Law and order

The present British legal system forms the basis of the Judiciary the third branch of the government – and comprises three separate systems – that for England and Wales, that for Scotland and that for Northern Ireland. They differ somewhat from each other in terms of procedure, courts and the legal professions.

Law and order

Law and order

Law and order

Law and order

Law and order

Law and order

Law and order

Law and order

Law and order


The present British legal system forms the basis of the Judiciary

the third branch of the government – and comprises three separate systems – that for England and Wales, that for Scotland and that for Northern Ireland. They differ somewhat from each other in terms of procedure, courts and the legal professions. Generally, however, Scottish and Northern Irish laws are in line with those of England and Wales, and the majority of Westminster legislation is applicable to Britain as a whole. Thus, here we shall be mainly concerned with the common legal system in England and Wales, the English part of which has evolved over many centuries.

Sources of Law

The first thing to notice is that there is no civil code and no criminal code in England. The law as a whole consists partly of statutes, or Acts of Parliament, and partly of common law. Common law was originally based on medieval customs and conventions and established by the Norman kings.

As Britain developed its trading power, mercantile and other forms of commercial law emerged. Later changes, such as population growth and increasing social and economic complexity necessitated more courts and their further specialization.

It has recently become customary to single out three main sources of contemporary English law: statute law, common law and European law.

Statutes (largely relating to criminal justice), which have been created by Acts of Parliament after the usual passing of bills through Parliament and the Royal Assent, are the ultimate source of law. There are no legal limits on what may be done by Acts of Parliament: Parliament as the supreme legislative body creates new laws, it can repeal an Act, wholly or partly, replacing it with new provisions. Some Acts create a new law, while others consolidate the law by drawing together existing law on a given topic. Acts of Parliament are supreme over all other forms of law except for some European Union law.

Common law (unwritten law or case law), the ancient law of the land, is the outcome of the past decisions and practices based upon custom and reason. These successive court decisions built up over the years formed precedents from which later judges could deduce the basic principles that were to be applied to new cases. The doctrine of precedent is strong in English law, and means that the decisions of higher courts bind the judges of lower courts, who are obliged to follow it.

TASK 1. Answer the following questions.

1. What does the law consist of in England?

2. What is the origin of Common Law?

3. What is Common Law?

4. What necessitated more courts?

5. What are three main sources of contemporary English law?

6. What is the doctrine of precedent?

TASK 2. Read the text and make a synopsis of it in English.

В Соединенном Королевстве Великобритании и Северной Ирландии наряду с английским правом, действующим в Англии и Уэльсе, функционирует как совершенно самостоятельная система право Шотландии. Известными особенностями отличается и английское право, действующее в Северной Ирландии.

Основными источниками английского права являются судебные прецеденты, т.е. решения высших судов, имеющие обязательную силу для них самих и нижестоящих судов, статуты – законодательные акты британского парламента и, наконец, издаваемые исполнительными органами акты так называемого делегированного законодательства. В свою очередь, в системе судебных прецедентов различаются нормы общего права, которое начало формироваться еще в XI в. И ныне играет самостоятельную роль, либо дополняет законодательство в самых различных отраслях правового регулирования, и нормы так называемого права справедливости.

TASK 3. Complete the following sentences .

1. The third branch of the British government is ……….

2. The Judiciary comprises three ……….

3. Common Law was originally based on……….

4. The precedent is ……….

TASK 4. What words are given definitions to? Choose them from the list below.

- the body of rules with authority to govern the actions and relations of people in an organized political community or among States

- a collective term for all judges: in the UK, the Sovereign is head of the…

- a person with authority to hear and decide disputes brought before a court for decision

- all or part of a country’s written law, statute law; also the process of making written law

legislation; law; judge; judiciary

European Community law has become the latest element in English law because of Britain’s membership in the EU since 1973. It derives from the EC treaties, from the Community legislation adopted under such treaties, and from the decisions of the European Court of Justice. That court has the ultimate authority to decide points of Common Law.

Who’s who in the law?

If you are prosecuted for a crime in Britain, you may meet the following people during your process through courts:


Magistrates are unpaid judges, usually chosen from well-respected people in the local community. They are not legally qualified. They are guided on points of law by an official, the clerk. There are magistrates’ courts in most towns.


After the accused person has been arrested, the first person he or she needs to see is a solicitor. Solicitors are qualified lawyers who advise the accused and help prepare the defence case. The solicitor may represent the accused in court. A person who is too poor to afford a solicitor will usually get Legal Aid – financial help from the state.


In more serious cases, or where there are special legal difficulties, it is usual for the solicitor to hire a barrister to defend the accused. The barrister is trained in the law and in the skills required to argue a case in court. The barrister for the defence will be confronted by his or her opposite number, the prosecuting barrister, who represents the state. Legal Aid is available to pay for defence barristers.


A jury consists of twelve men and women from the local community. They sit in the Crown court, with a judge, and listen to witnesses for the defence and prosecution before deciding whether the accused is guilty or innocent. In Britain a person is innocent unless found guilty: the prosecution has the burden of establishing guilt.


Judges are trained lawyers, nearly always ex-barristers, who sit in the Crown court (and appeal courts). The judge rules on points of law, and makes sure that the trial is conducted properly. He or she does not decide on the guilt or innocence of the accused – that is the jury’s job. However, if the jury finds the accused guilty, then the judge will pass sentence.

What do solicitors do?

There are solicitors’ offices in every town of England and Wales. They are the first point of contact for the public when looking for legal advice, including work often performed by notaries in other countries, for instance, transfer of real property, drawing up contracts, and handling successions.

Solicitors in general practice serve the local community, solving the legal problems of the public. They are not, however, tied to any particular court: a solicitor can act throughout England and Wales.

The formalities involved in real property transfer and succession form a significant share of the work of solicitors in general practice. Solicitors also pursue claims arising from personal injuries, or may be called upon to advise or plead in court on their client’s behalf in criminal cases. Family law is a significant area of work: solicitors often appear as advocates in matrimonial cases. They make wills and administer estates of people who have died.

Solicitors advise businesses on such issues as employment, contracts, company formations and competition policy.


to look for (legal advice) – to try to find; to expect

notary – an official authorized to certify or attest documents

to notarise – to certify or attest the documents as a notary

transfers of property – making over property to another person

to pursue claims – to assert the client’s rights to smth

personal injury – damage done to a person’s body

matrimonial cases – cases concerning marriage or married people

will – a legal document directing the disposal of one’s property after death

to administer estates – to administer property, possessions

issue – a point under dispute

competition policy – rivalry, argue

mortgage – a special type of loan

Training of solicitors

The training of solicitors is stringent. Most solicitors are law graduates, although some are qualified in other disciplines, which the Law Society considers equivalent in academic rigour. Those who have graduated in other subjects are obliged to take the Common Professional Examination (CPE), a one year conversion course at Law school or at one of the universities which aims to instill in them the principles of law. Here they will study the 6 core elements of English law, namely: contract law, land law, criminal law, tort, trust law, and constitutional law.

