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Федеральное государственное образовательное

бюджетное учреждение высшего образования


(Финансовый университет)

Кафедра «Иностранные языки-3»

Legal English-1
Английский для юристов
Учебные материалы для студентов
юридических специальностей

Москва – 2015

Федеральное государственное образовательное
бюджетное учреждение высшего образования


(Финансовый университет)

Кафедра «Иностранные языки-3»

Legal English-1
Английский для юристов
Учебные материалы для студентов
юридических специальностей

Москва – 2015

Legal English-2. Английский для юристов:
Учебные материалы по английскому языку для студентов юридических

Составитель: Н.В. Банина, С.М. Вишнякова

М: Финуниверситет, 2015

Рецензент: М.В. Мельничук

Данное издание представляет собой сборник текстов и упражнений для

студентов юридических специальностей.
Материалы сборника позволяют овладеть правовой лексикой, изучить
основные понятия юриспруденции на аутентичном материале, познакомиться с
функционированием государственных и судебных структур Великобритании,
США и России, развить навыки анализа текста, необходимые для юриста-

Unit 1 Introduction to Law

Before you read

Discuss these questions.
1 Why is law necessary in communities?
2 What could you do if there were no laws?
3 What does ‘The law of the jungle’ mean? Give your own example.
4 Why do people take the law into their own hand?
5 Which laws are most often broken in Russia?

Introduction to Law
In the opinion of many people, the law is a necessary evil that should be used
only when everyday informal ways of settling disputes break down. If our neighbour
plays loud music late at night, we probably try to discuss the matter with him rather
than consulting the police, lawyers or the courts. Only when we are injured in a train
accident, or when a neighbour refuses to behave reasonably, do we start thinking
about the legal implications of everyday activities.
Even so, some transactions in modern society are so complex that few of us
would risk making them without first seeking legal advice; for example, buying or
selling a house, setting up a business, or deciding whom to give our property to when
we die. In some societies, such as the United States, precise written contracts,
lawyers, and courts of law have become a part of daily life, whereas in others, such as
Japan, lawyers are few and people tend to rely on informal ways of solving
disagreements. It is interesting that two highly industrialized societies should be so
different in this respect.
On the whole it seems that people all over the world are becoming more and
more accustomed to using legal means to regulate their relations with each other.
Multinational companies employ expensive experts to ensure them their contracts are
valid wherever they do business. Non-industrialized tribes in South America use
lawyers in order to try to stop governments from destroying the rainforests in which
they live. In the former Soviet republics where law was long regarded as merely a
function of political power, ordinary citizens nowadays challenge the decisions of
their governments in courts of law. And at a time when workers, refugees,
commodities and environmental pollution are travelling around the world faster than
ever before, there are increasing attempts to internationalize legal standards. When it
helps ordinary people to reach just agreements across social, economic and
international barriers, law seems to be regarded as a good thing. However, when it
involves time and money and highlights people`s inability to cooperate informally,
law seems to be an evil – but a necessary one that everyone should have a basic
knowledge of.

accident n несчастный случай
behave reasonably вести себя разумно
break down v сорвать (переговоры); разорвать (отношения)
challenge the decisions оспаривать решения
commodity, n commodities n pl товар, товары
contract n договор; контракт; valid contract юридически действительный
договор; неоспоримый договор
court n суд; судья; court of law суд, действующий по нормам статутного или
общего права
discuss the matter обсудить вопрос
environmental pollution n загрязнение окружающей среды
implication n 1 условие, предпосылка; 2 вывод; значение; смысл; legal
implication юридический вывод/смысл; юридически подразумеваемое
inability n отсутствие право- и/или дееспособности
injure v причинить вред; получить телесные повреждения
law n 1 право; 2 закон
lawyer n юрист; адвокат; юрисконсульт
legal means n законные средства
police n полиция; полицейские; consult the police обратиться в полицию
political power государственная власть, политическая власть
property n 1 собственность; 2 имущество
reach a just agreement достичь справедливой (законной) договорённости
refugee n беженец; эмигрант
seek (sought, sought) legal advice просить юридического совета; просить о
юридической консультации
set up (a business) основывать (дело)
settle dispute урегулировать спор
solve disagreement устранять разногласия, разрешать разногласия
transaction n сделка; операция; дело
tribe n племя; род

Reading tasks
A Comprehension check.
1 Mark these statements T (true) or F (false) according to the information in the text.
a Japanese prefer written agreements to informal ones.
b There are more lawyers in the United States than in Japan.
c Contracts and courts of law are a part of ordinary people`s daily life in all
industrialized countries.
d There are increasing attempts to internationalize legal standards.

2 Give examples of the growing uses of law throughout the world.
B Answer these questions.
1 What do people think of law?
2 In what circumstances do people think of their everyday activities as legal
3 Are laws for lawyers or for ordinary people?
4 What will you do if your neighbour plays loud music at night? Will you go
to the court?
5 How do people solve problems in the United States and in Japan?
6 Why do multinational companies employ expensive experts in law?
7 In your opinion, is law merely a function of political power?
8 Can ordinary citizens challenge the decisions of their governments? How?
9 Why do people increase attempts to internationalize legal standards?
10 When is law regarded as a bad thing?
11 Are there any laws in Russia that you would like to change or introduce?

Language focus
Put the verb in brackets into the correct form, present simple, past simple or present
It is obvious to everyone that, in a community such as the one in which we
1) _______ (live), some kind of law is necessary. When the world was at a very
primitive stage, there 2) _____ (be) no such law. But, for a very long time now,
members of every community 3) _______ (make) laws for themselves in self-
Every day of our lives we are restrained and guided by law. It 4) _______
(protect) us while it 5) _________ (restrict) us. Sometimes it 6) _______ (punish) us.
It 7) _______(determine) the registration of our births and the distribution of our
possessions at death. It tells us how fast we 8) _______ (can) drive and how long we
9) ______ (must) attend school.
Every country 10) _______ (try), therefore, to provide laws which will help its
people to live safely and as comfortably as possible. This is not at all an easy thing to
do, and no country 11) _______ (be) successful in producing laws which are entirely
satisfactory. But we are far better off with the imperfect laws which we 12) _______
(have), than if we had none at all.

Vocabulary tasks
A Match the English words and expressions with their Russian equivalents.
1 law a суд
2 settle a dispute b обратиться в полицию
3 negotiations broke down c юрист
4 consult the police d несчастный случай
5 lawyer e юридически подразумеваемое положение

6 court f переговоры сорвались
7 accident g закон
8 legal implication h урегулировать спор

B Find in the text the English equivalents for the following words and expressions.
1 консультация юриста
2 международные компании
3 оспаривать решения
4 суды, действующие по нормам статутного или общего права
5 собственность
6 законные средства
7 беженцы

C Complete the text with the words and phrases from the box.

agreements conduct enforcement lawless promoting

legislature power personal safety property punishing
A law is a norm for 1) ______ . Law embodies the 2) _______ that a political
society has made about how life in that community is to be lived. Law is a method for
3) _____ whatever values a community wishes to achieve – protection of 4) _______,
assurance of 5) _______ , clean streets, equal treatment of all races, 6) _______ of
contracts. In a 7) _______ community, persons must protect their own lives and
property. But law takes over the task of protection by forbidding acts that are socially
disapproved, and 8) _______ those acts when they are committed. The first and
fundamental positive law of all communities is the establishing of the 9) _______ .

D Complete the following text by translating the words and expressions in brackets.
Use the correct form of the appropriate words and phrases from the box.
flourish sanction live securely libel enforce threaten
murder forbid European Union income tax protect make wills
international bodies impose restrictions enforce laws
disobey the rules pay compensation broken settle disputes govern
The Aims of Law
Law has several aims. They are all concerned with making society more stable
and enabling people to (1 – процветать). The law forbids certain ways of behaving
like (2 – убийство, 3 – письменная клевета), and requires others, like paying (4 –
подоходный налог). If people (5 – не подчиняться правилам) the law threatens
them with something unpleasant (often called a (6 – санкция)), like being punished
or having to (7 – выплачивать компенсацию). The idea is that within this
framework of do’s and dont’s people can (8 – жить в безопасности). If they are
more secure they will treat one another better.

A second aim is the following. Laws guarantee to people who buy and sell
goods, (9 – составлять завещания), form companies and so on that the state will if
necessary (10 – обеспечивать соблюдение) these arrangements.
A third aim is to (11 – разрешать споры) about what the law is and whether it
(12 – нарушен). Taking these three aims together, we see that law not only
(13 – угрожать) those who do what it (14 – запрещать) but promises to
(15 – защищать) people’s interests. It (16 – накладывать ограничения) on them
but also gives them certain guarantees.
Lastly, a very important aim of law is to settle what the system of government
is to be. Today and for the last few hundred years we have been mainly (17 –
управлять) by sovereign states. That is changing. We are now increasingly governed,
indirectly or directly, by (18 – международные организации), for example the (19 –
Европейский Союз). But the state still occupies centre stage, especially when it
comes to (20 – обеспечить соблюдение законов).

E Collocations
1 Look at the expressions in the box below.
Which means…
a suspected of having committed a crime?
b she doesn’t follow rules?
c we are all equal in the eyes of the law?
d take revenge without using the legal system?
e bossing people about?
f what I say must be respected?
g illegal?
h obeying and respecting the law?
i legally?
a law unto herself laying down the law against the law
take the law into my own hands no one is above the law by law
in trouble with the law law-abiding my word is law

2 Complete these sentences with the expressions in 1.

a After years as a ________ citizen, John decided to rob a bank and flee the
b Policeman: You were doing 160 kilometres per hour.
Prince: Yes, but do you know who I am?
Policeman: Yes, but ________.
c There was a constable here earlier. I think Mark’s ________ again!
d I was tempted to ________ and wring his neck.
e ‘Do this! Do that! Be back by 10!’ My father was always ________.
f You can never tell what Ruth’s going to do. She’s ________.
g I’m the boss and ________.
h Most Europeans are required ________ to carry ID cards.
i In some countries it’s ________ to chew gum.

Look at the proposals for laws below. Discuss with your group which would affect
you personally. Which of these laws would make the world a better place?
a No one should work more than a 32-hour week.
b Shops should all be open 24 hours a day.
c Cars should be banned from city centres.
d The dropping of chewing gum should be forbidden.
e Mobile phones should not be used in public areas.

Over to you
“Society can do without lawyers.”
Write a paragraph containing two arguments for and two against this statement. Then
discuss your answer with other students.

Unit 2 What Law Is

Before you read

Discuss these questions.
1 What is your understanding of law?
2 What categories of law are known to you?
3 Are laws always sufficient? Give your own examples of perfect and imperfect
4 In your opinion, are laws always fair?

Study the dictionary definitions of LAW. Translate them into Russian. Which
of them do you consider the most suitable?
1 All the rules established by authority or custom for regulating the behaviour of
members of a community or country.
Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English
2 The whole system of rules that citizens of a country or place must obey.
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
Longman Business English Dictionary
3 The regime that orders human activities and relations through systematic
application of the force of politically organized society, or through social
pressure, backed by force, in such a society; the legal system.

Black’s Law Dictionary

What Is Law?
The English word “law” refers to limits upon various forms of behaviour.
Some laws are descriptive: they simply describe how people, or even natural
phenomena, usually behave. An example is the rather consistent law of gravity;
another is the less consistent laws of economics. Other laws are prescriptive – they
prescribe how people ought to behave. For example, the speed limits imposed upon
drivers are laws that prescribe how fast we should drive. They rarely describe how
fast we actually do drive, of course.

Social Morality, Rules and Laws

In all societies, relations between people are regulated by prescriptive laws.
Some of them are customs – that is, informal rules of social and moral behaviour.
Some are rules we accept if we belong to particular social institutions, such as
religious, educational and cultural groups. And some are precise laws made by

nations and enforced against all citizens within their power. It is important to consider
to what extent such laws can be distinguished from customs and social rules.
Customs need not be made by governments, and they need not be written
down. We learn how we are expected to behave in society through the instruction of
family and teachers, the advice of friends, and our experiences in dealing with
strangers. Sometimes, we can break these rules without suffering any penalty. But if
we continually break the rules, or break a very important one, other members of
society may ridicule us, criticize us, act violently toward us or refuse to have
anything to do with us. The ways in which people talk, eat and drink, work, and relax
together are usually guided by many such informal rules which have very little to do
with laws created by governments.
The rules of social institutions tend to be more formal than customs, carrying
precise penalties for those who break them. They are not, however, enforceable by
any political authority. Sports clubs, for example, often have detailed rules for their
members. But if a member breaks a rule and refuses to accept any punishment, the
club may have no power other than to ask him or her to leave the club.
However, when governments make laws for their citizens, they use a system of
courts backed by the power of the police to enforce these laws. Of course, there may
be instances where the law is not enforced against someone - such as when young
children commit crimes, when the police have to concentrate on certain crimes and
therefore ignore others, or in countries where there is so much political corruption
that certain people are able to escape justice by using their money or influence. But
the general nature of the law is that it is enforced equally against all members of the
Government-made laws are nevertheless often patterned upon informal rules of
conduct already existing in society, and relations between people are regulated by a
combination of all these rules. Governments often consider anti-social behaviour not
simply as a matter between two individuals but as a danger to the well-being and
order of society as a whole.
What motives do governments have in making and enforcing laws? Social
control is undoubtedly one purpose. Public laws establish the authority of the
government itself, and civil laws provide a framework for interaction among citizens.
Without laws, it is argued, there would be anarchy in society (although anarchists
themselves argue that human beings would be able to interact peacefully without laws
if there were no governments to interfere in our lives).
Another purpose is the implementation of justice. Justice is a concept that most
people feel it very important but few are able to define. Sometimes a just decision is
simply a decision that most people feel is fair. But will we create a just society by
simply observing public opinion? If we are always fair to majorities, we will often be
unfair to minorities. If we do what seems to be fair at the moment, we may create
unfairness in the future. What should the court decide, for example, when a man kills
his wife because she has a painful illness and begs him to help her die? It seems
unjust to find him guilty of the crime, yet if we do not, isn’t there a danger that such
mercy-killing will become so widespread that abuses will occur? Many philosophers
have proposed concepts of justice that are much more theoretical than everyday
notions of fairness. And sometimes governments are influenced by philosophers, such
as the French revolutionaries who tried to implement Montesquieu’s doctrine of the
Separation of Powers. But in general, governments are guided by more practical
considerations such as rising crime rates or the lobbying of pressure groups.
Sometimes laws are simply an attempt to implement common sense. It is
obvious to most people that dangerous driving should be punished; that fathers
should provide financial support for their children if they desert their families; that a
person should be compensated for losses when someone else breaks an agreement
with him or her. But in order to be enforced, common sense needs to be defined by
law, and when definitions are being written, it becomes clear that common sense is
not such a simple matter. Instead, it is a complex skill based upon long observation of
many different people in different situations. Laws based upon common sense don’t
necessarily look much like common sense when they have been put into words!
In practice, governments are neither institutions solely interested in retaining
power, nor clear-thinking bodies implementing justice and common sense. They
combine many purposes and inherit many traditions. The laws that they make and
enforce, reflect this confusion.
The laws made by the government of one country are often very different from
the laws of another country. Law today is, to a large extent, a complex of different
and relatively independent national systems.

