Saturday, 29 March 2014

From Courtroom to Classroom

Watching all these cool people on tv with wigs, banging their fists on the desk in the name of justice felt great but I discovered (5 years later) that wanting to be a lawyer is a lot more fun than being one. Maybe it was just me, but I didn’t fancy it any longer. Hmmm something else then?

I had a friend who had tried teaching English in the Czech Republic but actually didn't like it that much. Despite the poor critique I decided that for a change (maybe short term, maybe not) I'd do a TEFL course and start teaching English as a foreign language. How hard can it be to just speak in my own language all day? I realised quickly that was very, very difficult.

The lessons were fun. It wasn’t specific to legal English but it was fun and introduced me to the world of language learning. I had a few shocks too, though. I had never realised how complicated our (English) language was and just how much effort it takes for a foreigner to learn it. There is a common feeling that English native speakers do not make the effort to learn foreign languages because we don’t really need to. I agree to a point and because we don’t generally bother learning them, we don’t appreciate how much work it takes to learn a foreign language properly.

Grade your language when you speak to the students please” the TEFL teacher asked me.

I quickly discovered that only using easy words is not so easy…..

5 minutes later “Ahem, Grade your language”.

“Even more?” I asked.

if your students don’t understand you, what is the point of you being there?”

An obvious statement, but one that has stuck. The lessons came and went and I slowly began to get the hang of it. It was fun, frustrating, tiring, inspiring. One thing it wasn’t, was easy.

The change from being a lawyer was big. No suits, no claim forms, no timesheets. Just a full classroom of strangers waiting for you to talk to them. Not much less intimidating that a courtroom to be honest.

The road had begun. The students were friendly and demanding.  It was difficult but different and you felt that warm feeling that you were actually helping. You soon learnt what the students want and what they don’t want.  Every student is different, but they all want to learn something new. Don’t we all.

Legal English Question Time: 29th March 2014

Happy Saturday ! Legal English Question Time: What is the standard of proof of liability for a claim in a civil court:

a) to be sure of liability
b) beyond reasonable doubt
c) majority vote of judges/jury
d) on the balance of probabilities

As always, all answers, comments, questions and shares are welcome :)

Have a lovely weekend all.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Answer to Quiz on 22 March 2014

The answer to Saturday's quiz is b) harassment. Well done to everyone who got it right. Here is our definition taken from our book "Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution: Vocabulary Series":

Harassment (noun): This means that one person or a group of people are acting in an unpleasant, threatening or disturbing way. To threaten means to force someone to do something that they do not want to do and if they do not do it then they will be punished. In civil litigation and dispute resolution, harassment usually happens in two main areas. The first area is at work and is covered by employment law, the second is sexual harassment which is also a criminal offence. An important thing to note in legal English is that in some countries the term “mobbing” is used to describe harassment. Please be careful if you wish to use this term as it is not common in legal English in this context. Associated Words: Dispute Resolution (noun).

Please feel free to share with friends and colleagues :)

Have a wonderful week everyone !

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Legal English Quiz Time: 22 March 2014

Hi Everyone. Quiz Time ! What legal English word do we use for unpleasant and threatening behaviour towards someone else. It's very common in the workplace:

a) discrimination
b) harassment
c) assault
d) offence

All answers, shares and comments welcome. Plus please visit our Amazon bookstore if you have time. Paperbacks and e-books available :)

Legal English Books on Amazon

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Answer to quiz on 15 March 2014

The answer to yesterday's quiz is a) Bench. Well done to everyone who got it right. For those who weren't quite so sure, here is our definition from our book "The English Legal System: Vocabulary Series".

Bench (noun): This word is used to describe where judges sit in the court room. Historically, judges would sit on actual wooden benches and so the word was adopted for this meaning. It is also used in an abstract sense to describe a group of judges (“members of the bench”). Associated Word: Judge (person).

All our titles are available in hardcopy and ebook on Amazon:

Have a wonderful Sunday :)  More questions next week.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Legal English: Test your knowledge

Legal English Quiz Time ! What is the name of the place where a judge (or judges) sit in the courtroom?  The same word can also be used to describe the group of judges who sit there:

a) Bench
b) Gallery
c) Board
d) Chair

All comments, shares and questions welcome as usual. If you have a free moment, please have a look at our ebook and print book selection on Amazon:

Have a lovely weekend all !

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Answer to legal English quiz - 9th March 2014

The answer to Sunday's quiz is:

c) Particulars of Claim

Here is our definition from our book "Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution: Vocabulary Series" available on Amazon at

Particulars of Claim (noun): This document is a longer version of the claim form that the claimant issues at court. The particulars of claim are for claims that are more complicated or need a more detailed explanation. Associated Words: Claim (noun), Claimant (noun), Claim Form (noun), To Issue at Court (collocation).

More quizzes soon ! 

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Quiz Time: 9th March 2014 :)

Quiz time ! In the English legal system, what is the name of the long version of the claim form?  This is the document used to state the claimants arguments in full:

a) Affadavit
b) Submission of Claim
c) Particulars of Claim
d) Writ

All answers, shares and comments welcome. Have a lovely Sunday everyone!