Unit 1. Types of legal professions in Britain


Unit 1. Types of legal professions in Britain.

Exercise 1. Read and translate the texts.

Law and Order

A. The police.

They do a number of things. When someone commits a crime (= breaks the law and does something wrong / illegal / against the law) the police must investigate (= try to find out what happened / who is responsible). If they find person responsible for the crime, they arrest them (= take them to the police station). At the police station, they question them (= ask them questions to find out what they know) and if they are sure the person committed the crime, the person is charged with the crime (= the police make an official statement that they believe the person committed the crime). The person must then go to court for trial.

B. The court.

Unit 1. Types of legal professions in Britain - №1 - открытая онлайн библиотека In court, the person charged with the crime (now called the defendant or accused) must try to prove (= provide facts to show something is true) that they did not commit the crime; in other words prove that they are innocent (≠ guilty). The jury listens to all the evidence (= information about the crime, for and against the defendant) and then makes their decision.

C. Punishment.

If the defendant is convicted of the crime (= the jury decides that the defendant is guilty), the judge will give the sentence (= punishment). For example, if a person is convicted of murder, the sentence will be many years in prison. The person then becomes a prisoner, and the room they live in is called a cell.

For crimes that are not serious (often called minor offences, e.g. illegal parking), the punishment is usually a fine (= money you have to pay).

Exercise 2. Put this story in the correct order.

1. they found both men guilty.

2. and charged them with the robbery.

3. ₤ 10,000 was stolen from a bank in the High Street.

4. After the jury had listened to all the evidence

5. They were sent to prison for seven years.

6. The trial took place two months later.

7. and they finally arrested two men.

8. They questioned them at the police station

9. The police questioned a number of people about the crime

Exercise 3. Answer the questions.

1. Who investigates crimes?

2. Who sentences people?

3. Who lives in cells?

4. Who decides if someone is innocent or guilty?

5. Who defends people and presents evidence?

6. Who commits crimes?

Exercise 4. Fill the gaps with suitable words.

1. I have never ……… the law and ………. a crime.

2. In Britain it is ………. the law to drive a car without insurance.

3. If you park illegally you will have to pay a ………

4. The police were fairly sure the man committed the crime, but they knew it would be difficult to ………… it in court.

5. The jury must decide if the accused is innocent or ……….

6. In order to reach their decision, the jury must listen carefully to the ……….

7. If the accused is …………. of murder, the ……….. may be at least ten year in prison.

8. He has been in trouble with the police once before, but it was only a minor ……

Exercise 5. Read this short story, then write down your response to the questions below, based on your knowledge of the law in your own country.

Two fifteen-year-old boys broke into the house in the middle of the day when the owner was out, and took money and jewellery worth about ₤ 900. The owner reported the crime to the police when she returned home at 6 p.m.

1. Will the police investigate the crime?

2. How will they investigate? What will they do?

3. Do you think the police will catch the two boys?

4. If they do, what crime will they be charged with?

5. Can the boys be sent to prison?

6. What do you think the sentence would be? Do you think this is the correct sentence?

Exercise 6. Read and translate the text.

Exercise 9. Choose the correct words to complete the text.

witness trial sentence prosecution crime

Jury defence evidence judge defendant

Anyone accused of a serious (1)……….has a right to a (2)………by (3)………., a group of men and women (usually twelve) chosen by chance. A (4)……..lawyer tries to convince the court that the (5)……. is guilty. A (6)……..lawyer sets out to prove the accused person’s innocence. (7)……..tell the court what they know about the crime. After listening to all the facts or (8)……, the jury must decide whether the prosecution has proved guilt. The (9)……helps the jury understand the laws relating to the trial and pass (10)……if there is a guilty verdict.


solicit – ходатайствовать, хлопотать.

So, solicitor is a lawyer who solicits for the client.


bar – 1) барьер, за которым находится суд;

2) суд в полном составе;

3) коллегия адвокатов.