abuse n злоупотребление
anarchy n анархия
argue v утверждать, доказывать, аргументировать, приводить доводы; it is
argued утверждается
assertion n утверждение
clear-thinking adj здравомыслящий
commit crime v совершить преступление
common sense n здравый смысл
concept n понятие
confusion n смешение
consider v определять, полагать, считать, принимать во внимание, учитывать;
consideration n соображение
consistent adj последовательный, непротиворечивый
defined by law установлено законом
descriptive adj описательный
desert v оставлять, покидать; бросить (семью)
doctrine n доктрина, учение
economics n экономика
enforce v обеспечивать соблюдение или исполнение, принудительно проводить
в жизнь;enforced принудительно примененный, обеспеченный правовой
establish v устанавливать

to a large extent в значительной мере
framework n система, правовые рамки, пределы, каркас, остов
guide v руководить, вести; be guided by руководствоваться
implement v провести в жизнь, осуществить
implementation n исполнение; implementation of justice отправление
impose v налагать (обязательства), предписывать, устанавливать, возлагать,
inherit v наследовать
interaction n взаимодействие
justice n правосудие, справедливость
law n право, закон
law of gravity закон всемирного тяготения
lobby (in Parliament) n кулуары, лобби; lobbying агитация в кулуарах,
закулисная обработка членов парламента; лоббирование
mercy killing n убийство из сострадания, эвтаназия, умерщвление неизлечимых
minority n меньшинство
motive n мотив, повод
nation n государство, нация, народ
necessarily adv обязательно
notion n понятие, представление
painful illness болезнь, сопровождающаяся мучительными болями
penalty n наказание
phenomenon n явление; phenomena n pl явления
precise adj точный
prescriptive adj предписывающий
pressure group n инициативная группа, группа влияния
propose v предлагать, выдвигать
public laws n публичные законы (касающиеся всех)
retain v удерживать, сохранять
revolutionary n революционер
ridicule v осмеивать
rule n норма, правило
skill n искусство, умение, ловкость, мастерство; skilled (highly trained)
solely adv исключительно, только
tend v иметь тенденцию, склоняться
well-being n благополучие, благосостояние
within their power в пределах их полномочий / власти; в их компетенции

Reading tasks
A Comprehension check.
1 Give your own example of a descriptive law and a prescriptive law.
2 Mark these statements T (true) or F (false) according to the information in the
a Social customs and rules are both enforced by governments.
b Many laws reflect social customs.
c Unlike social customs, laws are usually international.
d In all societies relations between people are regulated by customs and
e The speed limits imposed on a driver is an example of a prescriptive law.
f In general it is very easy to escape justice.
g Both customs and rules are enforced by governments.

B Answer these questions.

1 What does the word “law” refer to?
2 What is a descriptive/prescriptive law?
3 What is understood by prescriptive laws in all societies?
4 What is the difference between a custom and a law?
5 Do governments have any motives in making laws?
6 What are four possible influences on a government when it is making a law?
7 What considerations are governments guided by in law-making?
8 What does common sense have to do with laws?
9 Why do some laws appear to differ from common sense?
10 What kind of institutions are governments?
11 Are the laws nationally oriented?

Language focus
A Translate the following expressions into Russian paying special attention to the
past participle.
1 laws made by the governments
2 customs used by people
3 relations regulated by …
4 laws accepted by the society
5 laws enforced by the police and courts
6 crimes ignored by the police

B Combine these three parts into sentences using the suitable modal verb.
a obey the laws
must b protect people
1 Citizens should c go to school every day
2 Children have to d behave properly
3 The police ought to e be attentive
f know the customs of the country

C Put the verb into the correct form, present, future, past simple or present perfect.
The fact that English law 1) _______(function) without major revolutions for
upwards of nine hundred years is one of the great stabilizing factors of the English
legal and political traditions. Of course there has been constant change throughout the
centuries. But because change 2) _______(be) gradual most people 3) _______(feel)
a sense of security in their personal and political lives. As time 4) ______(pass),
however, it 5) ______(become) necessary to adopt rules governing the conduct of
individuals toward one another. Certain laws were enacted. The purpose of law
6) ______(be) to bring some measure of order, of predictability into what would
otherwise be the chaos of community living. It 7) ______ (give) protection to
property. It 8) ______(ensure) that individuals’ rights are guaranteed by rules laid
down in advance. Law is defined as any rule that society 9) _______(enforce).
Law generally 10) ______(represent) the developing common morality of
human beings. There 11) ______(be) a close relationship between law and morality.
Law not only 12) ______(have) its origin in morality, but also is easier to enforce
when citizens 13) ______ (yield) to government for moral reasons.

Vocabulary tasks
A The word AUTHORITY has the following meanings in Russian:
1 власть
supreme authority – верховная власть
2 полномочие, право, права, компетенция
to act on smb’s authority – действовать на основании полученных
3 pl. власти, начальство, администрация
local authorities – местные власти, органы местного самоуправления
4 авторитет, вес, влияние
to have authority with smb. – пользоваться авторитетом у кого-либо
5 авторитет, крупный специалист
he is an authority on law – он является авторитетом в области права
6 авторитетный источник
to quote one’s authorities – ссылаться на авторитетные источники

Match the following English expressions with their Russian equivalents.

1 competent authority a превышать свои полномочия

2 law-enforcement authorities/agencies b власть / полномочия парламента
3 lawful authority c законная власть
4 on good authority d из надежного источника
5 the authority of Parliament e иметь / осуществлять власть
6 to abuse one’s authority f неограниченные полномочия
7 to endue with authority g наделять полномочиями кого-либо
8 to gain in authority h облечь властью
9 to hand over one’s authority to smb. i передавать свои полномочия кому-
10 to have / to exercise authority j подрывать чей-либо авторитет
11 to undermine smb.’s authority k правоохранительные органы
12 to vest smb. with authority l авторитетный специалист
13 unrestricted authority m приобретать всё большую власть

B Find in the text the English equivalents for the following words and expressions.
1 норма
2 в пределах полномочий
3 публичные законы
4 обычаи
5 наказание
6 нарушать нормы поведения
7 обеспечивать соблюдение законов
8 гражданское право
9 отправление правосудия
10 эвтаназия
11 здравый смысл

C Match the following legal terms with their Russian equivalents.

1 legislation a полномочие
2 legal system b орган исполнения судебных решений и
3 tribunal приговоров; полицейский орган
4 authority с применить правовую норму / закон
5 body d судейский корпус
6 law enforcement agency е принудительно применимая (правовая)
7 judgement f расследование; запрос
8 to enforce law g судебная система, правовая система
9 rule h орган; корпус
10 the judiciary i законодательство
11 inquiry j суд, орган правосудия, трибунал
12 enforceable rule k судебное решение, приговор

l (правовая) норма, правило

D Introduction to law: basic terms.

The following terms introduce you to the law and basic legal terminology.
Below are the definitions. Find the definition for each term.
authority court govern judge
legal system lawyers legal action
law enforcement agency
legislation rule the judiciary tribunal
1 a body that is appointed to make a judgement or inquiry tribunal
2 a country’s body of judges __________
3 an act or acts passed by a law-making body __________
4 behaviour recognized by a community as binding or enforceable
by authority __________
5 legal proceedings __________
6 an official body that has authority to try criminals, resolve disputes, or make
other legal decisions __________
7 an organization responsible for enforcing the law, especially
the police __________
8 a senior official in a court of law __________
9 the body or system of rules recognized by a community that are enforceable
by established process __________
10 the control resulting from following a community’s system
of rules __________
11 members of the legal profession __________
12 to rule a society and control the behaviour of its members __________

E Introduction to law: basic concepts.

Complete the following text about basic legal concepts using the following
words and phrases. Use each term once.

authority court govern judges legal systems

law enforcement agency lawyers legal action tribunal
legislation rule the judiciary

Why do we have laws and 1) legal systems ? At one level, laws can be seen as
a type of 2) _______ which is meant to 3) ________behaviour between people. We
can find these rules in nearly all social organizations, such as families and sports
Law, the body of official rules and regulations, generally found in constitutions
and 4) ________, is used to govern a society and to control the behaviour of its
members. In modern societies, a body with 5) ________, such as a 6) ________ or

the legislature, makes the law; and a 7) ________, such as the police, makes sure it is
In addition to enforcement, a body of expert 8) ________ is needed to apply
the law. This is the role of 9) ________, the body of 10) ________ in a particular
country. Of course, legal systems vary between countries, as well as the basis for
bringing a case before a court or 11) ________. One thing, however, seems to be true
all over the world – starting a 12) ________ is both expensive and time-consuming.

F Give Russian equivalents to the following word partnerships.

Over to you
“Mercy killing should not be punished”. Write a paragraph containing two
points for and two against this statement. Then discuss your answer with other

Unit 3 Sources of English Law

Before you read

Discuss these questions.
1 What are the sources of law?
2 Where do laws come from in your legal system?
3 Is the law codified in your country?
4 Is most of the law written or unwritten?

Sources of English Law

The courts are the interpreters and declarers of the law, the 'sources' of law are
therefore the sources to which the courts turn in order to determine what it is.
Considered from the aspect of their sources, laws are traditionally divided into two
main categories according to the solemnity of the form in which they are made. They
may either be written or unwritten. These traditional terms are misleading, because
the expression 'written' law signifies any law that is formally enacted, whether
reduced to writing or not, and the expression 'unwritten' law signifies all unenacted
law. For example, as will appear, judicial decisions are often reduced to writing in the
form of law reports, but because they are not formal enactments they are 'unwritten'
Since the fashion was set by the Code Napoléon many continental countries
have codified much of their law, public and private; on the Continent, therefore, the
volume of written law tends to preponderate over the volume of unwritten. But in
England unwritten law is predominant, for more of law derives from judicial
precedents than from legislative enactment. This does not, of course, mean that none
of law is codified, for many parts of it are such as the law relating to the sale of goods
(Sale of Goods Act 1979) and the law relating to partnership (Partnership Act 1890).
All that is meant is that, as yet at least, although Parliament casts increasing
multitudes of statutes, England has not adopted the system of wholesale codification
which prevails in many continental countries.
Two principal and two subsidiary sources of English law must be
mentioned. These principal sources are Legislation, and Judicial Precedent; the
subsidiary sources are Custom and Books of Authority.

The Principal Sources
1. Legislation
Legislation is enacted law. In England the ultimate legislator is Parliament.
Parliament is sovereign. It means first, that all legislative power within the realm is
vested in Parliament, or is derived from the authority of Parliament – Parliament thus
has no rival within the legislative sphere – and it means secondly that there is no legal
limit to the power of Parliament.
In the legislative sphere Parliament is thus legally ‘sovereign’ and master, but
this does not mean that the courts have no influence upon the development of enacted
law; for, in order to be applied, every enactment, however it be promulgated, has to
be interpreted (or construed), and the courts are the recognized interpreters of the law.
2. Judicial precedent
In all countries, at all times, the decisions of courts are treated with respect,
and they tend to be regarded as 'precedents' which subsequent courts will follow
when they are called upon to determine issues of a similar kind.
This reliance upon precedent has been both the hallmark and the strength of the
common law. Its rules have been evolved inductively from decision to decision
involving similar facts, so that they are firmly grounded upon the actualities of
litigation and the reality of human conduct. And new cases lead onwards to reach
forward to new rules. This characteristic of the common law contrasts with the
European civil law which is derived from a code; that is, from an enacted body of
rules either (as in the case of Justinian’s or of Napoleon’s legislation) embodying the
whole of, or some considerable part of, the law, or embracing some special aspect of
it. Thus the task of the courts is deductive: to subsume the present case under the
mantle of the generalized and codified rule.
Another salient feature of the English system is the doctrine of the binding
case. By this doctrine the authority of the courts is hierarchical; a court which is
inferior in authority to another court is obliged to follow ('bound by') a court of
superior authority if called upon to decide upon facts similar to facts already tried by
the superior court.
The precedents formed by decided cases are, thus, the ‘anchors of the laws’. A
practitioner who is asked to consider a legal matter will therefore look to the reported
decisions of the courts; and he will do this even though the point in issue is regulated
by a statute, for, as has been explained, statutes are interpreted by the courts, and a
decision which is concerned with the interpretation of the statute is just as binding as
any other decision.
It must not, however, be imagined that the law is always discoverable by the
simple process of looking up, and finding, the right precedent. For facts are infinitely
various and by no means all cases are exactly covered by previous authority. Quite
the reverse, the facts in issue often resemble two or more divergent authorities. In
these circumstances the courts therefore have freedom of choice in deciding which of
the divergent authorities to ‘follow’.

Further, cases of ‘first impression’ sometimes arise; cases arising upon facts
which bear no resemblance to the facts of any previous case. When the judge rules in
such a case he legislates, because future courts must usually ‘follow’ him.
The judges have a field of choice in making their decisions. But they do not
exercise their discretion in an arbitrary way; they rest their judgements upon the
general principles enshrined in case-law as a whole. These principles have been
evolved by the courts through the centuries.
Thus in a sense the history of the common law (as opposed to statute law – for
statutes are sometimes arbitrary and they have often wrought injustice) is the story of
the evolution of the judges conception of justice realized in the form of rules of law
intended to be general in their application and as easily ascertainable as possible.

The Subsidiary Sources

3. Customs
Customs are social habits, patterns of behaviour, which all societies evolve. In
a sense custom should be accorded as one of the principal sources of law for much, if
not most, law was originally based upon it. Moreover custom is not solely important
as a source of law, for even today some customary rules are observed in their own
right and they command almost as much obedience as rules of law proper; they only
differ from rules of law in that their observance is not enforced by the organs of the
State. Thus, it will be seen that many of the fundamental rules governing the
Constitution are 'conventional' (i.e. customary), rather than legal, rules.
But in modern times most general customs (i.e. customs universally observed
throughout the realm) have either fallen into desuetude or become absorbed in rules
of law. For example many of the early rules of the common law were general customs
which the courts adopted, and by this very act of adoption made into law. So too,
much of the modern mercantile law owes its origin to the general customs of
merchants which the courts assimilated. So also many of the rules of the law relating
to the sale of goods originated as customs, were adopted by the courts, and eventually
moulded into a statutory code. General custom has therefore now ceased to operate as
an important source of law. For law, whether enacted or judicially declared, has in
most fields superseded custom.

