The Ministry of Justice is a department of the government in the UK, created under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. The Lord Chief Justice is the head of the Judiciary.
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is the court of last resort, highest appellate court in all matters under English law, Welsh law, Northern Irish law and Scottish civil law (the High Court of Justiciary is the supreme criminal court in Scotland). The Supreme Court started work on 1 October
2009. It replaced the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords as the
highest court in the UK.The court hears appeals on arguable points of law
of the greatest public importance. There are 12 Justices of the Supreme
Court; one of them is the President.
The Court of Appeal, the High Court of Justice and Crown Court are
senior courts in the English legal system. The Court of Appeal consists of two
divisions: the Civil Division hears appeals from the High Court and County
Courts, and some superior tribunals, while the Criminal Division may hear
appeals from the Crown Courts connected with a trial on indictment (i.e. trial
by judge and jury, (the jury is present if the defendant pleads «not guilty»)).
Three Lord Justices of Appeal hear an appeal, reaching a decision of majority.
The decisions are binding on all courts apart from the Supreme Court of the
United Kingdom. Lords Justices are selected from the ranks of senior judges.
The High Court of Justice or the High Court functions both as a civil court
of first instance and a criminal appellate court. It consists of three divisions:
the Queen’s Bench Division mainly deals with civil actions based upon contract
law or tort, and appeals on points of law from Crown Courts; the Chancery
Division is concerned with matters relating to business law, intellectual property
and some others; the Family Division hears cases connected with family law.
High Court Judges are normally Privy Counselors.
The Crown Court is the higher court of first instance in serious criminal
cases, which also hears criminal appeals from Magistrates’ Courts, and handles
a number of civil cases both at first instance and on appeal. The court carries
out four principal types of activity: appeals from decisions of magistrates,
sentencing of defendants committed from Magistrates’ Courts, jury trials, and
the sentencing of those who are convicted in the Crown Court, either after trial
or on pleading guilty. High Court Judges, Circuit Judges and Recorders may
sit in the Crown Court. Circuit Judges are the same ones who sit in the County
Courts, and have had a seven-year qualification, or from Recorders. Recorders
are barristers or solicitors in private practice, who sit as part-time judges.
Magistrates’ Court is the court where all criminal prosecutions are
initiated. Though they hear only minor criminal offences, 95% of all criminal
cases are tried there. These courts have a limited jurisdiction in civil matters
relating to family law (Family Proceedings Court) and licensing applications.
Youth Courts, special magistrates’ courts, deal with offenders under 18 years
old. Magistrates’ Courts are presided over by three lay magistrates (Justices of
the Peace) who are unpaid but trained volunteers, or by a District Judge. The magistrates are assisted by a professional legal adviser or Clerk to the Justices, and there is no jury. District Judges are barristers or solicitors of 5 years’ general practice. Deputy District Judges, i.e. practising solicitors or barristers, can sit as part-time judges in Magistrates’ and County Courts.
The County Courts are courts of purely civil jurisdiction. They are local courts and deal mostly with certain kinds of actions concerning land. Most matters are decided by a District Judge or Circuit Judge sitting alone. Civil cases (with some exceptions, e.g. in some actions against the police) do not have juries. Judges in the County Courts are either former barristers or solicitors.
The independent Judicial Appointment Commission selects candidates for judges, who are appointed on behalf of the Monarch.
1. Find in the text the information on:
a) courts of appellate jurisdiction;
b) courts of original jurisdiction;
c) courts of both original and appellate jurisdiction;
d) judges and their appointment.
2. Draw up a diagram, which shows the hierarchy and jurisdiction of the courts in England and Wales. Start with the highest court in the country.
3. Complete the table with the information from the text and rearrange it from superior to inferior judges. Pay attention that some types of judges may sit in different types of courts.
Deputy District Judges
The Supreme Court of the UK
Barrister or solicitor, 5 years’
High Court of Justice
4. Fill the gaps of the text with suitable words and entitle it. The first and sometimes the last letters of the missing words are given.
The Courts of Northern Ireland are c…l and c…l courts responsible for the administration of j…e in Northern Ireland.