So, barrister is a lawyer who is a member of the bar and who can speak before the bar.


attorn – передавать кому-либо права, поручать.

So, attorney is a lawyer whom a client attorns the case, or transfers the right to deal with the case.

The court system

A. Civil courts

Both criminal and civil courts in England and Wales primarily hear evidence and aim to determine what exactly happened in a case. Broadly speaking, the lower courts decide matters of fact and the upper courts normally deal with points of law. In England, simple civil actions, for example family matters such as divorce, are normally heard in either the Magistrates’ Courts or the County Courts.

Judges have different titles depending on their experience, training, and level. A single stipendiary magistrate or three lay magistrates sit in the Magistrates’ Court. There’s no jury in a Magistrates’ Court. Family cases may go on appeal from the Magistrates’ Court to the County Courts. The County Court also hears complex first instance civil cases, such as contract disputes, compensation claims, consumer complaints about faulty goods or services, and bankruptcy cases. Claimants or plaintiffs may seek a legal remedy for some harm or injury they have suffered. There are circuit judges and recorders who sit in the County Courts, usually without a jury. Juries are now rare in civil actions, so normally the judge considers both law and fact.

More complex civil cases are heard in the High Court of Justice, which is divided into three divisions: Family, Chancery and Queen’s Bench. The court has both original, that is, first instance, and appellate jurisdiction. From the High Court cases may go on appeal to the civil division of the Court of Appeal, which can reverse or uphold a decision of the lower courts. Its decisions bind all the lower civil courts. Civil cases may leapfrog from the High Court to the House of Lords, bypassing the Court of Appeal, when points of law of general public importance are involved. Appellants must, however, apply for leave to appeal. Decisions of the House of Lords are binding on all other courts but not necessarily on itself. The court of the House of Lords consists of twelve life peers appointed from judges and barristers. The quorum, or minimum number, of law lords for an appeal hearing is normally three, but generally there is a sitting of five judges.

Note: A stipendiary is a full-time paid magistrate who has qualified as a lawyer.

A lay magistrate is unpaid and is an established member of the local community.

A circuit is a geographical division for legal purposes; England and Wales are divided into six.

A recorder is a part-time judge with ten years standing as a barrister or solicitor.

B. Criminal courts

About 95% of all criminal cases in England and Wales are tried in the Magistrates’ Courts, which deal with petty crimes, that is, less serious ones. In certain circumstances, the court may commit an accused person to the Crown Court for more severe punishment, either by way of a fine or imprisonment. Except in cases of homicide, children under 14 and young persons – that is, minors between 14 and 17 years of age – must always be tried summarily, meaning without a jury, by a Youth Court. A Youth Court is a branch of the Magistrates’ Court. Indictable offences, that is, more serious ones such as theft, assault, drug dealing, and murder, are reserved for trial in the Crown Court. In almost all criminal cases, the State, in the name of the Crown, prosecutes a person alleged to have committed a crime. In England and Wales, a jury of twelve people decides whether the defendant is guilty of the crime she or he is charged with. The Crown Court may hear cases in circuit areas. From the Crown Court, appeal against conviction or sentence lies to the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal. If leave to appeal is granted by that court, cases may go on appeal to the House of Lords.

Exercise 18. Match the two parts of the sentences and complete the gaps with words from the table above. Pay attention to the grammatical context. There is more than one possibility for three of the gaps.

1. The ……….. courts can a. a court of first instance.

2. An appellant must get b. normally …………in the Crown Court.

3. In a civil action, a …….. who c. reverse or uphold decisions of lower courts.

has suffered

4. Magistrates generally ……… d. harm or injury seeks a remedy.

cases of petty crime as

5. Indictable offences are e. leave to ……….. before taking a case to a

higher court.