Both law graduates and CPE finalists must complete a further course equivalent to a year’s full-time study, the Law Society’s Legal Practice Course (LPC). At the end of the year students must pass examinations in 4 compulsory substantive law subjects.

Having passed the Law Society’s final examinations, prospective solicitors enter a two-year training period with firms of solicitors, gaining practical experience in variety of areas of law. The training of solicitors is supervised at all stages by the Law Society. The system is designed to ensure that a trainee receives a broad education in all aspects of practice.


TASK 1. Answer the following question and discuss them in small groups.

1. What education do most solicitors have?

2. What is the difference in training of law graduates and those qualified in other subjects?

3. What is the aim of one-year course for graduates in other subjects?

4. Who are the Law Society’s final examinations meant for?

5. What aspects of solicitors’ practice does a further one year course emphasize?

6. What is the aim of two-year training period with firms of solicitors?

TASK 2. Read the text and render it in English.

Образование и профессиональная подготовка

Кандидат, желающий стать солиситором, прежде всего должен стать студентом в Обществе солиситоров. Обычно кандидат, который желает стать солиситором, должен иметь диплом в области права от юридического факультета университета или политехнического института, что освобождает его от общего профессионального экзамена, являющимся обязательным в случае кандидатов, не имеющих юридического образования.

Профессиональное обучение включает однолетний курс для подготовки к окончательному экзамену, после чего следует период практики в конторе практикующего солиситора, и этот период продолжает 2 года в случае студента имеющего юридическое образование и 5 лет для студента, не имеющего такого образования.

Весь процесс обучения студента-юриста занимает 6 лет: три года в университете, один год в юридической школе Общества и два года в качестве ученика в конторе солиситора. Для не имеющего степени студента подготовка занимает 7 лет, что включает подготовку для прохождения общего профессионального экзамена.

Barristers – who are they?

There are 9,000 practising barristers in England and Wales. Barristers are legal consultants offering special services, in particular as advocates or advisors in matters involving litigation. They are known collectively as the bar.

Although most advocacy is undertaken by solicitors, barristers are often instructed to conduct a case because of their expertise and experience in pleading before the courts. Formerly only barristers were allowed to appear as advocates in some courts, but recent legislation has removed this monopoly and solicitors are now acquiring rights of audience in the higher as well as lower courts. Solicitors often seek the advice of barristers even when no appearance in court is anticipated, due to their detailed knowledge of case law.

Practising barristers are all self-employed, although they share offices, which are called chambers. Due to the nature of barristers’ work the chambers are only to be found near to the major courts. In general, a barrister has no direct contact with the client, only through the instructing solicitor. The solicitor will choose the barrister best suited to the needs of the client. Barristers can, however, accept instructions directly from foreign lawyers or clients, if no litigation before an English court is in progress or anticipated (in which case a barrister will only accept instructions from a solicitor). To instruct a barrister a client should contact the barrister’s clerk, who acts as manager for a set of chambers.

Within the ranks of barristers there is a further division between Queen’s (or King’s) Counsel and junior counsel. The former, also known as “silks” because of the material of their robes, comprise roughly 10% of all barristers. They are chosen by the Lord Chancellor, the nation’s highest legal official, for their legal ability and their reputation. The establishment of the reputation usually takes 15 or 20 years. This designation permits to add the letters QC after the name.

The Queen’s Counsels not only argue the most important cases, sometimes assisted by junior counsel, but also form the pool from which British judges are selected.

TASK 1. Answer the following questions.

1. Is the size of the barristers’ profession large in comparison with that of solicitors?

2. What kinds of services do barristers offer?

3. Do most barristers work privately or are they employed?

4. What are the rules of hiring barristers?

5. What are Queen’s counsels? How many barristers become QC?

Training of Barristers. Inns of Court.

The training of barristers is supervised by the four Inns of Court – Gray’ Inn, Lincoln’s Inn, the Middle Temple and the Inner Temple. The Inns of Court are institutions which for centuries have had a special place in the English legal structure. The proper title of each Inn is ‘The Honourable Society of…’. They are voluntary societies, bound by the same rules and founded upon similar constitutions.

Although the four Inns are equal in rank and status, they nevertheless retain their own traditions and customs. The oldest is the Inner Temple, which has produced the largest number of judges.

To become a barrister, a candidate must join one of them and study for 12 terms. The Inns require students to satisfy certain formal requirements – to attend 6 evenings during the term for the purpose of dining in the Hall. The Inns jointly conduct the bar examinations. They separately “call to the Bar”, or admit to practice, individuals who have passed the examinations. Although the Inns provide a semblance of legal education in the form of lectures, many applicants now receive their legal education at universities.

After admission to the bar and a short period of apprenticeship, a barrister must practise on his own. There are no firms of barristers, each individual is economically independent. While barristers may have common chambers, in order to share the expenses of a library or a clerk, they do not share the work brought to them. This means that aspiring young barrister must not only be able to finance his legal education and a period of apprenticeship, but also must be able to support himself during those first few years of practice when little business comes his way.

TASK 1. Answer the following questions .

1.What are the two patterns to become a barrister?

2. What sort of institutions are the Inns of Court?

3. What traditional requirements should a prospective barrister satisfy in order to be called to the Bar?

4. How would you characterize the professional education which the Inns of Court provide?

5. Can barristers practice on their own immediately after admission to the Bar?

Образование и профессиональная подготовка

Молодые люди, желающие стать барристерами, должны быть приняты в члены одного из Иннз оф Корт, и, с орпеделенными исключениями, они должны иметь степень первого или второго класса от университета или его эквивалента.

Они должны выдержать экзамен в коллегии, который проводится Советом юридического образования. Они также участвуют в жизни своего Инна, и они должны присутствовать на определенном числе ужинов, которые организуются в холле Инна.

Все студенты, которые желают стать членами коллегии, должны также участвовать в ряде практических курсов, организованных Советом юридического образования. Успешно выдержавший экзамены студент принимается в коллегию соответствующего Инна и становится барристером. Перед началом самостоятельной практики, однако, молодой барристер должен провести первые шесть месяцев в качестве ученика в конторе квалифицированного старшего барристера, и в течение этого периода ученик не имеет право выполнять какую-либо профессиональную работу за деньги.

TASK 2. Try to cover the following points in your oral presentation. Use the texts above .

1. the patterns to become a barrister

2. the Inns of Court

3. the evolution of legal education

4. the distinguished students of the Bar

TASK 3. Fill in the blanks with words and expressions below.

The senior branch of the legal profession in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is a……….

There are over 9,000 ………., who have the right to fight a………. (Crown ………. and theHigh……….) in England and Wales. ………. . Barristers belong to………. Which is an ancient legal institution and which is controlled by ………. . There are also the four legal societies or ………. In London. The four ………., law colleges, date from the middle ages and have maintained their autonomy and privileges, and been more resistant to attempts at reform than any other British………. .