4. Books of authority
On the Continent the writings of legal authors form an important source of law.
In England, in accordance with the tradition that the law is to be sought in judicial
decisions, their writings have in the past been treated with comparatively little
respect. They have been cited in court, if citied at all, rather by way of evidence of
what the law is that as independent sources from which it may be derived.
This general rule has, however, always been subject to certain recognized
exceptions; for there are certain ‘books of authority’, written by authors of
outstanding eminence, which may not only be cited as independent sources in
themselves for the law of their times but which also carry a weight of authority
almost equal to that of precedents.
In modern times the established tradition appears to have been breaking down,
because many textbooks are now in practice constantly cited in the courts, though
only the best of them are likely to command attention. The reason for this departure
from the established tradition is probably that in comparatively recent years a large
increase in the popularity of the study of English law in all our major universities has
done much to improve the quality of legal writing and to increase the volume of legal
literature. Thus, today books of authority are commonly referred to in court and even
works of living authors are now often cited, though by a rule of etiquette, counsel
who refers to works of the latter category should not cite them directly as authorities,
but should request the leave of the court to ‘adopt’ the arguments which they contain
as part of his own submissions. In practice, however, even this latter etiquette is now
not always observed.

absorb v поглощать
accord v предоставлять
actuality n факты, действительность
adopt v принимать
anchor n якорь
apply v применять, принимать; to apply an enactment принять закон
arbitrary adj, syn random произвольный; in arbitrary way произвольно
ascertainable adj выясняемый, устанавливаемый
assimilate v усваивать
authority n источник права; прецедент; судебное решение; books of authority
источники права; сборники судебных решений; авторитетные учебники по
bear a/ no resemblance to иметь / не иметь сходства с
break down v нарушать
call upon v предоставлять слово
case n судебное дело; судебный прецедент;
binding case обязательный прецедент; прецедент, имеющий обязательную
case-law n, case law прецедентное право
case of the first impression дело, по которому не имеется прецедентов
cast v бросать, сбрасывать
cease v прекращать
cite v syn quote цитировать
Civil Law n (часто прописью) римское право
civil law n (всегда строчными буквами) гражданское право
code n кодекс (a systematic written collection of laws on a particular subject or area
of law), код; Code Napoleon кодекс Наполеона
codify v кодифицировать
command v располагать, внушать
common law n общее право

consider a legal matter рассматривать/обсуждать дело
considered принимая во внимание; с точки зрения
construe v использовать
conventional adj традиционный, обычный
counsel n 1 адвокат; 2 советник; 3 барристер
court n суд; судья; судьи; superior court вышестоящий суд
cover v охватывать; распространять своё действие
custom n обычай
customary adj обычный; customary duty обязанность, основанная
на традициях / обычаях
declarer n тот, кто объясняет/ объявляет
deductive adj дедуктивный (от общего к частному)
departure n отклонение
desuetude n неупотребление; устарелость (закона, обычая);
to fall into desuetude выходить из употребления
discretion n компетенция; усмотрение
divergent adj расходящийся, отклоняющийся
doctrine n доктрина, принцип; doctrine of precedent доктрина прецедента
embody v воплощать; содержать
embrace v включать, охватывать
eminence n знаменитость
enact v принимать закон; вводить закон; enactment n 1 принятие закона;
2 нормативный акт; legislative enactment законодательный акт;
enacted body of rules принятая совокупность правил/норм
enforce v обеспечивать соблюдение; to enforce law принимать правовую
норму / закон
enshrine v помещать в
establish v устанавливать
evidence n 1 свидетельство; свидетельские показания; 2 доказательства
evolve v развиваться; эволюционировать
fashion n образ
hallmark n отличительный признак
hierarchical adj иерархический
inductively adv индуктивно (от частного к общему)
inferior adj низший (lower in position, rank); подчинённый; нижестоящий
infinitely adv бесконечно
injustice n несправедливость; отказ в правосудии
involve v влечь за собой, вызывать
issue n 1 вопрос, дело; 2 опубликование
judge n судья
judicial decision n судебное решение
judicial precedent n судебный прецедент
Justinian’s legislation законодательство Юстиниана (527-565); cвод законов

law n 1 право; 2 закон; law reports сборник судебных решений
leave of the Court разрешение суда
legislate v издавать законы; legislation законодательство;
legislation is enacted law законодательство – это введённый в действие / силу
закон; legislatively adv в законодательном порядке; legislator n законодатель
litigation n тяжба; судебный процесс
mantle n покров
mercantile [merchant] law n торговое право
mislead v (give wrong impression to) вводить в заблуждение;
a misleading statement заявление, вводящее в заблуждение
mould v формировать
multitude n множество
onwards adv вперёд
Parliament n парламент
partnership n товарищество
pattern n образец
power n 1 право; полномочие; 2 власть
practitioner n практикующий юрист
precedent n прецедент
predominent adj доминирующий
preponderate v преобладать
private law n частное право
promulgate v обнародовать; провозглашать
public law n публичное право
realm n королевство; власть
reduce v превращать
reliance n доверие,
reported decision n решение, включённое в сборник судебных решений
rival n соперник; конкурент
rule n норма; правило
salient adj выдающийся
sense n смысл; in a sense в некотором смысле; до некоторой степени
solely adv только, исключительно
solemnity n важность
source n источник; principal sources основные источники;
subsidiary sources дополнительные источники
sovereign n суверен; обладатель полноты власти; монарх
statute n статут, закон
submission n 1 аргумент, довод, утверждение; 2 представление, подача
subsequent adj последующий, следующий
subsume v включать (в какую-либо категорию)
supersede v сменять, заменять, отменять
therefore adv за это, поэтому, следовательно

try v разбирать; расследовать; рассматривать
ultimate adj последний, окончательный
vest v наделять; облекать; пользоваться
wholesale adj оптовый, массовый, в массовом масштабе
wrought (used in the past tense only) причинять, вызывать; оказывать действие

Reading tasks
Answer these questions.
1 What are the two main categories of sources of law?
2 What category of law prevails in England?
3 Is all law which is written defined as ‘written law’?
4 Is any ‘unwritten law’ in fact written?
5 Is most English law written in a code?
6 Is most Continental law generally written or unwritten?
7 What are the four sources of English law?
8 Who makes legislation in England?
9 What is a doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty?
10 Can the English courts influence the effect of legislation?
11 Has English law developed (1) from fixed general rules? or (2) through
decisions in individual cases?
12 How can you characterize the doctrine of the binding case?
13 What is the position of the judge in English legal system?
14 What are “cases of first impression”?
15 In what way do the judges choose precedent?
16 Is most English law found in the form of legislation or judicial precedent?
17 What are customs?
18 Is custom important as a source of law (1) in the history of the law (2) in
England today?
19 What is the law relating to the sale of goods?
20 Are books of authority more important as a source of law in England or on
the Continent?
21 What is a tendency concerning books of authority in England in modern times?
Language focus: connectors

Connectors are words like and, so, but, because, which are used to join or
connect different pieces of language together. They show relation between what the
speaker or writer said before and what they will say next.
Choose the best connector from thus, therefore, for, however, further to
complete the following passage.
Judicial precedent
Judicial precedent is of fundamental importance in the English legal system, 1)
________ the principles of the common law, which have developed gradually
through case-law over the centuries, are the main source of English law.
The English courts are bound to follow decisions of higher courts in the
judicial hierarchy; 2) ________ in many cases they must also follow their own
decisions. Decisions of inferior courts, 3) ________, do not have binding force.
Decisions concerning the interpretation of statutes are also binding, 4) ________
English lawyers must always refer to case-law even if the facts of the case they are
preparing are covered by statute-law and not common-law rules. The law reports are
5) ________ basic works of reference for members of the English legal profession.

Vocabulary tasks
The word LEGAL has the following meanings in Russian:
1) юридический
legal person – юридическое лицо
2) правовой
legal text – правовой текст
3) судебный
legal action – судебный иск
4) законный, дозволенный законом
legal owner – законный владелец
5) легальный
legal activities – правомерная, законная деятельность

A Match the following English expressions with their Russian equivalents.

1 legal activities a законные права
2 legal address b законный владелец
3 legal advice c имеющий законную силу
4 legal age d использовать своё законное право
5 legal costs e история права
6 legal decision f консультация юриста
7 legal document g правовая защита
8 legal entity h правовой документ
9 legal ethics i правовой статус
10 legal expert j правомерная, законная деятельность
11 legal history k профессиональная этика юриста
12 legal language l решение суда
13 legal owner m совершеннолетие
14 legal procedure n стать юристом
15 legal protection o судебные издержки
16 legal rights p судопроизводство
17 legal status q юридическая терминология
18 of legal force r юридический адрес
19 to enjoy one’s legal rights s юридическое лицо
20 to enter the legal profession t юрисконсульт; юридический советник

B Find in the text the following words and phrases and translate them into Russian.
1 declarers 7 unenacted 13 predominant
2 aspect 8 law reports 14 legislative enactment
3 solemnity 9 formal enactments 15 sale of goods
4 misleading 10 set 16 casts
5 enacted 11 codified 17 statutes
6 whether reduced 12 preponderate over 18 wholesale codification
to writing or not
C Match each word or phrase on the left to the correct definition on the right for
groups given below.
Example: issues are questions or matters
Answer: Group I: a/2
Group I
words or phrases definitions
a issues 1 legal actions or sets of legal circumstances
b grounded 2 questions, matters
c actualities 3 legal action
d litigation 4 real conditions or facts
e cases 5 based
Group II
words or phrases definitions
a code 1 put into a code (adjective)
b codification 2 a person who forms theories
c encoded 3 a written set or collection of laws
d theorist 4 modification by judges for a particular purpose
e judicial adaptation 5 the act of making into a code
Group III
words or phrases definitions
a restatements 1 different from each other
b jurists 2 law based on judicial precedent
c case-law 3 declarations or statements in a new form
d approach to 4 experts in law, especially legal writers
e divergent 5 method of dealing with
Group IV
words or phrases definitions
a salient feature 1 reach the same decision as
b binding case 2 striking or especially important characteristic
c hierarchical 3 case containing principles which a court must
apply to similar facts in a later case
d follow 4 heard, judged (in a court of law)
e tried 5 classified into higher and lower grades or levels

D Match these sources of law with the description below.

Common law Roman Law

Napoleonic code The Ten Commandments

1) ________, which evolved in the 8th century BC, was still largely a blend of custom
and interpretation by magistrates of the will of the gods. 2) ________ evolved from
the tribal and local laws in England. It began with common customs, but over time it
involved the courts in law-making that was responsible to changes in society. In this
way the Anglo-Norman rulers created a system of centralized courts that operated
under a single set of laws that replaced the rules laid down by earlier societies. 3)
________ formed the basis of all Israelite legislation. They can also be found in the
laws of other ancient peoples. 4) ________ refers to the entire body of French law,
contained in five codes dealing with civil, commercial, and criminal law.

E Are the following sentences about the sources of law true or false?
1 The Ten Commandments are based on moral standards of behaviour.

2 In common law, judges resolve disputes by referring to statutory principles

arrived at in advance.

3 Roman law is based on the principles of deciding cases by reference to

previous judicial decisions, rather than to written statutes by legislative bodies.

4 The Napoleonic Code was introduced into a number of European countries,

notably Belgium, where it is still in force. It also became the model for the
civil codes of Quebec Province in Canada, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, some
Latin American republics, and the state of Louisiana.

F Complete the following passage to check that you have understood the text so far
and can use the new vocabulary. For each blank space choose the correct word
from the list below. Use each word once only.
The Importance of Legislation as a Source in English and Continental Law
In many 1) continental countries much of the law is 2) ________. For this
reason there is more written, or 3) ________ law than 4) ________ law. In contrast,
there is no general code of 5) ________ law. Still, 6) ________ is common, and many
areas of law, e.g. 7) ________ are codified, but 8) ________ is the main source of the
Choose from:
a partnership b enacted c Continental d unwritten
e English f judicial precedent g legislation h codified

G Decide where you think some of the following pieces of information belong in the
table. Copy and complete the table.
A civil law/common law
B central importance of enacted law/central importance of precedent
C inductive/decisions reached by reasoning from general rules to particular
cases/reasoning in individual cases leads to general rules/deductive
D principles are flexible/principles are based on real facts/in time fixed principles
may not correspond to changing circumstances/principles develop in individual
cases/general enacted principles are applied to individual cases.
E original source of principles may be case-law, custom, etc./inferior courts must
follow decisions of superior courts/central position of judges.
English law Continental law
A Type of legal system
B Basic characteristic of system
C Style of legal reasoning
D Legal principles
E Other characteristics

Over to you
Use your own knowledge and information from the text to compare the following:
• codification of law on the Continent and in England
• codification of law in your country and in England
• written sources of law on the Continent and in your country
• written sources of law in your country and in England
• unwritten sources of law in England and in your country
‘Many continental countries have codified their law, whereas this has not happened in
England. In fact, only some areas of English law, such as the sale of goods, are
‘In England most of the law is unwritten and the same is true in my country. In fact
the principal sources of law in the legal system in my country are…’
Write your comparisons down.

Unit 4 Sources of Modern Law

Before you read

Discuss these questions.
1 Can you explain the doctrine of “precedent”?
2 Can you name two main systems of law?
3 What system of law operates in your country?

Text A
Historical and Political Background
In order to understand why a particular country has a particular legal system it
is necessary to look its history, political structure and social values. Despite civil wars
in the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries and enormous social changes associated
with industrialization, England and Wales have retained many laws and legal
principles that originated eight centuries ago.
Each country in the world, even each state of the United States, has its own
system of law. But there are two main traditions of law in the world. One is based on
English Common law, and has been adopted by many Commonwealth countries and
most of the United States. The other tradition, sometimes known as Continental, or
Roman law, has developed in most of continental Europe, Latin America and many
countries in Asia and Africa which have been strongly influenced by Europe.