Crimes and criminals

Crime Criminal Criminal act
arson arsonist to set fire to smth; to set smth on fire
shoplifting shoplifter to shoplift
mugging mugger to mug
offence offender to offend
vandalism vandal to vandalize
burglary or house-breaking burglar to burgle; to break into
murder murderer to murder
manslaughter manslayer to kill someone but not deliber­ately
kidnapping kidnapper to kidnap
pickpocketing pickpocket to pick smb’s pocket
complicity accomplice to be the accomplice
abetting abettor to abet
aiding aider to aid and abet
drug trafficking /drug sale/ drug trade drug dealer/ drug trafficker to trade in drugs / to sell and buy drugs
spy/espionage spy to spy
terrorism terrorist to terrorize
assassination assassin to assassinate
hooliganism hooligan to behave in a noisy and violent way in a public place
ticketless travel/fraudulent travel stowaway to stow away
theft thief to thieve/to steal
hijacking hijacker to hijack
carjacking carjacker to carjack
forgery forger to forge
robbery robber to rob
larceny larcener to commit larceny
smuggling smuggler to smuggle
treason traitor to betray
gangsterism gangster to be a member of a criminal group
desertion deserter to desert
bigamy bigamist to commit bigamy
speeding speeder to speed
rape rapist to rape
blasphemy blasphemer to commit blasphemy/to blaspheme
perjury perjurer to perjure
fraud swindler to swindle
bribery/bribe-taking bribetaker to give a bribe; to take a bribe
blackmail blackmailer to blackmail
extortion extortionist to extort
embezzlement embezzler to embezzle
tax evasion tax evader to evade taxes
counterfeiting counterfeiter to counterfeit
drug abuse drug addict to abuse drugs
trespass trespasser to tresspass
pilferage pilferer to pilfer
piracy pirate to commit piracy
money laundering money launderer to launder money
infringement of copyright copyright infringer to infringe a copyright
assault assailant to assault
aggravated assault assailant to assault with aggravating circumstance
child abuse a person who abuses a child to abuse a child
joyriding joyrider to joyride
defamation defamer to defame
slander slanderer to slander
libel libeller to libel
conversion a person who converts to convert

Exercise 27. Go through the list of offences and decide which are major and which are minor. Then look at the forms of punishment and decide which is appropriate for each offence. Write sentences as in the example.

E.g. Murder is a major offence. I think that someone who murders somebody should be sentenced to life imprisonment.


1. murder 7. pickpocketing

2. hijacking an airplane 8. stealing sweets

3. kidnapping 9. making noise late at night

4. littering 10. being on a bus without a ticket

5. writing graffiti on 11. violent behaviour in a football stadium

a public building 12. toxic waste pollution

6. stealing a car


1. to be sentenced to life imprisonment

2. to be sent to prison

3. to be fined a large/small amount of money

4. to be given a suspended sentence

5. to do community service

6. to be given a warning

Classification of crimes

What are crimes?

It is very important to know which acts are criminal.

Offenses Against Society

The most fundamental characteristic of a crime is that it is a punishable offense against society. Consequently, when a crime occurs, society, acting through such employees as the police and prosecutors, attempts to identify, arrest, prosecute, and punish the criminal.

Elements of Crimes

Before anyone can be convicted of a crime, three elements usually must be proved at the trial. They are:

1. a duty to do or not to do a certain thing,

2. a violation of the duty, and

3. criminal intent.

Duty.The duty to do or not to do a certain thing usually is described by statutes which pro­hibit certain conduct. Generally only conduct that is serious – involving violence or theft of property – is classified as an offense against society and therefore criminal.

Violation of the Duty. The breach of duty must also be proved in a criminal trial. This is the specific conduct by the defendant, which violates the duty. For example, battery is always a crime. Criminal battery is often defined in statutes as «the intentional causing of corporal harm». Corporal harm means bodily harm. A breach of this duty could be established in a trial by the tes­timony of a witness.

Criminal Intent. The third element, criminal intent, generally means that the defendant intended to commit the act and intended to do evil.

A few crimes do not require criminal intent. These are generally less serious crimes, for which a jail sentence is very unlikely. Traffic offenses fall within this classification. You may not have intended to speed or have intended evil but you have still committed this crime.