Barristers have two main functions: first, to give specialized ……….on legal matters and, secondly, to act as ……….in the higher courts. Most sections of the general public cannot approach a barrister directly, but must be introduced by a………. .

advocates; institution; advice; Inns of Court; barristers; solicitor; courts; the Bar Council; the Bar; case

Courts and crimes

All criminal cases start in the magistrates’ courts. The minor cases stay there, with the magistrates deciding on guilt or innocence and then sentencing the criminal. Serious cases are referred by the magistrates to the Crown court – this is called “committal”. In committals, all the magistrates do is hear the outline evidence and decide whether there is a case to answer. Crown court judges have power to sentence more heavily than magistrates.

On committal the accused is either released (“bailed”) by magistrates, or – if the police think there is a danger he might disappear or threaten prosecution witnesses – held in prison until the trial.

Whether the case is committal to the Crown court depends on the seriousness of the crime. The most minor crimes, such as most motoring offences, are known as summary offences, and they are always dealt with by magistrates. The most serious crimes as murder and armed robbery are called indictable offences, and are always committed to the Crown court.

There are many crimes known as “either way” offences, which, as the name implies, may be tried by magistrates or in the Crown court. Sometimes the decision is up to the accused himself, but he should listen carefully to the advice of his lawyer: he may decide that he stand a better chance of being acquitted by a sympathetic jury than by a panel of stern magistrates, but he runs the risk of a higher sentence from a Crown court judge if the jury do find him guilty.


The most common sentences are fines, prison and probation. Probation is used often with more minor offences. A person on probation must report to a local police station at regular intervals, which restricts his or her movement.

Magistrates and judges may also pass suspended sentences, in which case the person will not serve the sentence unless he or she commits another crime, when it will be implemented without more ado. A sentence of community service means that the convicted person has to spend several hours a week doing useful work in his locality.


People who have been convicted can appeal if their lawyer can either show that the trial was wrongly conducted or produce new evidence. Appeal can also be made against the severity of a sentence. Appeals from a magistrates’ court is to the Crown court and then up through the courts system to the Judicial Chamber of the House of Lords, the highest court in the land. From there, appeal is to the European Court of Justice.

A few more facts

- Children under 10 cannot be charged with a criminal offence.

- Offenders between 10 and 17 are tried by special juvenile courts.

- The death penalty technically still exists in Britain for some obscure offences, such as treason, but is no longer used.

- The punishment for murder is a life sentence. This can be much less than a lifetime in prison, depending on factors such as good behaviour.

- The most common punishment for crimes – 80 per cent of the total is a fine.

TASK 1. Now, are these statements true or false?

1. Juries sit in magistrates’ courts.

2. The state helps poorer suspects to pay for their defence.

3. All accused people have to appear before magistrates.

4. Magistrates try a person accused of murder.

5. Crown court judges can hand out stiffer sentences than magistrates.

TASK 2. Finish the sentences. Look through the texts above.

1. Sentences may be different: ………..

2. Appeals can be made if ……….

3. All criminal cases start in ……….

4. Whether the case is committal to the Crown court depends on ……….

5. ‘Either way’ offences are ……….

6. Committal is ……….

TASK 3. What words are given definitions to? Choose them from the list below.

- an illegal act or omission punishable under criminal law.

- specific number of people (usually six or twelve), selected as prescribed by law to render a decision (verdict) in a trial.

- person who testifies under oath before a court or in a deposition regarding what was seen, heard or otherwise observed.

- a qualified lawyer who advises clients, represents them in the lower courts, and prepares cases for barristers to try in higher courts.

- to charge with an offence, crime; to blame.

- a sum payable as punishment for an offence.

solicitor; fine; to accuse; witness; jury; offence


The aim of the domestic legal system is both to control unlawful activities against citizens and the state, and to serve citizens in a variety of ways. Hence there are two main branches of law in the United Kingdom – criminal law and civil law.

Criminal law is concerned with acts punishable by the state, in other words, the primary object of criminal law is to protect society by punishing those who are considered to have broken the law and done something wrong to society in general. The trial and the punishment are supposed to act as deterrents to potential offenders, as well as to state society’s attitudes on a wide range of matters.

Civil law covers disputes (about the rights, duties and obligations) between two or more parties – individuals, companies or other organizations. The purpose of English civil law is not to punish, but to establish harmony or obtain compensation or some other remedy. One party (plaintiff ) will initiate a civil action against another individual or organization (defendant ).

The disputes may be settled during the course of negotiations or litigation or eventually by a judge or registrar after a full trial of the facts.

The distinction between civil and criminal matters is not precise. Courts may be classified as criminal courts and civil courts, but in England and Wales and Northern Ireland magistrates’ courts have both a civil and criminal jurisdiction. However the court of trial and the rules of procedure and evidence will usually differ in civil and criminal cases.

Criminal and Civil Courts

The court system reflects the existing aspects of the law and comprises, accordingly, two types of courts: criminal courts and civil courts.

Criminal courts

The criminal court structure in England and Wales was created by the Courts Act of 1971 and comprises two levels of criminal courts.

The lower court (or court of first instance) is the magistrates’ court, which deals with summary – the less serious – offences: the vast majority of criminal cases, and conducts preliminary investigation into the more serious offences. These more serious – indictable – offences are mostly tried by the higher court – the Crown court.

Magistrates’ Courts

Magistrates’ courts are local courts; counties are divided into divisions serving rural and urban areas, each having its own court. Magistrates’ courts are sometimes called ‘courts of summary jurisdiction’ or ‘petty sessions’, or police courts’.

There are about 700 magistrates’ courts in England and Wales, which are open to the public and the media. They usually consist of three to seven lay magistrates – known as Justices of the Peace (JPs).

The JPs are ordinary but worthy citizens who have been appointed to their positions by the Lord Chancellor on the advice of local appointing committees. JPs have no formal qualifications; they are chosen merely for their good reputation, often with the support of political parties or approved voluntary bodies. JPs hear cases without a jury, receive no salary for their services (only expenses). On appointment they are obliged to attend court as observers before actually taking their seats on the bench, and they are expected to attend courses of instruction about their work. There are some 30,000 JPs (1999) throughout England and Wales, each of them works in the court about 30-50 days a year.

In Central London and some other big cities there are also stipendiary magistrates. These are trained lawyers who work full time and are paid salaries. They are mainly used in large cities to reduce the heavy workloads of the magistrates’ courts.

Every person charged with an offence is summoned to appear before a local magistrates’ court, which may impose a fine up to a general limit of 2,000 pounds or twelve months’ imprisonment, though for some specified offences the laws prescribe maximum penalties below these limits. With 98% of cases the magistrates on the bench decide on guilt or innocence, and if necessary what penalty to impose. With more serious cases the magistrates can decide only to send them for trial in a crown court.

Crown Courts

Criminal offences may be grouped into three categories. Offences triable only on indictment – the very serious offences such as murder, manslaughter, rape and robbery – are tried only by the Crown Court presided over by a judge sitting with a jury. Summary offences – the least serious offences and the vast majority of criminal cases – are tried by unpaid lay magistrates sitting without a jury. A third category of offences (such as theft, burglary, or malicious woundings) are known as ‘either way’ offences and can be tried either by magistrates or by the Crown Court depending on the circumstances of each case and the wishes of the defendant.