Text B
Common Law Systems
Common law, or case law systems, particularly that of England, differ from
Continental law in having developed gradually throughout history, not as the result of
government attempts to define or codify every legal relation. Customs and court
rulings have been as important as statutes (government legislation). Judges do not
merely apply the law in some cases they make law, since their interpretations may
become precedents for other courts to follow.
Although local and ancient customs played their part, uniform application of
the law throughout the country was promoted by the gradual development of the
doctrine of precedent.
By this principle, judges attempted to apply existing customs and laws to each
new case, rather than looking to the government to write new laws. If the essential
elements of a case were the same as those of previous recorded cases, then the judge
was bound to reach the same decision regarding guilt or innocence. Once a decision
had been made, there was a tendency to decide subsequent cases involving the same
problem in the same way. Thus arose the rule of stare decisis meaning "adhere to the
decisions" or "let the decided cases stand."
If no precedent could be found then the judge made a decision based upon
existing legal principles, and his decision would become a precedent for other courts
to follow when a similar case arose. The doctrine of precedent is still a central feature
of modern common law systems. Courts are bound by the decisions of previous
courts unless it can be shown that the facts differ from previous cases. Sometimes
governments make new laws – statutes – to modify or clarify the common law, or to
make rules where none existed before. But even statutes often need to be interpreted
by the courts in order to fit particular cases, and these interpretations become new
precedents. In common law systems, the law is, thus, found not only in government
statutes, but also in the historical records of cases.
The general principles of law established in this way came to be called the
common law because, in contrast to the law or custom of particular localities, it was
"common" to the whole of England. The common law comprised the wisdom and
experience of many generations of judges and laid down many important principles
protective of individual rights of person and property.
Another important feature of the common law tradition is equity. By the
fourteenth century many people in England were dissatisfied with the inflexibility of
the common law, and a practice developed of appealing directly to the king or to his
chief legal administrator, the lord chancellor. As the lord chancellor’s court became
more willing to modify existing common law in order to solve disputes, a new system
of law developed alongside the common law. This system recognized rights that were
not enforced as common law but which were considered "equitable", or just, such as
the right to force someone to fulfill a contract rather than simply pay damages for
breaking it, or the rights of a beneficiary of a trust. The courts of common law and of
equity existed alongside each other for centuries. If an equitable principle would
bring a different result from a common law ruling on the same case, then the general
rule was that equity should prevail.
One problem resulting from the existence of two systems of justice was that a
person often had to begin actions in different courts in order to get a satisfactory
solution. For example, in a breach (breaking) of contract claim, a person had to seek
specific performance (an order forcing the other party to do something) in court of
equity, and damages (monetary compensation for his loss) in a common law court. In
l873, the two systems were unified, and nowadays a lawyer can pursue common law
and equitable claims in the same court.
Although courts continually have to find ways of interpreting existing common
law for new cases, legislation has become the most important source of new law.
When the government feels that existing common law, equity or statutes are in need
of revision or clarification, it passes new legislation. In this way courts avoid the
obligation to follow precedent. Parliament passes hundreds of new laws every year on
matters that need to be regulated more precisely than the common law has been able
to do and on matters that never arose when the common law was developed. For
example, modern society has produced crimes such as business fraud and computer
theft which require complex and precise definitions. Some modern legislation is so
precise and comprehensive it is rather like a code in the Continental system.
The spread of common law in the world is due both to the once widespread
influence of Britain in the world and the growth of its former colony, the United
States. Although judges in one common law country cannot directly support their
decisions by cases from another, it is permissible, for a judge to note such evidence in
giving an explanation. Nevertheless political divergence has produced legal
divergence from England. Unified federal law is only a small part of American law.
Most of it is produced by individual states and reflects various traditions. The state of
Louisiana, for example, has a Roman civil form of law which derives from its days as
a French colony. California has a case law tradition, but its laws are codified as
extensively as many Continental systems.

background n 1 предыстория; предпосылки; исходная ситуация; 2 фон
beneficiary n бенефициарий (получатель доходов/ выгод от имущества,
находящегося в доверительном управлении)
break a contract v нарушить контракт /договор
claim n 1 требование; 2 заявление
common law n 1 общее право (как прецедентное право в отличие от статутного
права); 2 общее право, англосаксонское право (в отличие от континентального
права); 3 общее право Англии, обычно common law of England (как совокупность
прецедентного и статутного права)
common-law court n суд общего права
comprehensive adj понятный
continental law n континентально-европейское право; syn Roman (Civil) law
римское право
damages n возмещение убытков
equitable adj справедливый
equity n 1 справедливость; 2 право справедливости; equity court суд “права
справедливости”, суд системы “права справедливости”
fraud n мошенничество, обман; business fraud мошенничество в бизнесе
guilt n вина; виновность
innocence n невиновность
justice n 1 правосудие; 2 справедливость; system of justice система правосудия
lord chancellor, Lord Chancellor n Лорд-канцлер (главное судебное должностное
лицо, спикер палаты лордов, член кабинета министров)
performance n исполнение; specific performance реальное исполнение
precise adj точный
promote v способствовать; содействовать
pursue v преследовать; искать в суде
regarding adv относительно
retain v сохранять
ruling n 1 решение (суда); 2 издание норм, правил; court rulings решения суда
seek (sought, sought) v добиваться; требовать
stare decisis [`sta:ri di`saisis] лат. following precedent “стоять на решённом”
(формула функционирования и развития права на основе судебных прецедентов);
обязывающая сила прецедентов
theft n кража; computer theft кража с использованием компьютера
trust n траст, доверительный фонд

Reading tasks
Comprehension check
A Read the text to decide whether the statements below are true (T) or false (F).
1 The law in England is the same as the law in France. _______
2 English law has evolved gradually. _______
3 Most of English law has been codified. _______
4 The common law was developed by the judges. _______
5 All the courts in the system are of equal authority. _______

B Study the following definitions of COMMON LAW. Translate them into Russian.
TEXT 1: Roger Bird, Osborne's Concise Law Dictionary, Seventh Edition
common law. That part of the law of England formulated, developed and
administered by the old common law courts, based originally on the common
customs of the country, and unwritten. It is opposed to equity (the body of rules
administered by the Court of Сhancery1); to statute law (the law laid down in
Acts of Parliament); to special law (the law administered in special courts such
as ecclesiastical law, and the law merchant); and to the civil law (the law of
It is 'the commonsense of the community, crystallised and formulated by
our forefathers'. It is not local law, nor the result of legislation.
the Court of Chancery амер. суд системы “права справедливости”

TEXT 2: The Encyclopaedia Britannica

common law, also called ANGLO-AMERICAN LAW, the body of customary
law, based upon judicial decisions and embodied in reports of decided cases,
which has been administered by the common-law courts of England since the
Middle Ages. From this has evolved the type of legal system now found also in
the United States and in most of the member states of the Commonwealth of
Nations. Common law stands in contrast to the rules developed by the separate
courts of equity, to statute law (i.e., the acts of legislative bodies), and to the
legal system derived from civil law now widespread in western Europe and

TEXT 3: Powell R. Law today. 1993.

common law. A system in which legal decisions are based upon decisions in
previous cases (Doctrine of precedent) and on custom, rather than on detailed
written laws. It is sometimes called case law and originally developed in
England. Common law is an important part of the legal systems of many
countries which have been influenced by English law, such as the USA and

C Answer these questions.
1 What do you understand by common law?
2 What was the original source of common-law principles?
3 Would a codified system of law make the law more a) certain, or b) flexible?
4 Why is it important for judges to be independent?
5 What is stare decisis?
6 What is the name of the court which administered equity?
7 What other countries apart from England have a common-law legal system?
8 In what sense is the “constitution” of England a “creature” of the common law?

Language focus
Put the words in brackets into the correct form, active or passive. Translate the text.
The English legal system 1) _____ (centralize) through a court structure which
is common to the whole country. It is hierarchical, with the higher courts and
judges having more authority than the lower ones. Some important
characteristics of English law are:
1 English law 2) _____ (base) on the common law tradition. By this we 3) _____
(mean) a system of 'judge made' law which continuously 4) _____ (develop)
over the years through the decisions of judges in the cases brought before them.
These judicial precedents are an important source of law in the English
legal system. Common law systems are different from the civil law
systems of Western Europe and Latin America. In these countries the law
5) _____ (codify) or systematically collected to form a consistent body of legal
2 English judges have an important role in developing case law and stating
the meaning of Acts of Parliament.
3 The judges are independent of the government and the people
appearing before them. This 6) _____ (allow) them to make impartial

Vocabulary tasks
A Match the following English words and phrases with their Russian equivalents.
1legal system a принятие закона
2adopt b негибкость
3the Commonwealth countries c последующие дела
4legal relations d принимать
5application of the law e правовая система
6subsequent cases f правовая противоречивость
7bound by the decisions g исполнять контракт
8inflexibility h связанный решениями
9fulfil a contract i правовые отношения
10 legal divergence j страны Содружества

B Match each word or phrase on the left to the correct definition on the right.

1 law a one of the greatest common-law

2 code documents
b law as developed and pronounced by the courts in
deciding cases ("case law"), based on the common law
3 civil law of England and judicial precedent
c a person with authority to hear and decide disputes
4 common law brought before a court for decision

5 court d the law passed by a legislative body

e codified law based on the Roman code of Justinian; the
basis of the legal system of the most western European
6 Magna Carta countries

7 judge f any rule that society will enforce

g in the common law, a collection of statutes enacted by
legislative bodies, including Congress and state
8 statute legislatures
h a person or group of persons with authority to hear and
decide disputes by interpreting and applying rules of
law; also the place where cases are heard

C Use an appropriate word or phrase from the box to complete each sentence.
law case court Magna Carta applying code litigation
statutes legal lawyers precedent attorney common law judicial

The "constitution" of England is unwritten and is largely based on precedent;

hence it is a true creation of the common law. Several documents, such as the
1) ______ and the English Bill of Rights, are incorporated into the precedent.
Unless changes are constitutionally prohibited, Congress or the state
legislatures may enact laws (statutes) that modify the common law. These 2) ______
also subject to 3) ______interpretation, are collected into codes - along with case law,
the codes from the law generally applied in court. Unlike Civil Law codes, common
law codes are not intended to be entire statements of the whole law.
As 4) ______ developed, a judge confronted with a puzzling new 5) ______
would search the literature for a similar case to determine whether a 6) ______ been
established. If so, the judge would follow the prior decision.
If there are no modern American or English precedents for a specific case, a
7) ______can, and sometimes do, consider Justinian's 8) ______. Some areas of the
common taw, such as the law of negotiable instruments, are derived from Roman 9)

The fact that there are many precedents in the common law system, and hence,
much scope for arguments and disagreement, encourages 10) ______, which
produces a need for 11) ______.
An 12) ______ should: handle cases competently, zealously advocate the
client's cause, remain true to his/her duties as an officer of the court, keep the client
reasonably informed, abide by the strictures of attorney/client privilege, and try to
protect a client from problems caused by the attorney's withdrawal from a case.
Attorneys can be used not only to resolve problems, but also to prevent them.
Familiar with general 13) ______ principles, the lawyer directs his/her knowledge
toward finding and 14) ______ the law to a particular set of facts.

Over to you
Case-law or codes?
What are the relative advantages and disadvantages of a legal system based on
case-law and a legal system based on codes?


+ +
rules based on real situations enacted by the legislature
- difficulty of finding the-law rigid

Text C
Common Law and Equity
Over the years, however, the common law tended to become rigid, both in its
principles and its remedies. Writs (court orders) were developed for certain specific
purposes, and if a litigant needed relief that could not be supplied by one of those
writs, the common-law courts could not help him. Basically, the remedy the courts
were prepared to supply was money damages to compensate for a wrong. They were
unable to prevent or abate the wrong itself. Smith might be threatening to cut down
trees belonging to Jones, but Jones could do nothing at common law except wait until
the trees were cut down and then sue Smith for the value of the trees. But what Jones
really needed was some legal method of preventing Smith from destroying the trees.

Historical Development
After the conquest of England by William the Conqueror (A.D. 1066), Norman
kings created an independent, but parallel, system of justice alongside the developing
common law, with ultimate judicial responsibility residing in the king himself. This
system, the equity system, had exclusive jurisdiction over injunctive relief (court-
ordered action). The ordinary meaning is justice or fairness. Equity developed
because in many situations there was no legal remedy available at common law.
Our main purpose is to draw a distinction between common law and equity and
the way the courts apply the rules of these two areas of law. The differences arise

from their historical development. First let us consider what we mean by the words
‘common law’:
1 It is law which is common to the whole country – national law in contrast to
local law.
2 It is law which is based on judicial decisions (case law) in contrast to the law
which is made by Parliament (statute law).
3 It distinguishes the common law legal systems based on precedents from
civil law jurisdictions based on civil codes.
4 It comprises the rules developed by the common law courts in contrast to the
rules developed by the courts of equity.
Do the rules of equity remain different from the rules of common law?
To answer this question we must remember the purpose of equity which is to
achieve justice and fairness. To do this the courts have developed a set of rules to
govern the application of equity. These are called the 'maxims' of equity. They are
different from the rules which apply in the common law and these maxims are the
reason why the British continue to distinguish between common law and equity.
There are many equitable maxims of which the following are just brief examples:
a Equity will not suffer a wrong to be without a remedy. Equity will only
intervene when there is no adequate common law remedy.
b Equity follows the law. Equity recognizes legal rights and does not take the
place of the common law.
c He who comes to equity must come with clean hands. A litigant who has
behaved unfairly in the dispute will be denied an equitable remedy.
d Equitable remedies are discretionary. Litigants do not have a right to an
equitable remedy. The courts will decide whether to grant a remedy after
considering the individual circumstances of each case.
These examples illustrate the wider principles and interests which the courts
will consider before granting an equitable right or remedy. One of the most important
features of equity which distinguishes it from common law is the maxim that
equitable remedies are discretionary.
As the equity system functioned alongside the common law courts, the two
systems of law gradually merged. Equity maxims – "He who comes into equity must
come with clean hands," and many other "fair play" principles – were adopted by the
common law and are currently cited in judicial decisions.
Equity absorbed a number of functions involving the family (divorce,
annulment, adoption). These equity responsibilities became part of the general legal
system – and part of the common law – that developed in the United States.
Although law and equity are today merged into a common system, the old
equity domain (injunctive relief, specific performance of contract, contract
modification, family law, divorce) is particularly influenced by the idea of fairness
and is deliberately more relaxed in its concept of justice. Also, jury trial is not
available in an equity-type proceeding.

abate v 1 отменять; прекращать; 2 уменьшать
abolish v отменять
adoption n усыновление; удочерение
annulment n 1 судебное решение о признании брака недействительным; 2 лишение
родительского права
conquest n завоевание
conqueror n завоеватель; William the Conqueror Вильгельм Завоеватель
discretionary adj дискреционный; предоставленный на усмотрение
domain n область; сфера
equity n право справедливости; equity system система, основанная на праве
справедливости; equitable adj основанный на праве справедливости;
fairness n честность; справедливость; беспристрастность
grant a remedy v предоставить судебную защиту
injunctive relief n судебный запрет
intervene v 1 вмешиваться; 2 вступать в процесс
justice n 1 справедливость; 2 правосудие
litigant n тяжущаяся сторона; сторона в судебном деле
maxim (of law) 1 (юридическая) максима; 2 правовой принцип; 3 правило
merge v сливаться; объединяться
relief n помощь, судебная защита
remedy n средство судебной защиты
reside in v принадлежать; быть присущим
rigid adj жёсткий; негибкий
writ n судебный приказ

Reading tasks
A Answer these questions.
1 What is equity?
2 Why did the need for equity arise?
3 Why did equity develop?
4 What do you mean by the words “common law”?
5 Do the rules of equity remain different from the rules of common law?
6 What is the purpose of equity?
7 How are the rules of equity called?
8 Name some of the equitable maxims.
9 What happened to two systems of law?
10 Does your legal system contain rules of equity?