Today, statutes of most states fix the age of criminal liability at 18, but the figure ranges from 16 to 19. Statutes often provide that minors as young as 13 or 16 may be tried and punished as adults if they are accused of serious crimes such as murder. Generally, however, what is a crime for adults is juvenile delinquency for minors.

Ignorance or mistake is generally no excuse for violating a law. A person is presumed to know what the law is. To have criminal intent, one must have sufficient mental capacity at the time one commits a crime to know the difference between right and wrong and to be capable of deciding what to do. Accordingly, insane persons are not held liable for their criminal acts. Normally neither voluntary intoxication nor drug abuse is agood defense against a criminal charge.


Crimes may be classified in various ways. One type of classification is given below:

1. crimes against a person (murder, assault and battery, kidnapping, rape),

2. crimes against property (robbery, hijacking, embezzlement, receiving stolen property),

3. crimes against the government and the administration of justice (treason, tax evasion, bribery, counterfeiting, perjury),

4. crimes against public peace and order (rioting, carrying weapons, drunk and disorderly conduct, illegal speeding),

5. crimes against buildings (burglary, arson, criminal trespass),

6. crimes against consumers (fraudulent sale of wild cat securities), or

7.crimes against decency (bigamy, obscenity, prostitution, sexual harassment).

Crimes are classified in terms of their seriousness as felonies or misdemeanors.


A felony is a crime of a serious nature. It exists when the act:

1) is labeled so by law or

2) is punishable by death or confinement for more than one year in prison.

Murder, kidnapping, arson, rape, robbery, burglary, embezzlement, forgery, larceny (also called theft) of large sums, and perjury are examples of felonies. A person who lies when under oath commits perjury.


A misdemeanor is a crime of a less serious nature. It is usually punishable 1) by confinement in a jail for less than one year, 2)by fine, or 3) by both confinement and fine. Crimes such as drunken­ness in public, driving an automobile at an illegal speed, shoplifting, and larceny of small sums are usually misdemeanors. A lesser misdemeanor is known as infraction. Parking overtime on metered parking, failing to clear snow from sidewalks, and littering are examples of infractions. Ordinarily, no jury is allowed in cases involving infractions because the punishment is no more than a fine.


Larceny (commonly known as theft) is the wrongful taking of money or personal property belonging to someone else. Variations of larceny include robbery (taking property person in immediate presence and against the victim’s will, and by force or by causing fear) and burglary (en­tering a building with the intent to commit a crime). Other types of larceny include shoplifting, pick­pocketing, and purse snatching.

Receiving Stolen Property

Knowingly receiving stolen property is an offense separate from larceny. It consists of receiving, concealing, or buying property known to be stolen, with intentto deprive the rightful owner of the prop­erty. One who receives stolen property is known as a fence. Special statutes deal with the fencing of types of property that are commonly stolen, such as motor vehicles and valuable airplane, ship, or truck car­goes.


Forgery is falsely making or altering any writing (for example the signature of another person). In forgery there must be intent to defraud either the person whose name is signed or someone else. The most common forgeries are found on checks when one has signed another’s name without permis­sion to do so. Forgery is usually a felony.


Bribery is offering or giving to a government official money or anything of value which the official was not authorized to receive in order to influence performance of an official duty. Accept­ing the money or offer is also bribery.


Extortion (commonly known as blackmail) is obtaining money or other property from a person by wrongful use of force, fear, or the power of office. The extortionist (blackmailer) may threaten to inflict bodily injury on the victim or a close relative of the victim. Sometimes the extortionist threatens to expose a secret crime if payment is not made. Kidnapping is a related crime.


Conspiracy is an agreement between two or more persons to do an unlawful criminal act, or to do a lawful act by unlawful means. Usually the agreement is secret. Depending on the circum­stances, the crime may be either a felony or a misdemeanor.