In addition to dealing with summary offences and the ‘either way’ offences which are intrusted to them, the magistrates’ courts commit cases to the Crown Court either for trial or for sentence. Committals for trial are either of indictable offences or of ‘either way’ offences, which it has been determined, will be tried in the Crown Court. Committals for sentence occur when the defendant in an ‘either way’ case has been tried summarily but the court has decided to commit him or her to the Crown Court for sentence.

The Crown Court is the higher court, which deals with very serious offences such as murder, manslaughter, drug trafficking, rape and armed robbery, which make about 2% of all criminal cases. There are about 90 Crown Court centres, in six regional areas called circuits, with most of them situated in London and the larger towns. The Central Criminal Court in London (known as the Old Bailey ) is now a Crown Court centre. The centres are divided into different level of importance, so that the more serious criminal and civil cases are heard by top-level courts.

The administration of the Crown Courts is organized centrally by the Lord Chancellor’s Department in London.

The Crown Court has exclusive jurisdiction over all indictable offences wherever committed. Innocence or guilt is determined at a trial presided by a judge, with a jury of twelve citizens. The English law presumes the innocence of an accused person: thus it is the prosecution who has the burden of establishing guilt. An accused person has the right to employ a legal advisor and if cannot afford to pay he may be granted legal aid wholly or partly from the state.

Vocabulary Notes to the text ‘Crown Courts’ .

1. triable – подсудный

2. manslaughter – 1) человекоубийство; 2) непредумышленное убийство

3. rape – изнасилование

4. lay magistrate – мировойсудья; (lay = justices of the peace)

5. theft – кража, воровство

6. burglary – ночная кража со взломом

7. indictableoffences – правонарушения, подлежащие рассмотрению в суде

8. totrysummarily – рассматривать дело в суде в порядке суммарной юрисдикции.


TASK 1 . Read the continuation of the text ‘Crown Courts’ and substitute Russian words in brackets by the English ones. Use the list of words below.

There are 63 full-time, legally qualified (должностные лица , находящиеся на жаловании правительства ) who may sit alone and usually (председательствовать в суде / при судебном разбирательстве ) in urban areas where the workload is heavy.

Cases involving people under 17 are heard in (суды по делам несовершеннолетних ). These are specially constituted magistrates’ courts which either sit apart from other courts or are held at a different time. Only limited categories of people may be present and (сообщения средств массовой информации ) must not identify any juvenile appearing either as a (ответчик , подсудимый , обвиняемый ) or a (свидетель ). Where a young person under 17 is charged jointly with someone of 17 or over, the case is heard in an ordinary magistrates’ court or the Crown Court. If the person is found guilty, the court may transfer the case to a juvenile court for (приговор ) unless satisfied that it is undesirable to do so.

The Crown Court deals with trials of the more serious cases, the sentencing of offenders committed for sentence by magistrates’ courts, and appeals from magistrates’ courts. It sits at about 90 centres and is presided over by High Court judges, full-time (окружные судьи ) and part-time (рекордеры /мировыесудьисюрисдикциейпоуголовнымигражданскимделамвгородахигородках). All (состязательные судебные разбирательства ) take place before a jury. Magistrates sit with a circuit judge or recorder to deal with appeals and (передачи на рассмотрение суда для вынесения приговора ).

The Government is planning to alter court procedure regarding cases of serious or complex fraud with a view to by-passing full committal proceedings in magistrates’ courts at the discretion of the prosecution, but with a special procedure under which the accused would be able to apply to the Crown Court (быть оправданным ) on the ground that there was no case to answer.

1. to be discharged

2. contested trials

3. circuit judges

4. sentence

5. defendant

6. media reports.

7. stipendiary magistrates

8. to preside (in court)

9. juvenile courts

10. juvenile offender

11. witness

12. recorder

13. committal for sentence

TASK 2. Make a dialogue using set expressions and phrases .

Will you kindly answer me what you really know about stipendiary magistrates? – Будьтелюбезныответить, чтовамизвестнообоплачиваемыхдолжностныхлицах?

I agree with you, but… - Согласенсвами, но…

That’s all right. Nevertheless, it is urgent to talk over the fate of juvenile offenders. – Всеэтоправильно. Тем не менее, представляется актуальным обговорить вопрос, касающийся судьбы малолетних (несовершеннолетних) преступников.

It is important to draw attention to the role and activities of the Crown Court… - ВажнопривлечьвниманиекролиидеятельностиСудаКороны…

Everythingdependsonthecircumstances: contestedtrials... - Все зависит от обстоятельств: состязательные судебные разбирательства…

My information is that the Government is planning to alter… - Поимеющимсясведениям, правительствопланируетизменить…

TASK 3. Finish the following sentences, using the information from the texts above.

1. The main branches of law in the UK are……….

2. The purpose of English criminal law is ……….

3. The purpose of English civil law is ……….

4. The criminal court system in English and Wales was created by ……….

5. The JPs are ……….

6. Stipendiary magistrates are ……….

7. Criminal offences may be grouped into………. They are……….

8. The Old Bailey is ……….

TASK 4. What words are given definitions to? Choose them from the list below?

- the unlawful killing of a human without any malicious intent or deliberation, which may be involuntary, in the commission of a lawful act without due caution.

- to kill (sb.) unlawfully and intentionally.

- the crime of forcing sb., esp. a woman to have sexual intercourse against her/his will.

- to steal sth. from (a person or place), esp. by violence or threat.

- the judgment formally pronounced by the court or judge upon the defendant after his conviction in a criminal prosecution, imposing the punishment to be inflicted.

- one who steals, esp. secretly and without violence.

- burglar – one who breaks into houses or other buildings to steal.

murder; manslaughter; to rob; rape; theft; burglar; sentence


Criminal trials normally take place in open court with two contending parties: the prosecution and the defence, and rules of evidenceare rigorously applied. The accused is brought into the dock, the charge is read out, and he or she is asked to plead ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’. On a ‘guilty’ plea, the person is usually sentenced after a short presentation of the facts by the prosecution. On a ‘not guilty’ plea, the trial proceeds in order to establish the person’s guilt or innocence. The responsibility of the prosecution is to prove ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ that the accused did commit the alleged crime. If the proof is not sufficient, the jury must return a ‘not guilty’ verdict.

When the trial begins, the leading counsel for the prosecution explains the crime to the jury. The prosecution builds up its case by presenting witnesses. One-by-one, they proceed to the witness box, where they take an oath. Some of the prosecution witnesses may be police officers reporting what they saw, with evidence of fingerprints or searches. The prosecuting counsel (barrister) then questions them so that the entire crime can be reconstructed. Each witness then can be cross-examined by the other side. When the examination of the crown witnesses is concluded, the defence counsel calls witnesses for the defence, including the accused person himself, in an attempt to show that he is innocent; these witnesses may also be cross-examined by the other side. Then the accused, or his counsel, makes a speech, summarizing his defence. Finally the prosecuting counsel makes a speech in reply.