B Comprehension check
Mark these statements T (true) or F (false).
1 Equity is a complex area of English law.
2 Equity is concerned with the law of property.
3 Common Law does not contrast with equity.
4 The purpose of equity is to achieve justice and fairness
5 Parliament developed a set of rules called the ‘maxims’.
6 Common law and equity are different legal systems nowadays.
7 Common law and equity are two separate bodies of legal principles
are now administrated by the same courts.
Language focus
Complete the text below by using the appropriate prepositions.
The plaintiffs owned a house next door 1) _____ the defendant's factory.
Sometimes black smoke from the factory chimneys would blow across the plaintiffs'
garden. The plaintiffs sued the owners of the factory complaining 2)_____ damage
caused 3)_____ plants in their garden 4) _____ the smoke and loss of enjoyment of
their property. They sought (= past tense 'to seek') damages and an injunction to
prevent the defendants using their premises as a factory.
Held1: That the owners of the factory were liable 5) _____ the plaintiffs
6) _____ the tort of private nuisance. The plaintiffs were awarded damages 7) _____
the loss of their plants and granted an injunction restricting the use of the defendants'
property. It was reasonable that the defendants should use their premises as a factory
but not 8) _____ a way which would cause nuisance 9) _____ adjoining property. The
injunction would apply until the defendants were able to control the smoke 10)
_____ their chimneys.
Held1 – суд решил; решено
Vocabulary tasks
A Match the English words and expressions with their Russian equivalents.
1 adopt a цитировать
2 legal b принципы справедливости
3 injunction c судебное решение
4 prevail d исполнение контракта
5 fair play e поглощать
6 cite f принимать
7 judicial decision g концепция справедливости
8 involve h судебный запрет
9 equity principles i право на судебную защиту
10 absorb j следовать закону
11 performance of contract k правовой
12 concept of justice l включать в себя
13 follow the law m преобладать
14 right of remedy n цитировать
For You to Know
Court of Chancery 1 Канцлерский суд (в Великобритании до 1873г.);
2 амер. Суд системы «права справедливости»
chancellor 1 канцлер; 2 главный судебный представитель суда
справедливости (в некоторых штатах Америки)
Lord Chancellor Лорд-канцлер (главное судебное должностное лицо,
спикер палаты лордов, член кабинета министров)
Judicature судоустройство; юрисдикция
King’s Bench Суд королевской скамьи (до 1873 г.); Court of King’s Bench
Supreme Court Верховный суд

B Match the legal terms with their definitions.

1 equity a legal relief that prevents a wrong, enforces a right, or
compensates a party for harm
2 Court of Chancery b a judge’s function, or authority
3 remedy c historically, the highest common-law court in
4 maxim d the body of principles constituting what is fair and
5 King’s Bench e a question or problem that will be dealt with by a
law court
6 case f a traditional legal principle
7 Judicature g a court of equity

C Complete the text with the words from the box.

common (2) criminal barons Supreme maxims
equity judge-made civil decentralized King’s Bench
permanent facts redress Chancery Judicature justice
remedies judges decided fairness separate
Before the Norman Conquest the law in England was 1) ______ . Fear of the
power of local 2) ______ led Henry II to create a 3) _______ royal court in London
called the 4) ______ . 5) ______ from this court would travel the country hearing 6)
______ and 7) ______ cases. The central court in London 8) ______ the legal issue in
a case and this would be applied to the 9) ______in the regional courts. In this way a
10) ______ system of law was developed which was 11) ______ to most parts of the
Equity was developed by the Court of 12) ______. It introduced new 13)
______ to provide 14) ______ for disappointed litigants. The common law courts
were 15) ______ from the Court of Chancery until a single court was established by
the 16) ______ Act 1873. Each branch of the 17) ______ Court of Judicature can
administer 18) ______ law and 19) ______ . However, the difference between the

two is still important because of the 20) ______ of equity. These illustrate that equity
is based on 21) ______ and 22) ______.
D Write down the Russian equivalents for the words in bold type.
Equity came into being in the Middle Ages because common law was not
always able to give redress to all litigants. The Court of Chancery provided equitable
relief when it thought that the common law remedy was inequitable. Until 1875 there
were two courts – the common law court and the Court of Chancery. The Judicature
Court established a single court, the Supreme Court of Judicature. When the
common law and laws of equity conflict, the laws of equity should prevail.

Over to you
Discuss this problem.
The definition of common law contrasts the body of law developed by the
common-law courts and statute law, with Equity - the body of law originally
formulated and developed by the Lord Chancellor and the Court of Chancery. Equity
is a complex area of English law, mainly concerned with the law of property. The
purpose of Equity was to add to or supplement common-law rules in cases where
these were too rigid to give justice. These two parallel systems of justice exist side by
side in English law and since 1873 they have been administered by the same courts.
The following example will show the different effect of common law and
Equity in an actual case:
Suppose that Smith and Jones form a contract in which Smith agrees to sell
Jones a certain piece of land. Smith later changes his mind and breaks the
contract. At common law the court will order Smith to pay Jones money as
compensation for the land he has lost. In Equity the court has discretion to
order Smith to perform his part of the contract (to transfer the piece of land to
Jones) if this is fair in the circumstances.
What is the difference between the result given by Equity and common law in
the example?

Text D
Sources of American Law
American law, strongly influenced by its English background, has four
main sources – common law, equity, constitutions and statutes.
England, the British Commonwealth, and the United States follow the
common law. Whereas Civil Law attempts to state the whole law in a comprehensive
code, the common law is found in the collected cases of the various courts of law.
American common law began with the common law of England. It includes the
English common law and all subsequent legal developments, including the principle
of stare decisis.

Common law codes should not be confused with Civil Law codes. In the
common law, a code is a collection of statutes passed by a legislature; a civil law
code is intended as a full and comprehensive statement of the whole law.
Equity began as an independent legal system based on concepts of fair play. It
covers injunctive relief, specific performance of contract, and certain contract
revisions, as well as parts of family law. Many of the principles and maxims of equity
have been merged into the common law. There is no jury trial in an equity case.
Constitutions and Statutes. In contrast to these two forms of judge-made law
– common law and equity – are two varieties of "legislative" law—constitutions and
statutes. Judge-made law is inductive; on the basis of a number of individual
decisions a general rule is constructed. Legislative law is deductive; a general
principle is stated by a constitutional convention or a legislature and then is given
meaning as it is applied in deciding a series of individual controversies.
The special problems of constitutions as sources of law have already been
noted. Constitutions tend to state very general principles and they are hard to amend,
so they require or permit great latitude in interpretation. Statutes are typically more
limited in their scope and language; they aim to solve particular problems or lay
down rules covering defined situations. Nevertheless, statutes also require
interpretation when they are applied.
During the past century, judge-made law proved increasingly unable to deal
with the problems of an industrialized society. Legislatures responded to the
challenge with an enormous output of regulatory and social-welfare legislation. Just
as the common-law courts initially resisted the rise of equity, so judges in the United
States initially resented statute law replacing the standards of the common law, and
they restricted the impact of the new legislation by narrow and hostile interpretation.
But this was a tactic that could not long prevail. Today, statutes are by far the most
substantial source of the law that American courts apply.

comprehensive code n единый кодекс; всеобъемлющий кодекс
controversy n 1 спор; 2 правовой спор; судебный спор
latitude n свобода действий
lay down (rules) v установить (правила)
output n выпуск
relief n 1 средство судебной защиты; 2 помощь; injunctive relief судебный
запрет, средство правовой защиты в виде судебного запрещения
resent v пересматривать
scope n охват
social welfare n социальное обеспечение
substantial adj 1 существенный; 2 реальный

Reading tasks
Answer these questions.
1 What are four main sources of American law?
2 How do American sources of law differ from the sources of English
3 What is the difference between the Civil Law and the common law?
4 What does American common law include?
5 What does term “code” mean in the Civil Law system and in the
common law system?
6 What are the special problems of American constitution as a source of
7 What are statutes?
8 How does the role of the judge in your system differ from his or her
role in the American system?

Language focus
Put the words in brackets into the appropriate form, using the passive where necessary.
1 If law _______ not _______ (enforce), it has no effect on society it _______
2 If government _______ (pass) many laws but does not attempt to police them,
the citizenry _______ (lose) its respect for government and law, and society
_______ greatly _______ (weaken).
3 Case law _______ (collect) in the opinions of the appellate courts of the states
and of the United States. Opinions of trial courts _______ usually not _______
(publish), except for federal trial courts.
4 Besides the statutory annotations, case law may _______ (find) in legal
encyclopedias, textbooks, treaties, case digests, and computer data banks. All
law books _______ (base) on principles developed and enunciated in the cases.
5 Statutory law _______ (find) in a state code or in the federal code. These codes
_______ (publish) with annotations, footnotes, and cross references to other
statutes and to key cases interpreting and applying the statute in question.
6 If a case_______(arise) for which no modern American or English precedent
can _______ (find), the court sometimes bases its decisions on the Justinian
code, from which some areas of the common law _______ (derive). In the
absence of a precedent, a court may_______ (follow) its own sense of justice or
fairness, with due regard for prevailing custom or morality.

Vocabulary tasks
A Match each word or phrase on the left to the correct definition on the right.
1 equity a legal process in which a court of law examines a case
to decide whether someone is guilty of a crime
2 background b to make addition to a law
3 constitution c the branch of government responsible for making
statutory laws
4 stare decisis d the redress or benefit that a party asks of a court
5 legislature e help that is provided by government for people with
social problems (very poor, unemployed)
6 statement f the circumstances, facts on events that influence,
cause or explain something
7 injunctive relief g historically in England and the United States, a
parallel and independent legal system based on
principles of “fair play” or equity; now merged into
general court system, with responsibility for family
law, injections and specific performance of contracts
8 trial h “stand by the decision”; a requirement that a court
follow its own and higher court precedent
9 amend i a nation’s or state’s supreme set of laws, outlining the
basic organization, powers, and responsibilities of the
government and guaranteeing certain specified rights
to the people
10 social welfare j a formal and exact presentation of facts

B Use an appropriate word from the box to complete each sentence.

law professor relevant codify attorneys on-line services law
application take precedence provisions research case law cases

Law students and lawyers from non-Anglo-American countries learn that

Anglo-American 1) ______ is "case law" or "judge-made law." That's true to an
extent, but in reality a significant portion of the law of the United States is 2) ______
[written in the form of statutes]. Of course, it is true that in some cases no statutory or
constitutional 3) ______ will apply. Under those circumstances, 4) ______ must rely
solely on earlier 5) ______ ("the common law") on the issue; however, constitutional
provisions and statutes 6) ______ over case law.
One considerable difference that exists between common and civil law coun-
tries is the amount of 7) ______ an attorney must do. Once an attorney finds the
8) ______ statutory law in a common law country, his or her research doesn't stop
there. Nor is it sufficient to read one or two explanatory commentaries written by
a 9) ______ as it might be in a civil law system.
American attorneys will search to find the 10) ______ relating to a statute
before they can say they have thoroughly researched the problem. Without locating
and reading the cases that explain the 11) ______ of the statute or constitutional
provision, they have not even begun their research. Modern 12) ______ have made it
faster and more efficient to find cases that might be relevant, but it is still hard work.

Over to you
1 How could you characterize this case?
Bernhard Goetz shot and wounded four young men who apparently were
attempting to rob him in a New York subway in 1984. He had been robbed
before under similar circumstances. Discuss.
2 Name at least four general, ethical duties of an attorney.

Text E
Continental Systems
Continental systems are known as codified or Civil Law legal systems. They
have resulted from attempts by governments to produce a set of codes to govern
every legal aspect of a citizen’s life. Thus it was necessary for the legislators to
speculate quite comprehensively about human behaviour rather than simply looking
at previous cases. In codifying their legal systems, many countries have looked to the
examples of Revolutionary and Napoleonic France, whose legislators wanted to break
with previous case law, which had often produced corrupt and biased judgements,
and to apply new egalitarian social theories to the law.
The lawmakers of new nations sometimes wanted to show that the legal rights
of their citizens originated in the state, not in local customs, and thus it was the state
that was to make law, not the courts. In order to separate the roles of the legislature
and judiciary, it was necessary to make laws that were clear and comprehensive. The
lawmakers were often influenced by the model of the canon law of the Roman
Catholic Church, but the most important models were the codes produced in the
seventh century under the direction of the Roman Emperor Justinian. His aim had
been to eliminate the confusion of centuries of inconsistent lawmaking by
formulating a comprehensive system that would entirely replace existing law.
Versions of Roman law had long influenced many parts of Europe, including the case
law traditions of Scotland, but had little impact on English law.
It is important not to exaggerate the differences between these two traditions of
law. For one thing, many case law systems, such as California's, have areas of law
that have been comprehensively codified. For another, many countries can be said to
have belonged to the Roman tradition long before codifying their laws, and large
uncodified areas of the law still remain.

For You to Remember
Civil Law, or code law, is one of two major legal systems currently
in use in the Western world. It is based primarily on the written codes of
Justinian and Napoleon. The predominant feature of civil law is the
attempt to establish a body of legal rules in one systematized code, a
single comprehensive legislative enactment. In this system, judicial
decisions, case law, are not a source of law, although judicial precedents
may be useful in the decision of cases. Civil Law remains the basis of the
legal system in Italy, France, Spain, Germany, and other parts of the
Western world that were once included in the Roman Empire.