The UK Supreme Court is the h…t court of appeal. The Supreme C… of Judicature (â³äïðàâëåííÿ ïðàâîñóääÿ) is the most superior court of N…n I…d. It c…s of the following courts: the Court of Appeal, the High Court, and the Crown Court.
The Court of A… is the highest court of Northern Ireland. It hears a…s from the lower courts and tribunals.
The H… Court, like its English equivalent, consists of the Queen’s
Bench, F…y and Chancery Divisions.
The Crown Court h… more serious criminal cases.
The County Courts are the main c…l courts. They hear different civil
c…s and appeals from m…s’ courts.
Magistrates’ Courts (including Youth Courts and Family Proceedings
Courts) hear less serious c…l cases.
5. Arrange the following sentences logically to make up the paragraph on the courts in Scotland.
1) The Court of Session is the supreme civil court and both a court of first instance and a court of appeal.
2) District Courts sitting in each local area handle less serious criminal cases.
3) The High Court of Justiciary is the supreme criminal court and both a court of the first instance and a court of appeal.
4) The Sherriff Court is the other civil court.
5) The UK Supreme Court is the highest civil court of appeal in
6) The Sherriff Court is the main criminal court.
7) The civil, criminal and heraldic Courts of Scotland are responsible
for the administration of justice.
1. Prepare a report on the route of a criminal or civil case from the lowest court to the highest one in the UK.
2. Read the definitions and write the words in the grid to find the mystery word.
1) A member of a jury;
2) The place where a trial is held;
3) The chief official in control of a court of law;
4) The right to use an official power to make legal decisions, or the
area where this right exists;
5) An official decision made in a court of law, especially about whether
someone is guilty of a crime or how a death happened;
6) Relating to law, judges or their system;
7) A formal request to a court or someone in authority asking for a
decision to be changed;
8) A legal process in which a judge and often a jury examine information
to decide whether a person is guilty of a crime;
9) A person who has a certificate in law.
Practice 14. Defence Lawyer in Ukraine
1. Read the statement and discuss the questions it leads to. Pay attention to the italicized words.
“Advocacy is a condition as ancient as a magistrature, as majestic as fairness, as necessary as justice”. ( Dagesso)
1. What do you know about the institution of advocacy and its development?
2. What is it called upon?
3. What is the main task of a lawyer?
2. Study the mind map to learn words denoting the profession of a lawyer in different countries.
counsellor or counsel attorney
( Ireland, the USA) lawyer (the USA)
advocate advokat or pleader
barrister and solicitor
(England, Canada, Australia)
The word “advocacy” origins from the Latin words “advocare”, “advocatus” which mean “to call upon”, “invited”. In ancient Rome the term “advocate” denoted the plaintiff ’s relatives and friends who accompaniedhim to the court, gave him advice and supported him. Later the term was used to name the persons assisting a plaintiff to prepare documents and to plead a case.
A lawyer is a general term to denote a person trained and licensed to prepare, manage, and either prosecute or defend a court action as an agent for another.
The lawyers’ activity in Ukraine is provided for by the Law on Advocacy
Lawyers of Ukraine perform various functions. A lawyer may act as a
defence counsel during pre-trial investigation and in court, representing
interests of the plaintiff and the defendant in civil and criminal cases. In a
civil case, lawyers can work for the parties involved in the suit, representing
either the plaintiff ( the party bringing the suit) or the defendant ( the party
being sued). They take an active part in legal proceedings on housing,
labour, property and other disputes, representing interests of their clients.
At the request of the clients they draw up applications, complaints and other
The lawyer has duties at various stages in the criminal process. The
lawyer’s first and foremost duty in the proceedings is to facilitate the
protection of the rights and freedoms of the accused. This includes
informing the client of the rights guaranteed by law and determining what
procedural steps should be taken to ensure those rights.