The prosecution and defence of an accused person are still generally carried out by solicitors in the magistrates’ courts and by barristers in the crown court, although it is possible to defend oneself.

As Crown courts are contests between the two opposing parties, neither the prosecution nor the defence counsel is concerned to establish the whole truth about the accused person. Both may well wish to avoid aspects, which weaken their case.

The Jury

In jury trials the judge decides questions of law, sums up the evidence for the jury and instructs it on the relevant law, and discharges the accused and passes sentence. Only the jury decides whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty. In England and Wales, if the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, the judge may direct it to bring in a majority verdict provided that, in the normal jury of 12 people, there are not more than two dissentients. If the jury returns a verdict of ‘not guilty’, the prosecution has no right of appeal and the defendant cannot be tried again for the same offence. In the event of a ‘guilty’ verdict, the defendant has a righr of appeal to the appropriate court.

A jury is completely independent of the judiciary. Any attempt to interfere with a jury once it is sworn in is punishable under the Contempt of Court Act 1981.

People between the ages of 18 and 65 whose names appear on the electoral register, with certain exceptions, are liable for jury service and their names are chosen at random. Ineligible persons include the judiciary, priests, people who have within the previous ten years been members of the legal profession, the Lord Chancellor’s Department, or the police, prison and probation services, and certain sufferers from mental illness. Persons disqualified from jury service include those who have, within the previous ten years, served any part of sentence of imprisonment, youth custody or detention, or been subject to a community service order, or, within the previous five years, been placed on probation. Anyone who has been sentenced to five or more years’imprisonment is disqualified for life.


TASK 1. Check the comprehension of the texts ‘Criminal trials’ and ‘The Jury’ by choosing the answer, which you think, is correct.

1. Criminal trials are normally held in open court;

a) criminal trials are not normally held in open court.

b) yes, it is true as evidence may help the accused, the defence having the right to the last speech at the trial;

c) criminal trials are normally in both open court and closed court.

2. In jury trials the judge discharges the accused or passes sentence .

a) in jury trials the judge decides only questions of law;

b) yes, it is true; besides the judge instructs the jury on the relevant law;

c) in jury trials the jury pass (passes) sentence.

3. In jury trials only the jury decides whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty.

a) yes, it is true, then the judge passes sentence;

b) the jury really decides this question, but the judge participates in this work;

c) the jury does not decide this question.

4. In England and Wales the normal jury is of 12 people.

a) no, there may be 6 people in the jury;

b) in some cases, their number comes up to 18 people;

c) according to law in the normal jury there are 12 people.

5. In the event of a ‘guilty’ verdict, the defendant has a right of appeal to the appropriate court.

a) the defendant has no right of appeal;

b) yes, it is true; the defendant has this right;

c) the defendant can appeal to the Superior court.

6. A jury is completely independent of the judiciary .

a) a jury to some extent depends on local authorities;

b) a jury is affected by the Governmental officers;

c) yes, it is true and any attempt to interfere with a jury is punishable under the Contempt of Court Act 1981.

7. Not everybody is liable for jury service .

a) but yes, every person may be liable for jury service;

b) there are certain limits for those who have within the previous ten years served any part of a sentence of imprisonment;

c) yes, it is true, there are very high requirements to those who are liable for jury service, there are special rulings: ineligible persons include the judiciary, priests and many other.


The Civil Law

The main subdivision of the civil law of England, Wales and Northern Ireland are: family law, the law of property, the law of contract and the law of torts (covering injuries suffered by one person at the hands of another irrespective of any contract between them and including concepts such as negligence, defamation and trespass). Other branches of the civil law include constitutional and administrative (particularly concerned with the use of executive power), industrial, maritime and ecclesiastical law. Scottish civil law has its own, often analogous, branches.

Civil Courts

England and Wales

Most civil cases are heard in the first instance by the County Court , but in cases where large amounts are in dispute they will initially be heard in the High Court . Appeal from both the County Courts and the High Court is to the Court of Appeal (Civil Division).

The jurisdiction of the 274 county courts covers actions founded upon contract and tort (with minor exceptions); trust and mortgage cases; and actions for the recovery of land. Cases involving claims exceeding set limits may be tried in the county court by consent of the parties or in certain circumstances on transfer from the High Court.

Other matters dealt with by the county courts include hire purchase, the Rent Acts, landlord and tenant, and adoption cases. Divorce cases are determined in those courts designated as divorce county courts, and outside London bankruptcies are dealt with in certain county courts. The courts also deal with complaints of race and sex discrimination.

All judges of the Supreme Court (comprising the Court of Appeal, the Crown Court and the High Court) and all circuit judges and recorders have power to sit in the county courts, but each court has one or more circuit judges assigned to it by the Lord Chancellor, and the regular sittings of the court are mostly taken by them. The judge normally sits alone, although on request the court may, exceptionally, order a trial with a jury.

The High Court of Justice is divided into the Chancery Division, the Queen’s Bench Division and the Family Division. Its jurisdiction is both original and appellate and covers civil and some criminal cases. In general, particular types of work are assigned to a particular division. The Family Division, for instance, is concerned with all jurisdiction affecting the family, including that relating to adoption and guardianship. The Chancery Division deals with the interpretation of wills and the administration of estates. Maritime and commercial law is the responsibility of admiralty and commercial courts of the Queen’s Bench Division.

Each of the 80 or so judges of the High Court is attached to one division on appointment but may be transferred to any other division while in office. Outside London (where the High Court sits at the Royal Courts of Justice) sittings are held at 26 county court centres. For the hearing of cases at first instance, High Court judges sit alone. Appeals in civil matters from lower courts are heard by courts of two (or sometimes three) judges, or by single judges of the appropriate division, nominated by the Lord Chancellor.


1. family law – семейноеправо

2. property – собственность

The law of property – правособственности

3. negligence – небрежность

4. defamation – клевета, диффамация

5. trespass – посягать, злоупотреблять; нарушать чужое право владения; совершать проступок или правонарушение

6. the law of contract – договорноеправо

7. industriallaw – промышленное право

8. maritimelaw – морское право

9. ecclesiasticlaw - церковное право

10. litigation – тяжба, судебный спор, процесс (разбирательства)

11. jurisdiction - отправление правосудия; юрисдикция; подсудность; судебная практика;

судебный округ; орган власти;

actualjurisdiction – существующая судебная практика

appellate jurisdiction – апелляционнаяюрисдикция

to come within the jurisdiction – подпадатьподюрисдикцию

to fall out sb’s jurisdiction бытьвнечьей-либоюрисдикции

12. mortgage – ипотечныйзалог

13. trust – доверительнаясобственность, кредит, доверие

14. claim – требование; претензия, заявлениеправа

15. recorder – протоколист, регистратор; рикордер, городской мировой судья и судья по уголовным делам;

generalrecorder – присяжный протоколист в суде

16. will – воля, завещание

17. matrimonialproceedings – заключение в тюрьму по семейным делам

Commentary and notes

1. improving the machinery of civil justice – улучшениеорганизациигражданскогоправосудия