Sources of Civil Law

As society became increasingly complex, various "lawgivers" attempted to
provide orderly systems of laws that would promote security and justice. There are
four landmark "codes," each of which represents distinct progress in the development
of law:
Lawgiver Date Noteworthy Aspects
Hammurabi 1792-1750 Designed to promote "justice" but based on
(Babylonian) B.C. the lex talionis. A well-ordered system of
285 laws, arranged by titles.
Solon 594 B.C Established a stable government operating
(Athenian) under a system of rules imposed by a
consenting citizenry. "Citizens" were equal
under the law.
Justinian A.D. 533 Summarized and systematized the civil law
(Roman) of Rome; remains the basis for the laws of
most of western Europe.
Napoleon A.D. 1804 Preserved many democratic achievements
(French) of the French Revolution, such as civil
equality and jury trial. Influenced modern
law, for example, the modern law of the
state of Louisiana.

biased adj предвзятый; пристрастный; предубеждённый
canon law n каноническое право
citizenry n гражданство; граждане
consenting adj согласный
corrupt adj коррумпированный; продажный
egalitarian adj эгалитарный; уравнительный
impact n влияние, воздействие

inconsistent adj 1 непоследовательный; 2 противоречивый
judgement n 1 судебное решение; 2 мнение; суждение
judiciary n судебная власть
landmark adj знаковый (документ в истории); поворотный (в истории)
latitude n свобода действий
lawgiver n законодатель; законодательная власть
lawmaker n законодатель
legislature n законодательная власть; легислатура
lex talionis лат.“the law of retaliation” (an eye for an eye) “закон равного
возмездия”, т.е. закон, основанный на принципе: око за око, зуб за зуб
speculate v размышлять; делать предположения

Reading tasks
A Answer these questions
1 How do Continental systems usually differ from common law systems?
2 Give an example of a country with a legal system based on the written codes.
3 What was the significance of the Roman Code of Justinian?
4 How did the Code of Napoleon influence modern law?
5 What is the predominant feature of Civil Law?
6 What is the role of judicial precedents in Civil Law?
7 How can you define the term “lawgiver”?
8 Name four landmark “codes”.

B Study the following definitions of legal terms. Translate them into

Continental law. A system in which legal decisions are usually made by
applying detailed written laws to the case in question. Various forms of continental
law are found in continental Europe and in parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America. It
is known as Roman law (or Civil Law) because it was influenced by the laws
developed in ancient Rome. It is also known as codified law because the system often
requires laws to be written in the form of precise, detailed codes.
Civil Law. 1 Codified law based on the Roman Code of Justinian; the basis of
the legal system of most European countries and of nations that were once their
colonies; 2 spelled in small letters – “civil law” – noncriminal law; law which
regulates the relationships between individuals or bodies.

Vocabulary tasks
A Match these legal terms with their definitions.
1 legislative enactment a in Civil Law: a collection of laws into a
single, organic whole
2 jury trial b one who makes laws within a given
3 code c extraordinary significant
4 lawmaker d when people have the same legal rights
5 landmark e written in the form of statutes
6 judicial decision f the process of making into law
7 codified g a trial in which the fact issues are determined
by a jury, not by the judge
8 civil equality h one who promulgates an entire code of laws
9 lawgiver i judgement of court

B Complete the following text with the words and phrases from the box.
changed binding common law Civil Law system
main principles judicial interpretations written codes decisions of courts
precedent private law interpret
In Civil Law system the main branches of the law are embodied in 1) ______.
There are codes of criminal law, of 2) ______, of commercial law, etc. The codes are
meant to contain the 3) ______ of each branch of the law. They are not easily 4)
______. Scholarly writings, often by university professors, are of great importance in
5) ______. Scholars explain and 6) ______ the codes, statutes and 7) ______ .
In common law system the decisions of judges of the higher courts are 8)
______, and much of the law is left to the courts to develop.
In Civil Law 9) ______ are based primarily on a system of written law, rather
than on the rule of 10) ______ emphasized in 11) ______.

Over to you
Compare Civil Law and common law:
1 What is characteristic?
a) of Civil Law system
b) of common law system
2 What are the sources?
a) of Civil Law
b) of common law
3 Where is
a) Civil Law spread?
b) common law spread?

Unit 5 The History of Constitution

Before you read

Study the following definitions of CONSTITUTION. Which of them best matches
your understanding of the concept?
1 A body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a
state or other organization is acknowledged to be.
2 The body of doctrines and practices that form the fundamental organizing principle
of a political state.
3 The basic principles and laws of a nation, state, or social group that determine the
powers and duties of the government and guarantee certain rights to the people.

Text A
The Concept and History of Constitution
The idea of a constitution was first elaborated by Aristotle in his classification
of governments as monarchies, tyrannies, aristocracies, oligarchies, democracies, and
so on. For Aristotle, the best form of government – the best constitution – was that
which combined elements of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy in such a way
that the citizens of every class were enabled to enjoy their respective privileges and
encouraged to exercise their respective responsibilities in the interest of the whole
A constitution, to be worthy of the name, must contain provisions for certain
political attributes: stability, both of form and of procedure; yet, on the other hand,
adaptability to the social, economic, technological, and other changes that are
inevitable in the life of a state; accountability of those in power to some other organ
of the state, such as an electorate; representation of the governed within the
government; openness in the conduct of government; and division of power among
distinct branches of government. Constitutional government is thus limited
government, and it is a chief function of a constitution to serve as the standard of
legitimacy by which governments may be judged.
In its wider sense, the term “constitution” means the whole scheme whereby a
country is governed; and this includes much else besides law. The constitutional
lawyer must constantly keep glancing backward into constitutional history; he must
also keep his eye on current political practice and the day-to-day working of political
institutions. In its narrower sense, “constitution” means the leading legal rules,
usually collected into some document that comes to be almost venerated as “The
Constitution.” But no country’s constitution can ever be compressed within the
compass of one document, and even where the attempt has been made, it is necessary
to consider the extralegal rules, customs, and conventions that grow up around the
formal document.
accountability n ответственность, подотчетность
adaptability n приспособляемость, способность к приспособлению
attribute n атрибут, неотъемлемое свойство, символ, отличительная черта
branch n ветвь, отрасль, отделение; branches of government «ветви» власти
compass n предел, граница; within the compass of… в пределах…
compress v сдавливать, сжимать
conduct n поведение, руководство
convention n условность, обычай
custom n обычай, привычка
day-to-day adj повседневный
distinct adj ясный, отчетливый, определенный
elaborate v детально/тщательно разрабатывать или обдумывать, вырабатывать
electorate n избиратели
enable v давать (кому-л.) возможность или право (что-л. сделать)
encourage v вселять мужество, надежду; воодушевлять
exercise v осуществлять, применять, использовать
extralegal adj не подпадающий под действие закона, не предусмотренный
govern v управлять, руководить; (the) governed n те, кем управляют/руководят
government n государственная власть, правительство
grow up v создаваться, возникать (об обычаях и т.п.)
inevitable adj неизбежный, неминуемый
judge v судить, делать вывод
keep glancing backward продолжать оглядываться назад
keep one’s eye on не спускать глаз с чего-л., неотступно следить за чем-л.
legitimacy n законность (власти )
monarchy n монархия
oligarchy n олигархия
privilege n привилегия, преимущество; enjoy privilege пользоваться
provision n положение, условие (закона), постановление
representation n представительство
respective adj соответственный, соответствующий (чему-л.)
responsibility n ответственность, обязанность, обязательство
tyranny n тирания, деспотизм
venerate v чтить, преклоняться
whereby adv посредством чего, с помощью которой
worthy adj достойный, заслуживающий

Reading tasks

A Answer these questions.

1 Who was the first person to introduce the idea of a constitution?
2 What kind of government did Aristotle consider to be the best?
3 What political provisions must a true constitution contain?
4 Why is constitutional government limited?
5 What is a chief function of a constitution?
6 What does the term “constitution” mean in a narrower sense and a wider sense?

B Find in the text the English equivalents for the following words and expressions.
1 законность
2 в пределах единого документа
3 не предусмотренный законом
4 неизбежные изменения
5 осуществлять правление
6 подотчетность
7 пользоваться привилегиями
8 разделение власти
9 тщательно разрабатывать/развивать идею

С Mark these statements T (true) or F (false) according to the information in the

1 The idea of a constitution was first elaborated by English philosophers.
2 People’s interests didn’t play great role in Aristotle’s view of the best form of
government and the best constitution.
3 A constitution must be adaptable to changes occurring in the life of a
4 Accountability of those in power to an electorate is one of the necessary
provisions of a constitution.
5 Division of power among distinct branches of government is unnecessary in a
democratic society.
6 A constitution is a kind of scheme whereby a country is governed.
7 The constitution of any country can be compressed within the compass of one

Language focus
Complete these sentences with the past simple passive form of the verbs in brackets.
Did you know …?
1 The concept of a constitution ___________(elaborate) by Aristotle.
2 A lot of elements __________(combine) in the best form of government.
3 The citizens of every class __________(encourage) to exercise their
respective responsibilities in the interest of the whole society.
4 Governments __________(judge) by a constitution as the standard of
5 The term “constitution” meant the whole scheme whereby a country
6 No attempts _________(make) to compress the constitution within the
compass of one document.

Text B
Characteristics of Constitutions
Every state has a constitution, since every state functions on the basis of certain
rules and principles. It has often been asserted that the United States has a written
constitution but that the constitution of Great Britain is unwritten. This is true, but
only in the sense that in the United States there is a formal document called the
Constitution, whereas there is no such document in Great Britain. In fact, however,
many parts of the British Constitution exist in written form, whereas important
aspects of the American Constitution are wholly unwritten. Written constitutions can
concern themselves exclusively or prevalently with the organization of government or
deal extensively with the rights of people and with the goals of governmental action.
Written constitutions are said to be “normative” when their binding principles
are more or less all observed in the actual operations of the political system. This
applies to the Constitutions of the United States, Canada, and of some western
European countries. Other constitutions are said to be “nominal,” because they are
largely or in substantial parts disregarded and do not provide insight into the real
functioning of the system. This is often the case with constitutions of rapidly
developing countries and of countries ruled by a one-person or a one-party
Constitutions, written or unwritten, must be distinguished according to whether
they are “rigid” or “flexible.” Rigid are those constitutions at least some part of which
cannot be modified in ordinary legislative way. Flexible are those whose rules can all
be modified through the simple procedure by which statutes are enacted. The United
States has a rigid constitution, because proposals to amend the constitutional
document adopted in 1788 can only be added through a complex procedure of
majority vote in each house of Congress. Great Britain has a flexible constitution
because all of its constitutional institutions and rules can be modified by an act of

act n акт, закон, постановление; act of Parliament постановление парламента
amend v вносить поправки, изменения, дополнения (в конституцию, закон и
binding adj обязательный, обязывающий; binding principles обязательные
dictatorship n диктатура; one-party dictatorship однопартийная диктатура
disregard v не принимать во внимание, игнорировать, не обращать внимания
enact v предписывать, постановлять; принимать, вводить в действие (закон),
устанавливать в законодательном порядке
enactment n издание, принятие (закона); законодательный акт, закон, указ,
статут, постановление (законодательной власти), статья закона
exclusively adv исключительно, единственно, только
extensively adv пространно, обширно, широко, экстенсивно
flexible adj гибкий, маневренный, подвижный
goal n цель, задача
house of Congress палата Конгресса США
insight (into) n проникновение в суть чего-л., способность проникновения в
modify v модифицировать, видоизменять; modify the rules видоизменять
правила/нормы права
nominal adj номинальный, условный, символический
normative adj нормативный
observe v соблюдать (правила, обычаи, принципы)
operation n действие, работа, функционирование
prevalently adv общепринято, во многих случаях, главным образом
rapidly developing countries быстро развивающиеся страны
rigid adj жесткий, строгий, неукоснительный
rule n правило, норма права, постановление, предписание, приказ
statute n статут, законодательный акт
substantial adj значительный, основной, главный, реально существующий
vote n голос, право голоса; голосование, число голосов, вотум, решение;
majority vote решение большинством голосов; большинство голосов
written constitution писаная конституция; unwritten constitution неписаная

Reading tasks
A Answer these questions.
1 Why is it necessary for every state to have a constitution?
2 What type of constitutions do the United States and Great Britain have?
3 What are the characteristic features of existing constitutions?
4 What examples from the text illustrate these features?

B Complete the following sentences according to the information in the text.
1 The USA has a written constitution but the constitution of Great Britain is … .
2 In “normative” constitutions binding principles are … .
3 “Nominal” constitutions do not provide … .
4 If at least some part of the constitution … .
5 In “flexible” constitutions rules can all be modified through … .

Language focus
A Translate the following expressions into Russian paying special attention to the
present participle.
1 leading documents
2 statutes dealing with the structure of the courts
3 developing countries
4 constitutions existing in European countries
5 providing insight
6 modifying rules

B Open the brackets putting the verbs in the Present Perfect active or passive form.
One of the reasons for having special constitutional laws is to prevent
governments from becoming too powerful and from interfering too much in the lives
of individuals. Whereas socialist legal systems 1) ________ (tend) to try to define
exactly what the state allowed citizens to do, Anglo-American law 2) _______
(concern) with defining what the state could do, arguing that citizens are entitled to
do everything other than that which the state forbids. As a check upon overpowerful
government most modern constitutions 3) _______ (adopt) the principle of separation
of powers, developed in the 18th century by the French political philosopher
Many presidents 4) ______ (have) important policies blocked by Congress.
The Supreme Court (judiciary) has the task of interpreting laws which 5) _______
(dispute) in lower courts, and of deciding whether a law passed by Congress or by
one of the individual states is in keeping with the Constitution.

Vocabulary tasks
A Match the following English expressions with their Russian equivalents.
1 act of Parliament a обязательные принципы
2 operations of political system b решение большинством голосов
3 amend the constitutional document c действия политической системы
4 deal with the rights of people d обычный законодательный путь
5 majority vote e вносить поправки в текст конституции
6 one-party dictatorship f быстро развивающиеся страны
7 modify the rules g видоизменять правовые нормы
8 binding principles h постановление парламента
9 ordinary legislative way i иметь дело с правами человека
10 rapidly developing countries j однопартийная диктатура

B Complete the text with an appropriate preposition from the box.

above against among by for

in of on within

There are also laws which enable citizens to take legal action 1) ______ the
state – against, for example, a public authority or even against the government itself.
These actions are part of constitutional law.
As knowledge of the law has increased 2) ______ the general public, so have
the number and range of constitutional law cases.
A constitution is the political and ideological structure 3) ______ which a
system 4) ______ laws operates. Most countries have a formal written constitution
describing how laws are to be made and enforced. The French Constitution, for
example, sets a seven year term of office 5)_____ the president; the US Constitution
sets a four year term. In Switzerland, a referendum (national vote) must be held 6)
______ any issue for which a petition signed 7) ______ 10,000 people has been
gathered; in Ireland, referenda are to be used only in the case of changes in the
constitution itself. 8) ______ Germany, a change in the constitution requires a special
majority vote in parliament, not the simple majority necessary for other laws. Many
other countries put the constitution 9) _______ other laws by making it difficult to

Over to you
For discussion:
Can a person or society as a whole live without any constitution? Are there any
examples of this?

