The Court System of the USA

Module 4

The Court System and types of legal professions in European countries and the USA

Words and Phrases for the Topic:

Solicitor – адвокат по назначению, юрист-консультант, адвокат обвинения

Barrister – адвокат, имеющий право выступать в высших судах

To prepare legal documents – подготовить юридические документы

To make wills – оформлять завещание

to wear wigs and gowns – носить парик и мантию

Jury – суд присяжных

evidence – доказательство в суде, свидетельские показания

guilty – виновный

innocent – невиновный

Magistrate – мировой судья

Coroner – коронер

Legal matter – судебное дело

Magistrate’s court – мировой суд

The Crown Court – Суд Короны

County Courts – суды графств

Civil case – гражданское дело

Criminal case – уголовное дело

Court of Appeal – Апелляционный суд

Petition – прошение, петиция

Juvenile Court – Суд по делам несовершеннолетних

Administrative tribunal – административный суд

To investigate – расследовать

To fall under jurisdiction – попадать под юрисдикцию

To sue – подавать иск

To resolve a case – решить дело в судебном порядке


The Court System of England and Wales

Read the text and say why the court system in England and Wales is complex.

The most common type of law court in England and Wales is the magistrates’ court. There are 700 magistrates’ courts and about 30.000 magistrates.

More serious criminal cases then go to the Crown Court, which has 90 branches in different towns and cities. Civil cases (for example, divorce or bankruptcy cases) are dealt with in County courts.

Appeals are heard by higher courts. For example, appeals from magistrates’ courts are heard in the Crown court, unless they are appeals on points of law. The highest court of appeal in England and Wales is the House of Lords. Certain cases may be referred to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. In addition, individuals have made the British government change its practices in a number of areas as a result of petitions to the European Court of Human Rights.

The legal system also includes juvenile courts which deal with offenders under seventeen and coroners’ courts which investigate violent, sudden or unnatural deaths. There are administrative tribunals which make quick, cheap and fair decisions with much less formality. Tribunals deal with professional standards, disputes between individuals, and disputes between individuals and government departments (for example, over taxation).


The Court System of the USA

Read the text and say what difference is between state and federal courts in the USA.

The American court system is complex. It functions as part of the federal government system. Each state runs its own court system, and no two are identical. In addition, they have a system of courts for the national government. These federal courts coexist with the state courts.

Individuals fall under the jurisdiction of two different court systems, their state courts and federal courts. They can sue or be sued in either system, depending mostly on what their case is about. The vast majority of cases are resolved in the state courts.

The federal courts are organized in three tiers, like a pyramid. At the bottom of the pyramid are the US district courts, where litigation begins. In the middle are the US courts of appeals. At the top is the US Supreme Court. To appeal means to take a case to a higher court. The courts of appeals and the Supreme court are appellate courts, with few exceptions, they review cases that have been decided in lower courts. Most federal courts hear and decide a wide array of cases; the judges in these courts are known as generalists.

1. Give Russian equivalents of the following:

The most common type, branch, divorce, bankruptcy, higher courts, are heard, on the points of law, be referred, in addition, disputes between individuals, juvenile courts, professional standards, to run one’s own court system, exception, generalists, litigation, be sued, review cases, be resolved, a tier, at the bottom, coroners’ courts, sudden death, to coexist, to decide a case, to appellate, exception.

2. Suggest the English for:

На вершине пирамиды, мировой суд, пересмотреть дело, попадать под юрисдикцию, суды графств, апелляционный суд, суд низшей инстанции, Верховный суд, суд по делам несовершеннолетних, передать дело в суд высшей инстанции, идентичный, судебное разбирательство, решить дело в судебном порядке, подать иск, адвокат обвинения, гражданское дело, прошение, насильственная смерть, Европейский суд по правам человека, окружные суды, суд последней инстанции, ярус.

3. Match two parts of the sentences in two columns:

1. The most common type of law court in England and Wales ….

2. More serious criminal cases are considered ….

3. Civil cases are dealt with …

4. The highest court of appeal in England and Wales is …

5. Juvenile courts deal with …

6. Coroners’ courts investigate …

7. Administrative tribunals …

8. American court system functions as …

9. American individuals fall under jurisdiction …

10. The litigation in the USA begins …

11. The highest court of appeal in America is …


a. of their state courts and federal courts depending on the case.

b. in County courts.

c. is the magistrates’ court.

d. the House of Lords.

e. in the Crown courts.

f. deal with professional standards.

g. offenders under seventeen.

h. a part of the federal system of government

i. sudden, unnatural, violent deaths.

j. The Supreme Court.

k. in district courts.

4. Answer the following questions:

1. Who is responsible for making laws in the US and GB?

2. What is the difference between criminal and civil law?

3. What is the most common type of law court in England and Wales?

4. What is the difference between federal and state courts in the US?

5. Name British and American courts in the descending order.

6. Why are American federal courts organized like a pyramid?

7. Which courts in England and Wales would deal with a bank robbery, a divorce case, a burglary committed by a fifteen-year-old, a drowning, a case of driving too fast?

8. What does “appeal” mean?


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