The lawyer investigates the circumstances of the case by securing
information held by the prosecutor or police and interviewing witnesses. On
completing an investigation, the defence lawyer advises the accused on all
aspects of the case. During the trial, the lawyer and the prosecutor perform
essentially the same duties: presentation of evidence and examination of
witnesses. At the end of the court hearing he pronounces his speech for the
defence. While discharging numerous and complicated duties, lawyers fulfill
roles of an advocate and a spokesperson of an accused. An accused is presumed
innocent until his guilt is proven in a court. Even if an accused admits guilt, the
person is still entitled to the full protection of the law, that is, representation of
a lawyer. The lawyer provides legal assistance to citizens or legal persons explaining the risks and benefits of alternative courses of action.
Lawyers cannot work in court, Prosecutor’s Office, notary bodies,
Ministry of the Interior and Security Service of Ukraine.
Lawyers may work individually, open law offices, join into associations
and firms. The voluntary professional association of lawyers in Ukraine is
the Ukrainian Bar Association.
1. A. Give the definitions for the following terms and expressions or explain in other words:
B. Answer the following questions using the information from the text:
1. What is the origin of the term “advocate”?
3. What does the word “lawyer” mean?
4. What are the main functions of a lawyer?
5. Whose interests does a lawyer represent in a civil case?
6. Whose interests does a lawyer represent in a criminal case?
7. What functions does a lawyer perform in a courtroom?
8. What professional duties does a lawyer discharge?
9. What activity is incompatible with the lawyer’s status?
2. Complete the following sentences according to the information from the text:
1. Alawyer is………………………………………………………..
2. The lawyer’s activity is …………………………………………...
3. Alawyer may act………………………………………………….
4. During the trial a lawyer ………………………………………...
5. Lawyers provide ………………………………………………....
6. At the end of the court hearing a lawyer ……………………….
3. Match the following legal terms with their definitions:
a) the party who begins an action, complaints or sues
b) a court case that involves a private dispute arising from such matters as accidents, contractual obligations, divorce
c) a person, company, etc. against whom a criminal charge or civil claim is made
d) any form of proof legally presented at a trial through witnesses, records, documents
e) a court case involving a crime, or violation of public order
f) a person who testifies to what he has seen, heard or otherwise observed
1. Study the word families of the following words. Mark the meaning in w hich the y are us e d in the text . Give their Uk r ainian equivalents, compose your own sentences.
1) a member of the legal profession;
2) advocate, barrister, solicitor.
1) a barrier in a law court, separating the part where the business is
carried on from the part for spectators;
2) a place where drinks are served;
3) profession of a barrister;
4) a collective term for all barristers( in the US all lawyers).
1) state of affairs;
2) any proceeding, action, lawsuit;
3) a box and its contents.
1) public position of authority;
2) room used as a place for business;
3) buildings of government department.
2. Imagine you are a journalist of some newspaper. Using the materials received during an interview with Mr. Mason, think over your future article. Present it beginning with the words:
The headline of my article is…
The article deals with ( concerns, dwells upon, describes, draws the
reader’s attention to) the problem of…
3. Imagine that you are a journalist of the TV channel. You are to present a report using the materials received during interview with Mr. Mason.
4. Make up a dialogue between a lawyer and his son discussing the peculiarities of father’s profession.
You may discuss rules of lawyer’s ethics: rule of law, independence, observance of law, prevailing of the clients’ interests, confidence, competence, fairness and honesty.
Practice 15. Functions of Lawyers in Different Countries
1. Answer the following questions:
1. What words denoting the profession of a lawyer do you know?
2. Inwhat countries are they used?
3. Does the system of advocacy differ in these countries?
4. What is the reason for it?
THE FUNCTIONS OF LAWYERS IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES
A lawyer is a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person licensed to practice law.
The role of the lawyer varies significantly across legal jurisdictions. In practice, legal jurisdictions exercise their sovereign right to determine who is recognized as a lawyer. As a result, the meaning of the term "lawyer" may vary from place to place. In Australia, the word "lawyer" is used to refer to both barristers and solicitors. In Britain, "lawyer" is used to refer to a broad variety of law-trained persons. It includes practitioners such as barristers, solicitors, legal executives.