Computer Crime

Society has only recently addressed the problems of crimes made possible by the computer revolution. One problem involves the stealing of valuable information from other persons’ com­puters.

Exercise 33. Business tycoon, George Henderson, aged 45, was found murdered last night in the library of his mansion. Police detectives are questioning the four suspects pictured below. Read the information about the victim and the suspects and decide who the murderer could be.

Unit 1. Types of legal professions in Britain - №2 - открытая онлайн библиотека George Henderson (the victim)

The multi-millionaire had been stabbed in the back at about 10 p.m. No murder weapon was found. The victim had been watching a docu­mentary on TV Channel 3 when he was killed. His supper tray was found on a table in the library; the food had not been touched!

Unit 1. Types of legal professions in Britain - №3 - открытая онлайн библиотека Roy Smith (the butler)

The butler’s mother is very ill, but his salary is too low to pay for the surgery she needs, even though he had been working for Henderson for twenty years. He was considered by all to be a loyal employee. He claims that at the time of the murder, he was watching a documentary on TV Channel 3,

Unit 1. Types of legal professions in Britain - №4 - открытая онлайн библиотека


1. (n.) A correctional institution meant for punishment and/or rehabilitation of offend­ers.

2. (n.) A public official who hears and decides cases in a law court.

4. (n.) A person who suffers injury, loss, or death as a result of criminal activities or other circumstances.

5. (adj.) Prohibited by law or by official rules.

7. (n.) A penalty inflicted for an offence.

10. (adj.) Relating to the rights of private individuals and legal proceedings concerning these rights as distinguished from criminal proceedings.

12. (n.) The act of putting someone to death as a lawful penalty.

13 (n.) The illegitimate use of force and violence to create fear in order to gain a political or some other objective when innocent people suffer.

15. (v.) To take or receive (property, a right, a title, etc.) by succession or will

Unit 4. Kinds of cases

Exercise 41.Read the following text and write down Russian equivalents for the words and expressions in bold type:

Civil Cases

Civil cases are usually disputes between or among private citizens, corporations, governments, government agencies, and other organizations. Most often, the party bring­ing the suit is asking for money damages for some wrong that has been done. For exam­ple, a tenant may sue a landlord for failure to fix a leaky roof, or a landlord may sue a tenant for failure to pay rent. People who have been injured may sue a person or a company they feel is responsible for the injury.

The party bringing the suit is called the plaintiff; the party being sued is called the de­fendant. There may be many plaintiffs or many defendants in the same case.

The plaintiff starts the lawsuit by filing a paper called a complaint, in which the case against the de­fendant is stated. The next paper filed is usually the answer, in which the defendant dis­putes what the plaintiff has said in the complaint. The defendant may also feel that there has been a wrong committed by the plaintiff, in which case a counterclaim will be filed along with the answer. It is up to the plaintiff to prove the case again the defendant. In each civil case the judge tells the jury the extent to which the plaintiff must prove the case. This is called the plaintiff’s burden of proof, a burden that the plaintiff must meet in order to win. In most civil cases the plaintiff’s burden is to prove the case by a preponder­ance of evidence, that is, that the plaintiff’s version of what happened in the case is more probably true than not true.

Jury verdicts do not need to be unanimous in civil cases. Only 10 jurors need to agree upon a verdict if there are 12 jurors: five must agree if there are six jurors.

Criminal Cases

A criminal case is brought by the state or by a city or county against a person or persons accused of having committed a crime. The state, city, or county is called the plaintiff; the ac­cused person is called the defendant. The charge against the defendant is called an information or a complaint. The defendant has pleaded not guilty and you should presume the defendant’s innocence throughout the entire trial unless the plaintiff proves the defendant guilty. The plaintiff’s burden of proof is greater in criminal case than in a civil case. In each criminal case you hear the judge will tell you all the elements of the crime that the plaintiff must prove; the plaintiff must prove each of these elements beyond reasonable doubt before the defendant can be found guilty.

