Speaker, I am pleased to have the
opportunity to present the Dog Control
Amendment Bill to the House. It is a
further milestone in meeting the changing
expectations we have about what is responsible
5. Find words in Exercise 5 which match these definitions. Consult the glossary if necessary.
1. rules issued by a government agency to carry out the intent of the law; authorised by a statute, and generally providing more detail on a subject than the statute
2. law enacted by a town, city or county government
3. draft document before it is made into law
4. legal device used by the European Union to establish policies at the European level to be incorporated into the laws of the Member States
5. formal written law enacted by a legislative body
6. Complete the sentences below using the words in the box.
1. The Town Council will conduct a public hearing regarding a proposed ………........... concerning property tax.
2. According to the ……………. concerning working time, overtime work is work which is officially ordered in excess of 40 hours in a working week or in excess of eight hours a day.
3. Early this year, the government introduced a new ……………….. on electronic
commerce to Parliament.
4. A number of changes have been made to the federal ……………. governing the seizing of computers and the gathering of electronic evidence.
5. The European Union ……………… on Data Protection established legal principles aimed at protecting personal data privacy and the free flow of data.
Types of courts
Courts can be distinguished with regard to the type of cases they hear.
7. Match each of the following types of court (1-9) with the explanation of what happens there (a-i).
1. appellate court (or court of appeals, appeals court)
2. crown court
3. high court
4. juvenile court
5. lower court (or court of
6. magistrates’ court
7. moot court
8. small-claims court
a. This is where a person under the age
of 18 would be tried.
b. This is the court of primary jurisdiction,
where a case is heard for the first time.
c. This is where small crimes are tried in
d. This is where law students argue
e. This is where a case is reviewed which
has already been heard in a lower court.
f. This is where cases involving a limited
amount of money are handled.
g. This is where serious criminal cases are
heard by a judge and a jury in the UK.
h. This is where a group of specially chosen
people examine legal problems of a
particular type, such as employment disputes.
i. This is usually the highest court in a
jurisdiction, the court of last resort.
Persons in court
8. Complete this diagram with the words and definitions below.
a. expert witness
c. person who is sued in a civil lawsuit
d. officer of the court whose duties include keeping order and assisting the judge and jurors
e. person who pleads cases in court
f. hypothetical person who uses good judgment or common sense in handling
g. practical matters; such a person’s actions are the guide in determining whether an individual’s actions were reasonable
9. Xð1.1 Listen to a lawyer telling a client about some of the documents involved in his case and answer these questions.
1. What claim has been filed against the client?
2. Will the case go to trial?
10. Match these documents with their definitions.
a. a document informing someone that they will be
involved in a legal process and instructing them what they must do
b. a document or set of documents containing the details
about a court case
c. a document providing notification of a fact, claim or
d. a formal written statement setting forth the cause of
action or the defence in a case
e. a written statement that somebody makes after they
have sworn officially to tell the truth, which might be used as proof in court
f. an application to a court to obtain an order, ruling or
g. an official order from a court for a person to stop
h. in civil law, the first pleading filed on behalf of a
plaintiff, which initiates a lawsuit, setting forth the
facts on which the claim is based
i. the principal pleading by the defendant in response to
11. Xð1.1 Listen again and tick the documents that the lawyer mentions.
1. answer £ 2. affidavit £ 3. brief £ 4. complaint £ 5. injunction £
6. motion £ 7. notice £ 8. pleading £ 9. writ £
12. Match each verb used by the lawyer with its definition.
1. to draft a document
2. to issue a document
3. to file a document
with an authority
4. to serve a document
5. to submit a document
to an authority
a. to deliver a legal document to someone, demanding that they go to a court of law or that they obey an order
b. to produce a piece of writing or a plan that you intend to change later
c. to deliver a document formally for a decision to be made by others
d. to officially record something, especially in a court of law
e. to produce something official
FAMILY LAW. CONTRACT LAW
1. Give examples from your country (different countries) of how the family
is given special legal consideration.
2. Match the following English words and expressions with their
1. welfare of children
3. aggrieved person
4. to be infringed
5. criminal offence
8. reward for the efforts
a. кримінальний злочин
b. особа, яка понесла збитки
c. винагорода за зусилля
d. торгова марка
f. добробут дітей
g. бути порушеним
Read the text to understand what information is of primary importance or new for you.
Note on the text:
Tort — делікт, цивільне правопорушення
(FAMILY, CONTRACT, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY)
The civil law covers cases related family, property, contracts and non-contractual wrongful acts suffered by one person at the hands of another (torts). Family law includes the laws governing marriage, divorce and the welfare of children; the law of property governs ownership, disposal of property on death, etc.; the law of contract regulates, for instance, the sale of goods, loans, partnerships, insurance and guarantees.