2. to reduce delays – сокращатьзадержки

3. thelimitedciviljurisdiction – ограниченные гражданские полномочия

4. maintenanceorders – назначение алиментов

5. adoptionordersandaffiliationorders – разрешение об установлении и признании отцовства

6. actions for the recovery of land – делаоземельномвзыскании

7. on transfer from the High Court – попереводу (дела) изВысшегосуда

8. circuit judges assigned to … - окружныесудьи, назначенные…

9. itsjurisdictionisbothoriginalandappellate – он может быть как судом первой инстанции, так и апелляционным

10. the administration of estates – управлениеимуществом


TASK 1. Answer the questions :

1. What are the main sub-divisions of the civil law of England, Wales and Northern Ireland?

2. What cases do the county courts deal with?

3. What do you know about the limited civil jurisdiction of magistrates’ courts?

4. What does the jurisdiction of the 274 county courts cover?

5. What cases may be tried in the county court by consent of the parties?

6. What can you say about other matters dealt with by the county courts?

7. What kind of courts regard divorce cases?

8. Do judges of the Supreme Court have power to sit in the county courts?

9. How is the High Court of Justice divided?

TASK 2 . Check the comprehension of the text “Civil Courts” by choosing the answer, which you think, is correct.

1. The jurisdiction of the county courts covers actions founded upon contract and tort; trust and mortgage cases.

a) mortgage cases are under the jurisdiction of criminal courts;

b) actions founded upon contract may be regarded by both civil courts and criminal courts;

c) this statement is correct, in addition the recovery of land is under the jurisdiction of the county courts.

2. Other matters dealt with by the county courts include hire purchase, the Rent Acts, landlord and tenant, and adoption cases.

a) adoption cases cannot be regarded by the county courts, they are under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court;

b) yes, it is true, besides the county courts regard the cases on divorce, complaints of race and sex discrimination;

c) the Rent Acts are under the jurisdiction of criminal acts.

3. All judges of the Supreme Court and all circuit judges have power to sit in the county courts.

a) it is not quite so, not all circuit judges have power to sit in the county courts;

b) the judges of the Court of Appeal have no power to sit in the courts either;

c) yes, it is absolutely true, and in addition recorders have also power to sit in the county courts, but each court has one or more circuit judges, assigned to it by the Lord Chancellor, and the regular sittings of the court are mostly taken by them.

4. The High Court of Justice is divided into divisions .

a) yes, it is true and it includes the Chancery Division, the Queen’s Bench Division and the Family Division;

b) the High Court of Justice does not have any divisions;

c) the High Court of Justice is divided into the Chancery Division and the Family Division

and what is most interesting the High Court of Justice cannot be original.

5. The Chancery Division deals with the interpretation of wills and the administration of estates.

a) the Chancery Division deals only with the administration of estates;

b) the Chancery Division deals with the administration of estates and the matters of bankruptcies;

c) it is really true.

6. Maritime and commercial law is the responsibility of admiralty and commercial courts of the Queen’s Bench Division.

a) the Queen’s Bench Division mainly deals with adoption cases and guardianship and with all jurisdiction, affecting the family;

b) the Queen’s Bench Division deals with the interpretation of wills;

c) yes, maritime and commercial law are under the jurisdiction of admiralty and commercial courts of this division.

7. Appeals in civil matters from lower courts are heard by courts of two (or sometimes three) judges.

a) yes, it is true and it may be added, that there may be single judges of the appropriate division, nominated by the Lord Chancellor;

b) appeals in these cases are heard by courts of five judges;

c) appeals from lower courts are heard by courts of only single judges.

TASK 3. Translate the microtext in writing.

Appeals in England and Wales

Appeals in matrimonial, adoption and guardianship proceedings heard by magistrates’ courts go to a divisional court of the Family Division of the High Court. Affiliation appeals are heard by the Crown Court, as are appeals from decisions of the licensing committees of magistrates. Appeals from the High Court and county courts are heard in the Court of Appeal (Civil Division), consisting of the Master of the Rolls and 27 Lord Justices of Appeal, and may go on to the House of Lords, the final court of appeal in civil and criminal cases.

The judges in the House of Lords are the nine Lords of Appeal in Ordinary, who must have a quorum of three, but usually sit as a group of five, and sometimes even of seven. Lay peers do not attend the hearing of appeals (which normally take place in a committee room and not in the legislative chamber), but peers who hold or have held high judicial office may also sit. The president of the House in its judicial capacity is the Lord Chancellor.

Commentary and notes to the text .

1. affiliationappeals – апелляции по делам об усыновлении

2. decisions of the licensing committees of magistrates – решенияуполномоченныхкомитетовмировыхсудей

3. the Master of the Rolls – хранительсудебногоархива

4. LordsofAppealinOrdinary – Лорды по апелляциям – постоянные члены суда

5. lay peers – пэры – непрофессиональныеюристы

6. the legislative chamber – законодательная палата


Coroner’s courts

Coroners investigate violent and unnatural deaths where the cause is unknown. Deaths may be reported to the local coroner (who is either medically or legally qualified, or both) by doctors, the police, the registrar, various public authorities or members of the public. If the death is sudden and the cause unknown, the coroner need not hold an inquest if, after a post-mortem examination has been made, he or she is satisfied that the death was due to natural causes. Where there is reason to believe that the deceased died a violent or unnatural death or died in prison or in other specified circumstances, the coroner must hold an inquest and it is the duty of the coroner’s court to establish how, when and where the deceased died. A coroner may sit alone, or in certain circumstances, with a jury.

Vocabulary notes.

1. coroner – коронер (следователь, специальной функцией которого является расследование случаев насильственной или внезапной смерти)

2. the registrar – регистрационное бюро (чиновник-регистратор)

3. to hold an inquest – проводитьрасследование

4. post-mortem – лат. Вскрытиетрупа

5. the deceased – покойный

Youth Courts

An important additional function of the magistrates’ courts is to hear cases involving young people under 18 (who are collectively called ‘juveniles’ ). The age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales is ten, except in Scotland where it is eight.

Britain has a serious problem with young offenders. The peak age for committing crime is 15: one in four criminal offences are committed by teenagers under 16. By that time crime is for many already a lifestyle, no wonder that one of the Government priorities is to reform youth justice to focus efforts on preventing offending by children and young people.

Special juvenile courts comprise experienced magistrates and must include at least one member of either sex. Proceedings are held in private, media reports must not identify a young person concerned in the proceedings, whether a defendant, victim or witness. There is a wide range of penalties for young people who are found guilty, ranging from fines and compensations for those under 17 (where their parents or guardians may be ordered to pay) to confinement for those aged 15 and over in a young offenders’ institution.

The Crime and Disorders Act 1998 has established a number of new orders to prevent offending and reoffending by young people.