In criminal cases the verdict must be unanimous, that is, all jurors must agree that the defendant is guilty in order to overcome the presumption of innocence.

Exercise 42.Find in the text above the English equivalents for the following words and expressions:

1. заявление об обвинении 10. наличие более веских доказательств

2. элемент (состава) преступления 11. возражения ответчика по делу

3. презумпция невиновности 12. ответчик

4. показания (2) 13. встречный иск

5. истец 14. бремя доказывания

6. судебное разбирательство (3) 15. ответственность за ущерб

7. частные лица 16. подать иск /возбудить дело

8. денежная компенсация ущерба 17. заслушать показания

9. единогласное решение присяжных 18. заявить о своей невиновности

Exercise 43. Translate the following definitions into Russian:

DEFENDANT– (crim.) person charged with a crime; (civ.) person or entity against whom a civil action is brought.

ACTION– proceeding taken in court synonymous to case, suit, lawsuit.

PREPONDERANCE OF EVIDENCE–means that the weight of evidence presented by one side is more convincing to the trier of facts than the evidence presented by the opposing side.

PLAINTIFF– the party who begins an action, complains or sues.

COUNTERCLAIM– claim presented by a defendant in opposition to the claim of the plaintiff.

COMPLAINT– (crim.) formal written charge that a person has committed a criminal offence; (civ.) initial document filed by a plaintiff which starts the claim against the defendant.

Exercise 44.Match the following English expressions with their Russian equivalents:

1) evidence for the plaintiff a) вызывать истца в суд

2) judgment for the plaintiff b) выступать в суде в качестве адвоката истца

3) plaintiff’s claim c) доказательства в пользу истца

4) to appear for the plaintiff d) исковое требование

5) to call the plaintiff e) свидетель, выставленный истцом

6) witness by the plaintiff f) судебное решение в пользу истца

Exercise 45. The word DEFENDANT has the following meanings in Russian:


civil defendant – ответчик


bailed defendant – обвиняемый или подсудимый, освобождён­ный (из-под стражи) под залог


judgement for the defendant – судебное решение в пользу ответ­чика

Match the following English expressions with their Russian equivalents:

1) convicted defendant a) подсудимый, содержащийся под стражей

2) defendant in custody b) осуждённый

3) defendant’s record c) досье подсудимого

4) defendant’s story d) свидетель, выставленный ответчиком

5) defendant’s witness e) версия, выдвинутая обвиняемым

Exercise 46.Fill in the gaps in the text with appropriate words.

trial confessed court custody guilty

convicted enquiry (* 2) sentenced jury execution

arrested innocent charged appeal dropped

pardon judges plea apprehended hunt

suspect tried executed statements denied

The story began when a man called Timothy Evans was (1)……..for the murder of his wife and baby. He was (2)…….with the double murder, but a short time later one of the charges was (3)…..and he was (4)……for the murder of his daughter only. During the (5)……Evans accused the man whose house he had been living in, John Christie, of the crimes, but no attention was paid to him. The (6)…….found Evans (7)……. and he was (8)…….to death. An (9)…….was turned down and he was (10)…….. in 1950.

Some time later, more women’s bodies were discovered in Christie’s house: two, three, four, five, six. John Christie was the police’s chief (11)…….and they started a nation-wide (12)…..for him. He was soon (13)…… Alleged (14)…….by Christie while he was in (15)……cast doubt on the Evans hanging. When he went to (16)……., Christie (17)……that he had murdered Mrs Evans, but in private it was said that he (18)……to that crime. His (19)……of insanity with regard to other murders was rejected and he was (20)….. of killing his wife.

Soon afterwards there was an (21)……into the (22)……of Timothy Evans. The (23)……decided that justice had been done and Evans had been rightly hanged. It was only in 1966 that another (24)……was set up. This time it was decided that Evans had probably been (25)……. And he was given a free (26)…… Better late than never, as they say.


Unit 1. Types of legal professions in Britain.