Civil proceedings are started by the aggrieved person. As a private matter, they can usually be abandoned or ended by settlement between the parties at any time. In many cases, parties to a dispute settle their differences through their lawyers before the trial stage is reached.
Family law is divided into public and private law cases. Public law cases involve local government and other public authorities and include matters such as care of children. Private law cases involve divorce proceedings, etc.
Most court cases involving children concern private disputes between parents — often after separation.
Torts include wrongs such as negligence, defamation, etc. If these legal rights have been infringed, a plaintiff can sue for compensation. One of the most important tort actions is that for negligence, when a person fails to live up to an expected standard of care and someone is injured as a result. This can cover physical damage or financial loss.
A contract is an agreement between two or more parties, which is enforceable by law. A valid business contract, for instance, must involve an offer to supply goods or services, consideration (the price to be paid) and acceptance by the purchaser. The offer may be revoked at any time before acceptance but it must be communicated to the purchaser. Acceptance of an offer must mean agreement entirely with the terms of the offer, and the terms must be sufficiently detailed. In addition, the object of the contract must not be illegal; it is against the law for two people to make a deal between themselves if this involves a criminal offence.
An example of a contract is the purchase of goods in a shop. If the goods purchased turn out to be shoddy, the purchaser can sue the seller in the civil courts usually for damages. Conversely, if the ownership of |goods passes to the purchaser and they are not paid for, the seller can sue for the price of goods. Similarly, an employer is bound to pay an employer for work done; if he or she fails to do so, a breach of contract action can take place.
Intellectual property laws reward the creators of original works by preventing others from copying, performing, or distributing those works without permission. They also provide incentives for people to produce scientific and creative works that benefit society at large. Some types of intellectual property are automatically protected by law from the moment of their creation. Other types require a specific grant of rights from a government agency before they may be protected by law. Nearly all nations have laws protecting intellectual property. The principal types of intellectual property are patents, copyrights, and trademarks. Patent law protects inventions that demonstrate technological progress. Copyright law protects a variety of literary and artistic works, including paintings, sculpture, prose, poetry, plays, musical compositions, dances, photographs, motion pictures, radio and television programs, sound recordings, and computer software programs. Trademark law protects words and symbols that serve to identify different brands of goods and services in the marketplace.
Intellectual property differs from other forms of property because it is intangible, a product of the human imagination. Because intellectual property is intangible, many people may use it simultaneously without conflict. For example, only one person can drive a car at a time, but if an author publishes a book, many people can read the work at the same time. Intellectual property is also much easier to copy than it is to create. It may take many months of work to write a novel or computer program, but with a photocopy machine or a computer others could copy the work in a matter of seconds. Without intellectual property laws, it would be easy to duplicate original works and sell them for very low prices, leaving the original creators without any chance to secure economic rewards for their efforts. The legal system avoids this problem by making it against the law to reproduce various forms of intellectual property without the permission of the creator.
UNDERSTANDING MAIN POINTS____________________________________
3. Divide the text into logical parts and supply a title for each of them.
4. Find in the text and decide from the context what the word could mean, then choose the appropriate definition.
a) family law– makes it illegal for others to manufacture or use the
invention without permission.
b) defamation– is usually owned by the creator of the work- the
writer, painter or musician- but like other property,
it might be passed to someone else.
c) breach of contract– is a wrongdoing for which a private citizen
(or company) is sued by another private person.
d) damages– is the aggrieved party that starts criminal
e) copyright– money paid by one party of a legal action
(usually civil) to compensate the other party for loss
f) tort– deals with the family as a special institution,
marriage, the process of divorce, custody of
and responsibility for children.
g) patent– is a tort of saying or writing something which is
untrue and which harms another person’s
h) negligence– it is called so if one party fails to fulfill his
obligations under the agreement.
i) plaintiff– is a tort consisting of the breach of a duty of care
resulting in damage tothe plaintiff, carelessness.
5. PREPOSITIONS. Choose the right preposition in brackets according
to the contents of the sentences ( without, after, of, from, for, by).
1. Literature, computer programs, artistic works cannot be patented, but they
can be protected ... copyright.
2. In most countries, such work is automatically protected when it is created;
there is no need to apply ... or to register copyright.
3. In recent years it has been difficult for intellectual property law to prevent new original works ... copying and to keep pace with technological change.
4. The Laws of intellectual property usually require anyone wanting to copy something to ask permission from the holder... the patent or copyright.
5. In Britain, ... instance, the 1988 Copyright and Patents Act covers a work of music, drama, computer software, ... 50 years after the author’s death.
6. In addition to financial loss a plaintiff sometimes tries to sue ... mental distress caused by the breach of contract.
7. Most legal systems allow a certain amount of copying even ... asking permission.
8. In order to prevent a new scientific discovery ... being copied, it is necessary to apply ... a patent.
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