In civil law countries legal professions consist of a large number of law-trained persons, known as jurists, of which only some are advocates who are licensed to practice in the courts. In England, Canada and Australia (common law jurisdiction) there is a divided legal profession where a lawyer is either a solicitor or a barrister.
The solicitor can be characterised as a general practitioner: a lawyer who deals with clients directly. He undertakes advocacy in the lower courts and instructs barristers (in England and Wales) or advocates ( in Scotland) to represent their clients in the higher courts. Solicitors are responsible for the preparatory stages of litigation such as the preparation of evidence, inter viewing witnesses, issuing writs and conducting interlocutor y proceedings. They also deal with some non-litigious matters such as drafting of wills, the supervision of trusts and settlements, the administration of estates and conveyances.
The historical difference between two professions is that a solicitor is an attorney of his client and may conduct litigation. A barrister is not an attorney and is forbidden, both by law and by professional rules, from conducting litigation. Professional barristers are competent to perform all advocacy for the prosecution or defence in criminal cases and for a plaintiff or defendant in a civil action. Barristers have a major role in trial preparation, including drafting pleadings and reviewing evidence.
The US legal system does not distinguish between lawyers who plead in court and those who do not. The attorney at law ( defense attorney, the defense counsel ( Am.)) is a person admitted to practice law in his respective state and authorized to perform both civil and criminal legal functions for clients. He drafts legal documents, gives legal advice, and represents them before courts, administrative agencies, boards.
The defence counsel role is to review the documents and other evidence the police have accumulated against the accused, and to interview or question the arresting officers and others involved in the case. The defence attorney may interview witnesses to the crime, and may even conduct an independent investigation.
At bail hearings and plea negotiations defence attorneys represent the accused. At trial defence attorneys question jurors, cross examine prosecution witnesses, call defence witnesses, represent the accused and help them to get the best possible sentences.
1. Find in the text the information on:
a) variety of the lawyer’s functions due to different jurisdictions;
b) types of legal profession in Great Britain;
c) professional duties of solicitors and barristers;
d) the functions of the US attorney.
2. Fill in the table with the words from text
The duties of solicitors and barristers (Great Britain)
The duties of attorney at law
3. Tell about the variety of legal professions in civil law and common law countries.
4. Explain the difference between the functions of a solicitor and a barrister.
5. Insert one of the following words into the text in an appropriate form.
The traditional distinctions between the two …of the profession are breaking down nowadays. Barristers used to enjoy a monopoly on appearances before the higher courts, but in most countries this has now been abolished, and solicitor advocates can generally appear for clients at
….. Firms of solicitors are keeping even the most advanced … and litigation work in-house for economic and client relationship reasons. Similarly, the prohibition on barristers taking instructions directly from the public has also been widely abolished, but in practice, direct instruction is still a rarity in most …. In most countries, barristers operate as sole …, and are prohibited from forming partnerships (although in England and Wales the Clementi report has recommended the abolition of this restriction). However, barristers normally band together into “chambers”. Some barristers, on the other hand, are … by firms of solicitors, banks or corporations as in-house legal advisers.
In court, barristers are often visibly distinguished from …by their clothes. For example, in Ireland, England and Wales, barristers usually … a horsehair wig, stiff collar, bands and a gown. Beginning from January
2008 Solicitor advocates are also entitled to wear a wig, but a different gown.
1. ROLE–PL AY “ The International Association of L awyers’ Seminar”
The students are suggested to choose the roles of the registering clerks, representatives of mass media, lawyers of some certain countries and a presiding officer.
The registering clerks are to meet the guests ( lawyers from different countries), to communicate with them and give them registration cards.
The representatives of mass media are to interview the participants before the seminar. They get Questionnaires.
Write down questions (3-5) you will ask the lawyers of International association before their seminar. The topic of your inter view is the peculiarities of the lawyer’s profession in his or her country. Make notes, be ready to make a report of your results.
Ask about the main principles of the lawyer’s activity, membership organizations or associations, legal ethics and lawyer disciplinary agencies of their countries.
3. The role of a lawyer in modern society.
- not necessary
Higher legal education
Work experience/ practice
Rights and duties
The controlling body
Look through the notes, summarize the results of the meeting.