There are administrative tribunals which make quick, cheap and fair decisions with much less formality. Tribunals deal with professional standards, disputes between individuals, and disputes between individuals and government departments (e.g. over taxation).

Courts of Appeal

Criminal appeals are an integral part of the criminal procedure in England and Wales as no trial process can be perfect. Some people have been found guilty of crimes they did not commit; and probably some that were really guilty have been found ‘not guilty’ and set free.

The appeal system is necessary safeguard against mistakes and injustice, which do occur from time to time. In criminal law appeals to a higher court can be expensive, and leave to appeal must usually have been granted by a lower court. People who have been convicted can appeal if their lawyer can either show that the trial was wrongly conducted or produce new evidence. Appeals can be made against the severity of the sentence, and can be brought on grounds of fact and law. If an appeal succeeds, the higher court may quash the conviction, reduce the sentence or order a new trial. Since 1989, the prosecution can also appeal against what it regards as an insufficient punishment, and the appeal courts can substitute a stronger sentence.

A person convicted by a magistrates’ court may appeal to the High Court (a divisional court of the Queen’s Bench Division), on points of law, and to the Crown court, by way of rehearing.

Appeals from the Crown court against the conviction or against the sentence (on points of law and fact) go to the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal. The appeal is heard by two judges who deliver judgments.

A further appeal can be made to the Judicial Chamber of the House of Lords , which is the

highest court of appeal in England and Wales. But leave to appeal is only allowed if a point of law of general public importance is involved. The House of Lords, in this legal capacity, is normally represented by up to five Law Lords who hear the case, and who may be presided over by the Lord Chancellor , if the latter so wishes. From there, appeal is to the European Court of Justice.

In addition to these, there exists another appeal route from both the magistrates’ and Crown courts, which is to a divisional court of the Queen’s Bench Division. This procedure is only possible for matters of law.


TASK 1.Complete the following sentences with the correct names of courts.

The most common type of Law Court in Great Britain is the (a)……….court. More serious criminal cases then go to (b)……….court. Civil cases are dealt with in (c)……….courts. Appeals are heard by(d)……….courts. The highest court of appeal in England and Wales is (e)………. .

Certain cases may be referred to (f) ……….in Luxembourg.

The legal system also includes (g) ……….courts (which deal with offenders under seventeen) and (h) ……….courts (which investigate violent, sudden or unnatural deaths). There are also administrative (i) ……….which deal with professional standards, disputes between individuals, and disputes between individuals and government departments.

TASK 2.Complete the following sentences with the words and phrases from the list below, using them in the correct form .

1.If a person in Britain has a legal problem, he will go and see a ………. . 2. A case of divorce is a ………. . 3. If you want to ……….your debts, your case will be heard in the County Court. 4. ……….is an expert in the interpretation of law. He is also an expert on ……….(the art of presenting cases in Court). 5. Coroners who have medical or legal training……….violent or unnatural deaths. 6. A jury consists of twelve jurors who are ordinary people chosen ……….from the Electoral Register. 7. In a Magistrates’ Court the accused is placed in ………. . 8. A defence lawyer in court ……….the witnesses. 9. A judge ……….the accused if he ………. .

to plead guilty; attorney; to recover; barrister; to cross-examine; civil action; to inquire into; advocacy; to sentence; at random; solicitor; the dock.

TASK 3. Choose the correct definition for each legal profession mentioned in texts above.

(a) an officer acting as a judge in the lower courts.

(b) a public official with authority to hear and decide cases in a law court.

(c) a group of people who swear to give a true decision on issues in a law court.

(d) an official who investigates the cause of any death thought to be violent or unnatural causes.

(e) a lawyer who has the right to speak and argue in higher law courts.

(f) a lawyer who prepares legal documents, advises clients on legal problems and speaks for them in lower law courts.

TASK 4 . Match each word or expression below with the correct definition.

1. everything witnesses say in court: facts, etc.

2. where witnesses stand in court.

3. someone who sees a crime or an accident.

4. ask all witnesses involved in a case questions.

5. to say something happened though the fact hasn’t been proved yet.

6. all the evidence, facts, things, etc. that a solicitor can use to prove a man is not guilty.

a) witness b) cross-examine c) witness box d) evidence e) defence f) allege

TASK 5. Complete the following sentences with the words and phrases from the list below.

1. The number of young people who .......... crimes has risen sharply in recent years.

2. Another house was broken into last week. This is the third …….... in the area in the past month.

3. The judge …….... him to seven year’s ………. for armed robbery.

4. After twelve hours, the Jury finally reached its …….... : the prisoner was guilty.

5. Although the police suspected that he had been involved in the robbery, since they had no definite ………. there was nothing they could do about it.

6. He parked his car in the wrong place and had to pay a $20 parking ………. .

7. This is the fourth fire in the area recently. The police suspect ………. .

8. The shop decided to install closed-circuit television in an effort to combat the problem of ……….

9. He was ………. by police outside a pub in Soho and ………. with murder.

10. There are two criminal courts in Britain – the ……….for minor offences and the ……….for more serious ones.

11. A……….is a young person who breaks the law.

12. A……….is someone who sees a crime being committed.

13. The lawyer who prepares the case for his or her client prior to appearing in court is called a ……….. The lawyer who actually presents the case in court is called a………. .

14. The sum of money left with a court of law so that a prisoner may be set free until his or her trial comes up is called ………. .

15. The bank manager admitted taking $250,000 of the bank money during the previous five years. He was found guilty of ………..

16. If a person is ………., this means that he or she is put in prison before his or her trial comes up.

17. The witness held the Bible in her right hand and said: ”I swear by Almighty God that the ……….I shall give truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”.

18. The formal statement made by a witness in court is called a ………..

19. Since it was his first offence, he was not sent to prison but put on ……….for 6 months.

20. At a trial, the barrister who speaks for the accused is called the Counsel for the ………., while the barrister who speaks against him is called the Counsel for the ………. .

arrested; solicitor; verdict; fine; juvenile delinquent; ball; prosecution; commit; shop-lifting; in custody; evidence; proof; charged; sentenced; Magistrates’ Court; probation; embezzlement; Crown Court; defence; barrister; witness; testimony; arson; burglary; imprisonment.

TASK 6. Complete the following sentences with the words from the list below.


A policeman was sent to (a)……….the disappearance of some property from a hotel. When he arrived, he found that the hotel staff had caught a boy in one of the rooms with a camera and some cash. When the policeman tried to (b)……….the boy, he became violent and the policemen had to(c)……….him. At the police station the boy could not give a satisfactory explanation for his actions and the police decided to (d)……….him with the (e)……….of the camera and cash. They took his (f)………., locked him in a (g)………., and (h)……….him overnight. The next morning he appeared in (i)……….before the (j)……….. He took an (k)………. and (l)………. not guilty.

Two (m)………., the owner of the property and a member of the hotel staff, gave (n)………. .After both sides of the case had been heard the boy was (o)……….guilty. He had to pay a (p) ……….of $50 and he was given a (q) ………. of three months in prison suspended for two years.

theft; evidence; sentence; court; pleaded; arrest; charge; magistrate; fingerprints; oath; detained; handcuffs; found; investigate; fine; witnesses; cell.