Unit 6 British Constitution

Before you read

Discuss these questions.
1 Are constitutions usually invented by people or are they based upon some existing
2 Do you know any statutes which are considered to be the sources of the British
3 Can you dwell upon the peculiarities of the British Constitution?

The Nature of the Constitution

In England there is no one document or fundamental body of law that can be
described as a “constitution”. The absence of any such document or of any distinction
between public and private law has led to the suggestion that there is no constitution
in England. Certainly the English constitution has no existence apart from the
ordinary law; it is indeed part of that very law. The Magna Carta, the Petition of
Right, the Habeas Corpus Act, the Bill of Rights, and the Act of Settlement are the
leading enactments; but they are in no sense a constitutional code; and, without a host
of judicial decisions, other statutes of much less importance, and a mass of custom
and convention, these statutes would be unworkable.
The sources of English constitutional law are statutes, judicial precedent,
textbooks, law books, the writings of historians and political theorists, the
biographies and autobiographies of statesmen, the columns of every serious
newspaper, the minutiae of every type of government record and publication. This is
what is meant by saying the English Constitution is “unwritten”: it is not formally
enacted; its rules have to be sought out in a dozen fields, not in any one code.
Similarly, it is flexible, and here the contrast is with a rigid constitution. There
are no special safeguards for constitutional rules; constitutional law can be changed,
amended, or abolished just like any rule of private law; there is no field in which
Parliament is forbidden to legislate; there are no fundamental or unalterable
ideologies and no procedures to prescribe delay or extra processes for constitutional

Act of Settlement Акт о престолонаследии (1701г.; облек Ганноверскую
династию правом престолонаследия, закрепив английский престол за
apart (from) adv помимо, отлично от, раздельно, обособленно
Bill of Rights Билль о правах (1689г.; был направлен против восстановления
абсолютизма; значительно ограничив власть короны и гарантировав права

парламента, заложил основы английской конституционной монархии; наряду
с другими актами составляет статутарную основу английской
конституционной практики)
code n кодекс, свод законов; constitutional code совокупность норм
конституционного права
delay n задержка, замедление, приостановка
distinction n различение, разграничение, отличие, различие
existence n существование, жизнь
extra adj добавочный, дополнительный; особый, специальный
forbid (forbade, forbad; forbidden) v запрещать, не давать разрешения, не
позволять, не давать возможности, препятствовать
Habeas Corpus Act Закон о неприкосновенности личности (предписывает
представление арестованного в суд в течение установленного срока для
надлежащего судебного разбирательства и установления законности
ареста; принят в 1679г.)
historian n историк
host n множество
judicial adj судебный; judicial precedent судебный прецедент; judicial decision
судебное решение
law n право, закон, юстиция; abolish law отменять закон; amend law вносить
изменения в закон; body of law совокупность правовых норм; constitutional
law конституционное право, государственное право, конституционный закон,
основной закон; private law частное право, частный закон; закон,
действующий в отношении конкретных лиц; public law публичное право,
публичный закон (закон, касающийся всего населения)
law-book n кодекс, свод законов
legislate v издавать законы, осуществлять законодательную власть
minutiae n.pl. лат. мелочи, детали
Magna C(h)arta Великая хартия вольностей (грамота, подписанная в 1215г.
королем Иоанном Безземельным под давлением восставших баронов;
ограничивала королевскую власть и предоставляла более широкие права
крупным феодалам; основной массе английского народа – крепостному
крестьянству – не дала никаких прав; наряду с другими актами составляет
статутарную основу английской конституционной практики)
mass of custom and convention масса/множество/большое количество обычаев и
Petition of Right Петиция о праве (была представлена палатой общин королю
Карлу I и утверждена им в 1628г.; требовала значительного ограничения
королевской власти; закрепляла роль и права парламента и судов;
программный документ буржуазии в канун Английской буржуазной
революции 17в.; ограждала собственность буржуазии от посягательств
prescribe v предписывать
record n запись, письменное упоминание
safeguard n гарантия
seek out (sought) v разыскать, отыскать
similarly adv подобным образом, так же
statesman n государственный/политический деятель, политик
suggestion n вероятное или возможное обстоятельство, предположение, намек,
theorist n теоретик
unalterable adj неизменный, непреложный, не допускающий перемен,
unworkable adj непригодный для работы
writing n произведение (литературное), сочинение, документ

Reading tasks
A Answer these questions.
1 What is the structure of the British Constitution?
2 Why is the British Constitution considered to be flexible?
3 What are the sources of English constitutional law?
4 What is the difference between written and unwritten constitutions?
5 In your opinion, how can mass media participate in developing the British

B Mark these statements T(true) or F(false) according to the information in the text.
1 The English Constitution has nothing to do with the ordinary law.
2 The Magna Carta is not a constitutional code.
3 The sources of English Constitution are unknown.
4 The English Constitution is formally enacted.
5 There is a sharp difference between the English Constitution and a rigid
6 The English constitutional law can never be changed.

Language focus
A Put the verb into the form of the past participle.
The British Constitution is the law of Great Britain which provides for the
form and powers of government. It is 1)______(root) in historic traditions and
principles of liberty which go back to the Magna Carta of 1215. Unlike most other
constitutions, the English Constitution is not a systematic 2)______(write) statement
of law. The laws of the Constitution comprise three kinds of rules: statute rules, case
law and custom (especially Parliamentary custom). It is often 3) ______(call) a
customary or unwritten constitution.
As an example, English law makes no provision for such an important feature
of the British government as the Cabinet of Ministers which is now an essential part
of the executive branch of the government. The cabinet originated in the 15 th century
as an advisory body to the king. It has 4) ______(develop) in connection with the rise
of representative government to its present status in the executive branch. Unlike
constitutions that make clear provision for their amendment and are often difficult to
change, the English Constitution may be 5) ______(change) easily. It may be 6)
______(alter), and in the past it has been 7) ______(alter), through the slow addition
to custom, by an act of Parliament, or by judicial interpretation.
Historians emphasize the flexibility of the English Constitution. Its early
development may be 8) ______(trace) back to the Norman Conquest almost 1000
years ago! Throughout this period it remained adaptable and serving the needs of

B Combine the two parts of the sentence using the following connectors:
once, since, unless, whether.
1 There exists a suggestion that there is no constitution in England _______ there is
no one fundamental body of law.
2 The leading enactments would be unworkable _______ they were added by a mass
of judicial decisions and statutes of much less importance.
3 _______ the English Constitution is unwritten you can’t find it in one code.
4 The students inquired _______ textbooks and law could be the sources of the
English Constitution.

Vocabulary tasks
A Match the following English expressions containing the term “law” with the
Russian equivalents.
1 public law a судебное право
2 private law b конституционное право/закон
3 ordinary law c специальный закон
4 constitutional law d публичное право, публичный закон
5 fundamental law e основной закон, основные принципы права
6 judicial law f право, осуществляемое в обычном порядке
7 unwritten law g частное право, частный закон
8 special law h неписаное право

B Choose the correct alternative to complete the sentences.

1 The sources of English constitutional law are:
a Roman law and Napoleon Code
b statutes, judicial precedents, etc.
c the Ten Commandments.
2 The rules of the British Constitution have to be sought out
a in one code
b in a dozen of newspapers and magazines
c in many different fields.
3 The British constitutional law
a can’t be changed
b can be amended
c can’t be described.

4 In England there is no distinction between

a the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights
b a constitutional code and the Act of Settlement
c private and public law.
5 The British Constitution is
a flexible
b written
c rigid.

C Match the terms with their definitions.

1 enactment a previous case taken as example for subsequent cases

2 code b a written law of a legislative body

3 precedent c making ( a bill ) a law

4 statute d systematic collection of statutes, body of laws so arranged as to

avoid inconsistency and overlapping; set of rules on any subject

Over to you
Discuss these points:
1 If you were able to introduce changes into the British Constitution what would you
2 Do you think it is possible to substitute the present–day British Constitution by a
written one?

Unit 7 US Constitution

Before you read

Discuss these questions.
1 Who were the drafters of the US Constitution?
2 How many states were there in the country when the Constitution was written?
3 What method did the drafters of the Constitution provide since they saw that the
future might bring a need for changes?

Founding of the United States

The United States is a federal union of 50 states, with the District of Columbia
as the seat of the national government. The US Constitution outlines the structure of
the national government, specifies its powers and activities, and enumerates and
guarantees the rights of citizens.
A system of government in the USA is, in Lincoln’s words, “of the people, by
the people and for the people.”
The Constitution was drafted by a convention of delegates in 1787 after the
War of Independence and was officially adopted by the thirteen states in 1789 after
much argument, debate and compromise. Over the years 26 amendments have been
added, but the basic document has not been changed: it consists of the preamble and
7 articles.
The Constitution, the oldest still in force in the world, established the United
States as a federal Union of states, a representative democracy within a republic and
set the basic form of government. It divided the powers of the government into three
separate branches, each one having powers (“checks and balances”) over the others.
The branches of the government are: the executive, headed by the President; the
legislative, which includes both houses of Congress (the Senate and the House of
Representatives); and the judicial, which is headed by the Supreme Court. The
Constitution limits the role of each branch to prevent any one branch from gaining
undue power.
The first 10 amendments to the Constitution, called the Bill of Rights, assure
individual rights and freedoms. Added in 1791 they include provisions for freedom of
speech, of the press and of worship; the right of citizens to meet peacefully; the right
to secure in one’s own home against unreasonable searches and seizure of person or
property; and the right of any person charged with breaking the law to have a speedy
trial by a jury of fellow citizens.
The whole system of American government is based on the principles
established in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
According to the Founders of the American state a constitution or higher law
should have the following characteristics:
● It sets forth the basic rights of citizens to life, liberty and property.
● It establishes the responsibility of the government to protect those rights.

● It establishes limitations on how those in government may use their powers
with regard to
- citizens’ rights and responsibilities,
- the distribution of resources,
- the control of conflict.
● It establishes the principle of a private domain – which means that there are
areas of citizens’ lives that are no business of the government and in which
the government cannot interfere.
● It can be changed with the consent of the most citizens. This is how the
Constitution differs from the ordinary law that governments regularly create
and enforce.
Each state has its own constitution. The state constitutions have a similar
structure with the Constitution of the United States. As a rule they include the
preamble, the Bill of Rights, as well as provisions dealing with local interests: the
division of powers, suffrage and elections, taxes and finance, education, etc.

adopt v принимать (закон)
amendment n поправка (к конституции)
argument n дискуссия, спор
article n раздел, статья, пункт, параграф
assure v обеспечивать, гарантировать
Bill of Rights 1 первые десять поправок к конституции США; 2 билль о правах
(в Англии)
branch n ветвь, отрасль; амер. власть
break a law нарушить закон
charge (with) обвинять (в), вменять в вину; возлагать ответственность
checks and balances система «сдержек и противовесов», принцип
взаимоограничения властей (законодательной, исполнительной и судебной)
consent n согласие
convention n съезд, учредительное собрание
District of Columbia округ Колумбия (в США), который полностью занимает
столица США Вашингтон
domain n владение; достояние; private domain частное достояние
draft v составить план /проект/ законопроект
enforce v проводить в жизнь (закон), обеспечивать соблюдение или исполнение;
enforce laws проводить законы в жизнь, следить за соблюдением законов
enumerate v перечислять, подсчитывать
fellow citizen согражданин
force n сила; in force действующий, находящийся в силе (о правовой норме)
Founders (the Founding Fathers) «Отцы–основатели нации», известные
государственные деятели, активные участники Американской революции,
внесшие огромный вклад в создание Декларации Независимости и

Конституции США (Вашингтон, Джефферсон, Франклин, Мэдисон, Адамс,
Гамильтон и др.)
gain v захватывать, завоевывать, добиться, достигать
government n государственное управление, государственная власть,
правительство, правительственный аппарат
head v возглавлять
higher adj высший; higher law высший закон
house n палата (парламента); House of Representatives палата представителей
(нижняя палата конгресса США)
interfere v вмешиваться, вторгаться (в чьи-либо дела)
judicial adj судебный
jury n присяжные (заседатели), состав присяжных; суд присяжных
limitation n ограничение
Lincoln Авраам Линкольн, 16 й президент США (1861-1865гг.)
meet v собираться, встречаться
outline v обрисовать, наметить в общих чертах, нарисовать контур, очерчивать,
сделать набросок
power n право, полномочие
preamble n преамбула, вводная часть
prevent v препятствовать. не допускать
protect v защищать, охранять
provision n положение, условие, постановление
representative adj типичный
responsibility n ответственность
restrain v ограничивать, пресекать
right n право
searches and seizures право (представителей государственной власти)
производить обыски и выемки
seat n местонахождение
secure v гарантировать, обеспечивать безопасность
Senate n Сенат (верхняя палата конгресса США)
set v устанавливать, определять, назначать; set forth излагать, формулировать
specify v точно определять
speedy adj быстрый, скорый
state n штат; государство; American state американское государство
suffrage n избирательное право
Supreme Court Верховный Суд (федеральный и в большинстве штатов США)
trial n судебное разбирательство, судебный процесс
undue adj чрезмерный
union n союз (государственное объединение); the Union (амер.) Соединенные
unreasonable adj неоправданный, необоснованный, чрезмерный, непомерный
War of Independence (Revolutionary War) (амер. ист.) война за независимость
(1775-1783 гг.)
with regard to относительно, в отношении, что касается
worship n вероисповедание

Reading tasks
A Answer these questions.
1 Where is the seat of the national government in the USA?
2 What does the US Constitution outline?
3 How did Lincoln characterize a system of government in the USA?
4 When and by whom was the US Constitution adopted?
5 Has it remained unchanged over the years?
6 Why did the Constitution divide power into three branches?
7 What is the role of the Bill of Rights?
8 How does the Constitution differ from the ordinary law?
9 What do you think about the peculiarities of the US Constitution?

B Mark these statements T(true) or F(false) according to the information in the text.
1 The Constitution establishes the responsibility of the government to protect the
basic rights of people to life, liberty and property.
2 The drafters of the Constitution saw that the future might bring a need for
changes, that is why they provided a method of adding amendments.
3 The Bill of Rights abolished slavery and guaranteed universal suffrage.
4 Adopted in 1787, the Constitution was finally ratified in a year.
5 The system of checks and balances gives each branch the means to restrain the
other two.
6 Under the Constitution power was further divided among ten branches of the
national government.