TASK 7. Complete the following sentences with the words from the list below.

Law and Punishment

a) If you want legal advice in Britain, you go to a ……….

b) At the end of the ………., the judge ordered the twelve men and women of the ……….to retire and consider their………., guilty or not guilty.

c) Men and women who look after prisoners in prison are called prison officers or………. .

d) If a person dies in unusual circumstances, an ……….is held at a special court, and the ‘judge’ is called a ………. .

e) A policeman who investigates serious crime is called a ………. . He wears ………. , not uniform.

f) In some countries murderers are executed but other countries have abolished the ………. .

detective; plain clothes; jury; warders; inquest; coroner; verdict; solicitor; trial; death penalty

TASK 8. Read the text and fill in the blanks with the words below.

Kinds of Cases

As a juror, you may sit on a criminal case, a civil case, or both.

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 ...1...; the party being sued is called the ...2... There may be many ...3... or many...4... in the same case.

The plaintiff starts the lawsuit by filing a paper called a ...5..., in which the case against the defendant is stated. The next paper filed is usually the ...6... , 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 ...7... will be filed along with the answer. It is up to the plaintiff to prove the case against 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 ...8..., 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 ...9... , 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 ten jurors need to agree upon a verdict if there are 12 jurors: five must agree if there are six jurors.


Preponderance of evidence; burden of proof; counterclaim; complaint; answer; defendant; plaintiff

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...1...; the accused person is called ...2... The charge against the defendant is called an...3... or ...4.... 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 greayer in a 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 element...5... 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.


Beyond reasonable doubt; complaint; information; plaintiff; presumption of innocence

TASK 9. Give English equivalents for the following words and expressions.

1) подать иск;

2) начать (возбудить) дело;

3) арендатор;

4) показания;

5) судебное разбирательство;

6) истец;

7) совершить преступление;

8) признать виновным;

9) заслушать показания;

10) обвиняемый человек;

11) преобладание (превосходство) свидетельских показаний;

12) обвинен в преступлении;

13) заявить о невиновности;

14) уголовноедело;

15) гражданскоедело

TASK 10. Read the following extracts from The Week 29 May 1999 and make a summary. Complete sentences below.

An Englishman’s Right to Trial by Jury

Jack Straw’s decision to limit the right of defendants to trial by jury is seen by many as a threat to one of our basic liberties. How fundamental has the role of the jury been in our legal system and why has the Government decided to tamper with it?

Isn’t the right to trial by jury enshrined in Magna Carte?

No. Although Magna Carte says “no freeman shall be taken or imprisoned except by the lawful judgment of his peers”, this probably refers to trial by a judge, not a jury. Jurors were used at the time but, far from being impartial adjudicators, their job was to seek out suspected miscreants and present them for trial before the King’s itinerant justices. Often, the defendant’s fate would then be determined by “ordeal”: he was innocent if able to endure various forms of torture. By the 15th century, trial by jury had replaced trial by ordeal, but it was only in the 18-th century that the crucial aspects of the present system – for instance, the requirement that jury should not sit on a case of which they have prior knowledge – were established.

Did the jury system take root in other countries?

After the French Revolution it was introduced in France as a symbol of popular government. Napoleon went on to establish it throughout Europe, but it did not survive. Many states got rid of it in the 19th century; Germany abandoned it in 1924, and France never restored it after it was abolished in the Forties during the German occupation. The system still prevails in many former British colonies, pre-eminently in the US where the jury trial is widely used in both criminal and civil cases. Meanwhile Russia, Spain and Japan are thinking of introducing juries as a way of improving their justice systems.

Can any English defendant elect to have trial by jury?

England is the only country where the defendant is given the right to choose, though that right is limited. Very serious crimes such as murder or rape can only be tried by a judge and jury, while “summary” offences such as motoring offences and drunkenness can only be heard by magistrates. But there is a range of intermediate crimes – so called “either-way offences” such as burglary, shoplifting and assault, where the accused can opt for a jury. About 20% do so. Straw now proposes to give magistrates the power to determine the trial venue, subject to the defendant’s right of appeal to a judge in chambers.

1. Before the 15 century jurors’ job was to......

2. By the 15th century trial by jury had replaced......

3. The crucial aspects of the present British system were established.........

4. The present system took root in France .....

5. But it didn’t survive in......, and it still prevails in......

6. The right of the defendant to choose trial by jury is limited only ......

7. Such offences as.....can be heard by magistrates.

8. The accused can also opt for a jury when......

TASK 11. Complete sentences below to summarize the text.

Why does the Government want to change the system?

Partly because it hopes to save 70 million pounds a year. It is nearly six times as expensive to arrange a jury trial (average cost 13,500 pounds) than a trial in a magistrates’ court (average cost 2,500 pounds). But it is also, says the Government, a question of principle. As a 1993 report by the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice argued, it is just as wrong in principle to give defendants a choice of court as it would be to give a choice of judge. No other country does so; even in Scotland the decision in either-way cases is made by the prosecutor. The English system is also open to abuse, with defendants using expensive option of a jury trial to persuade the prosecution to accept a plea to a less serious charge; or simply to put off the day of conviction and sentence. (It is usually more pleasant to serve a jail sentence on remand). Indeed, of the 18,500 defendants last year who took the jury option, 90% changed their pleas to guilty – often at the door of the court – so wasting court time and causing delay for defendants.

1. The Government wants to change the system because it is very expensive to......

2. According to the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice, it is wrong to...

TASK 12. Choose English equivalents for the Russian words in brackets. See the words below.

Isn’t it also true that juries are more lenient?

In some ways, yes. Juries (1. оправдывают, освобождают) about 40% of defendants, magistrates a mere 25%. On the other hand, once a defendant (2. признаетсебявиновным) - as is the case with the large majority of those who (3. выбирают) jury trial – Crown Courts work to their disadvantage. Defendants in either-way cases are three times more likely to get (4. тюремныйприговор) in a Crown Court than in a magistrates’, and custodial sentences in the Crown Court are about two-and a-half times as long as for (5. схожихдел) dealt with by magistrates.

Won’t there still be a right to appeal for a jury trial?

Yes, but in deciding whether to permit (1. обвиняемому) to go before a jury, magistrates are now to consider (2. влияниеосуждения) on the defendant’s reputation, especially where it is a first offence. This, say critics, will lead to (3. двух-уровневой, двух-ярусной) system of justice. Giving preferential treatment to those without previous convictions (4. ограничиваетправа) of those most in need of protection – those who, if convicted, may (5. столкнутьсясболеесуровымприговором). And a middle-class magistrate is likely to consider the reputation of, say, a white businessman, to be of greater concern than that of, say, a poor, ill-educated black man.

Face a harsher sentence; restricts; two-tier; restricts the rights; the accused; the impact of a conviction; a custodial sentence; similar cases; opt for; is found guilty; acquit.