Language focus
A Use an appropriate word or phrase from the box to complete each sentence.
13 states convention written constitution
brief document 26 amendments Founding Fathers
checks and balances branches War of Independence

1 A good example of a __________ is the Constitution of the Unites States.

2 It is a relatively __________ of some 12 pages.
3 The constitutional __________ which was to adopt a new constitution,
officially opened on May 25, 1787, in Philadelphia.
4 The 55 delegates who drafted the Constitution included most of the
outstanding leaders or __________.
5 George Washington, the Military hero of the __________, was the presiding
6 Under the Constitution power was further divided among the three
__________ of the national government.
7 These three powers established a so-called system of __________.
8 When the Constitution was written in 1787, there were only __________.
9 Over the past 200 years __________ have been adopted.

B Complete these sentences with the past simple active or passive form of the verb.
When the Constitution first 1)______(propose) and adopted, there was
widespread dissatisfaction of the American people, because it 2)______(not to
contain) guarantees of certain basic freedoms and individual rights. It also
3)______(recognize) slavery and 4) _______(not to establish) universal suffrage.
Only in 1791, under the strong popular pressure, the Congress 5) ______(force) to
adopt the first ten amendments to the Constitution dealing with civil liberties. They
6) ______(call) collectively the “Bill of Rights”.
Since the Bill of Rights 7) ______(adopt), 16 other amendments have been
added to the Constitution.
Adopted in 1787, the Constitution 8) ______(ratify) and 9) ______(come) into
force on March 4, 1789.

C Fill in the gaps with one of the modal verbs: can, may, must, cannot, may not.
Under the Constitution, no member of one branch of government 1) _____ be a
member of the two others. The President of the United States is not and 2) _______
be, a member of Congress (the legislative branch). Any member of Congress who
wishes to become President of the United States 3) _____ resign from that body
before accepting the Presidency (Gerald Ford resigned from Congress in 1975 on
becoming President). At the same time the President 4) _____ or 5) ______ be, a
member of the political party with a majority in Congress. No member of the
Government (the executive branch) with the exception of the Vice President (who
presides over the Senate) 6) ____ also be a member of Congress.

Vocabulary tasks
A Find in the text the English equivalents for the following expressions.
1 принять конституцию
2 добавить поправки
3 ветви государственной власти
4 обеспечить права и свободы
5 обвиненный в нарушении закона
6 съезд делегатов
7 структура государственной власти
8 гарантировать права жителей
9 достичь чрезмерной власти
10 не дело правительства

B Match the terms with their definitions.
1 system of checks and balances a a system or body of fundamental principles
to which a nation or state is constituted and
governed by
2 convention b constitutional amendments of 1791
3 constitution c general conference devoted to a special
4 preamble d a preliminary copy of a document
5 amendment e a mechanism to control the abuse of power
6 the Bill of Rights f body of persons sworn to render verdict on
question submitted to them in court of
7 jury g added article in the US Constitution
8 draft h the introductory part of a document

C Complete the sentence with the best answer (a, b, or c) according to the
information in the text.
1 Adopted in 1787, the Constitution was finally ratified and came into force
a in 1788 c in 1790.
b in 1789
2 Many people contributed to writing the Constitution, though one of the three great
is regarded as the father of the Constitution:
a George Washington c Alexander Hamilton.
b James Madison
3 The Constitution provided that federal laws would be made only by
a the Government c the Congress.
b the Supreme Court
4 The drafters of the Constitution saw that the future might bring a need for
changes, that’s why they provided
a a method of adding amendments
b the power to veto acts passed by the Congress
c the evolution of governmental institutions.
5 The system of checks and balances was established in order
a to check whether all the bills become law
b to balance the political forces during elections
c to give each branch of government the means to restrain the other two.

Over to you.
For discussion:
1 Compare the Bill of Rights in England and the Bill of Rights in the USA.
2 Speak on the adaptability of the American Constitution to new conditions, its
stability and the role it played in the history of the USA and some other countries.
Unit 8 The Constitution of the Russian Federation

Before you read

Discuss these questions.
1 Have you read the current Russian Constitution?
Can you compare it with the former one?
2 What was the reason of changing the Constitution in Russia during the 20 th
3 Can you give any examples of the “work” of the Russian Constitution?
4 Is there any need for a constitutional reform in Russia at present?

The New Russian Constitution

The Constitution of the Russian Federation is the supreme normative legal act,
holding the highest juridical power, superiority, and direct action on the Russian
territory. All laws and other legal acts adopted in Russia must comply with the
The Russian Federation enacted the Constitution on 12 December 1993. The
Russian Constitution, approved by the state referendum, is the basis of the Russian
constitutional law and the most important source of domestic law. The Constitution
provides for a federal state and introduces the concept of separation of powers. The
Constitution provides for the separation of executive, legislative and judicial power.
The legislature is structured as a parliament. The main legislative body, the Federal
Assembly, is composed of two chambers – the Federation Council (the upper house)
and the State Duma (the lower house). The Constitution deals with such matters as
the national territory, the President, the Legislature, the Executive, the Judiciary of
the Russian Federation and, of course, the fundamental rights.
It is commonly said, that the executive branch consists of the President, elected
directly by people for a four-year term, and the Government. However, the President
of the Russian Federation states separate to the executive power. The President is the
guarantee of the Constitution and possesses some executive, legislative and judicial
Amendments to the Constitution
The Government is responsible before the President and is headed by a Head
of the Government (unofficially called a Prime-Minister), who is nominated by the
President and confirmed by the State Duma.
The Russian Constitution is a rigid Constitution as to the complex procedure of
adopting the amendments to the Constitution. The Federal Law No. 33-FZ On
the Procedure for the Approval and Entry Into Force of the Amendments to the
Constitution of the Russian Federation, dated 4 March 1998, together with the
Constitution establishes the procedure and conditions for making, adopting and
approving amendments, as well as their entry into force. The Constitution cannot be
altered by the State Duma alone. The Constitution can be amended as follows:
 Every proposal for an amendment must be initiated by the President of the
Russian Federation, by the Federation Council, by the State Duma, by the
Government of the Russian Federation, by legislative bodies of the subjects of
the Russian Federation and by the group of not less than 1/5 deputies of the
Federation Council and the State Duma.
 The Constitution provides that Bases of the Constitutional Principles,
Rights and Obligations of People and Amendments to the Constitution and
Revision of the Constitution cannot be changed by the Federal Assembly (both
the State Duma and the Federation Council). In the event a proposal to revise
any of the above provisions is supported by three-fifths of the total number of
deputies of the Federation Council and the State Duma, a Constitutional
Assembly shall be convened in accordance with the federal constitutional law.
The Constitutional Assembly may either confirm the inviolability of the
Constitution of the Russian Federation or develop a new draft of the
Constitution of the Russian Federation, which shall be adopted by two-thirds of
the total number of deputies to the Constitutional Assembly or submitted to
referendum. The Constitution of the Russian Federation shall be considered
adopted during such poll if more than half of its participants have voted for it,
provided more than half of the electorate has taken part in the poll.
 Any other provision of the Constitution may be amended whether by variation,
addition or repeal.
Certain modifications in the names of the subjects of the Russian Federation
were brought in by the Decrees of the President of the Russian Federation, dated 9
January 1996, 10 February 1996 and 9 June 2001. The Ruling of the Constitutional
Court of the Russian Federation No. 15-P, dated 28 November 1995, empowered the
President of the Russian Federation to adopt decrees on changing the names of the
subjects of the Russian Federation, that is to be based on the decision of the
correspondent subject of the Russian Federation.

amend v вносить поправку, изменение, дополнение (в конституцию)
amendment n поправка (к конституции)
approval n одобрение, утверждение, санкционирование
chapter n глава (конституции)
alter v изменить, изменять(ся)
comply with v соответствовать (чему-либо)
confirm v 1 подтверждать; 2 утверждать, санкционировать
Constitutional Assembly Конституционное Собрание
convene v созывать, собирать
decree n декрет, указ
domestic law внутреннее/внутригосударственное право
draft n проект
electorate n контингент избирателей, избирательный корпус, электорат
empower v уполномочивать, предоставлять право
enact v принимать (закон)
entry into force вступление в силу
Federal Assembly Федеральное Собрание – парламент Российской Федерации
(представительный и законодательный орган)
Federal Council Совет Федерации (Верхняя палата парламента Российской
inviolability n неприкосновенность
juridical adj юридический, законный, правовой
nominative adj назначенный
poll n голосование
provide for v предусматривать
provided conj при условии (что), если только, в том случае если
provision n положение, постановление
repeal n аннулирование, отмена
rigid adj строгий, суровый, неукоснительный
ruling n решение, постановление, определение (суда)
state v 1 утверждать; 2 устанавливать
State Duma Государственная Дума (Нижняя палата парламента Российской
stipulate v обусловливать, оговаривать в качестве особого условия
submit v представлять на рассмотрение
superiority n превосходство, преимущество
variation n изменение, перемена

Reading tasks
A Answer these questions.
1 Why is the Constitution of the Russian Federation the supreme normative legal act?
2 When was the Constitution enacted?
3 What does the Constitution introduce?
4 What matters does the Constitution deal with?
5 What does the executive branch consist of?
6 What powers does the President possess?
7 Who is the Government responsible to?
8 Why is the Russian Constitution called rigid?
9 How can the Constitution be altered?
10 Who can initiate a proposal for an amendment?
11 When is a Constitutional Assembly convened?
12 What is the procedure of the modification in the name of the subject of the
Russian Federation?
B Decide which of the statements (a, b, or c) corresponds exactly to the meaning of
the text and best completes the sentence.
1 The Constitution of the Russian Federation is the supreme normative act
a) it is approved by the President
b) it deals with many matters
c) it holds the highest juridical power.
2 The Constitution provides for
a) the modification in the name of the citizen of the Russian Federation
b) the separation of powers
c) the nomination of the President of the Russian Federation.
3 The Constitution can be altered
a) by the Federal Assembly
b) by the President
c) by the Constitutional Assembly.
4 A new draft of the Constitution of the Russian Federation shall be adopted
a) by-two thirds of the deputies to the Constitutional Assembly
b) by-two fifths of the electorate
c) by-two thirds taking part in the poll.
5 The President is empowered to adopt decrees on changing the names of the
subjects of the Russian Federation on the basis of
a) the ruling of the Constitutional Assembly
b) the decisions of the subjects of the Russian Federation
c) his own decision.

Language focus
A Put the verbs in brackets into the Present Simple active or passive form.
1 The Russian Federation _______ (consist) of republics, territories, regions,
cities of federal importance, and autonomous regions and areas.
2 The federal structure of the Russian Federation _______ (base) on its integrity.
3 The Russian Federation is a social state whose policy _______ (aim) at creating
conditions for a worthy life.
4 Everyone _______ (guarantee) the right to qualified legal assistance.
5 The state _______ (provide) access to justice for victims of crimes.
6 The economic activity aimed at monopolization and unfair competition
_______ (not to allow).
7 A citizen _______ (carry out) military service according to the federal law.
8 The state flag, coat-of-arms and anthem of the Russian Federation _______
(establish) by the federal constitutional law.
B Complete these sentences using an appropriate preposition from the box.
after about between before by for
from in of on to with without

1 The State Duma consists _______ 450 deputies.

2 The status of the capital is determined _______ the federal law.
3 The border _______ the subjects of the Russian Federation may be changed
upon their mutual consent.
4 The Russian language is a state language _______ the whole territory of the
Russian Federation.
5 The Russian Federation guarantees to all its people the right to preserve their
native language and to create conditions _______ its study and development.
6 The Russian Federation may participate _______ interstate associations.
7 Any citizen of the Russian Federation not younger than 35 years of age and
_______ a permanent residence record in the Russian Federation of not less
than 10 years may be elected the President of the Russian Federation.
8 The proposal on the candidate to the post of the Chairman of the Government
of the Russian Federation is submitted not later than two weeks _______ the
resignation of the Government.
9 The Chairman of the Government may raise _______ the State Duma the issue
of confidence to the Government.
10 The collection, keeping, use and dissemination of information _______ the
private life of a person is not allowed without his or her consent.
11 The Council of the Federation elects _______ among its deputies the
Chairman of the Council of the Federation.
12 No one may be subject to medical, scientific or other experiment _______
voluntary consent.
13 Citizens of the Russian Federation have the right to freely return _______ the
Russian Federation.

Vocabulary tasks
A Below are the main chapter titles from the Russian Constitution. Link the titles to
the details of the contents of each chapter.
1 The Fundamentals of the a When taking office the President of the Russian
Constitutional System Federation shall take the oath of loyalty to the
2 Rights and Freedoms of b Changes in borders of the areas in which local
Man and Citizen self-government is administered shall be made
with the consideration of the opinion of the
population of the corresponding areas.
3 The Federal Structure c Everyone shall have the right to freedom and
personal immunity.
4 The President of the d In case of a referendum the Constitution of the
Russian Federation Russian Federation shall be considered adopted, if
over half of the voters who came to the polls,
supported it and under the condition that over half
of the electorate participated in the referendum.
5 The Federal Assembly e The parliament of the Russian Federation shall be
representative and legislative body… .
6 The Government of the f The Russian Federation … is a democratic federal
Russian Federation law-bound State with a republican form of
7 Judicial power g The courts shall be financed only from the federal
8 Local Self-Government h The territory of the Russian Federation shall
include the territories of its subjects, inland waters
and territorial sea, and the air space over them.
9 Constitutional i Not later than a week after appointment the
Amendments and Review Chairman of the Government of the Russian
of the Constitution Federation shall submit to the President of the
Russian Federation proposals on the structure of
the federal bodies of executive power.

B Match adjectives and nouns as they occur in the text.

1 legislative a act
2 complex b power
3 legal c referendum
4 fundamental d law
5 juridical e body
6 total f house
7 state g rights
8 rigid h Constitution
9 upper i procedure
10 domestic j number
C Word families. Complete the chart.
verb noun
introduce –––
––– separation
provide –––
––– government
nominate –––
––– procedure
––– amendment
stipulate –––
––– addition
––– proposal
verb noun
initiate –––
convene –––
develop –––
––– adoption
Over to you ––– participant
––– electorate
Below is the Preamble to the
––– modification
Russian Constitution. Judging by the
rule –––
contents of the Preamble and the
Constitution of the Russian Federation decide –––
can you say that the Russian Constitution adheres to the democratic principles?
Justify your idea.

Preamble to the Constitution of the Russian Federation

We, the multinational people of the Russian Federation, united by a common
fate on our land, establishing human rights and freedoms, civil peace and accord,
preserving the historically established State unity, proceeding from universally
acknowledged principles of equality and self-determination of peoples, revering
the memory of ancestors who have passed on to us their love for the Fatherland
and faith in the good and justice, reviving the sovereign statehood of Russia and
asserting the firmness of its democratic basis, striving to ensure the well-being and
prosperity of Russia, proceeding from the responsibility for our Fatherland before
the present and future generations, recognizing ourselves as part of the world


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