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The Organization of the Federal Courts Today

C/^Hf I

The American court system is complex. It functions as part of the federal system of government. Each state runs its own court system, and no two are

< fc " т 1. In additic

identical. In addition, we 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.

i 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.

TASK 2. Find in the text the English equivalents for the -words below.

- сосуществовать;

- частные лица;

- суды штатов;

- подать иск;

- федеральные суды;

- подавляющее большинство;

- подпадать под юрисдикцию;

- разрешить дело в судебном порядке;

- ярус;

- Верховный суд;

- судебное разбирательство, тяжба;

- окружные суды;

- высшие суды;

- аппеляционные суды;

- исключение;

- низшие суды;

- суд последней инстанции;

- рассматривать дело.

TASK 3. Answer the questions.

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

2. Name American courts in the descending order.

3. In what way are the federal courts organized?

4. Where does litigation begin?

5. What does the word " to appeal" mean? TASK 4. Fill in the blanks.

The Federal and State Court Systems

The federal courts have three tiers: (a)^/ * '(-*" ' " ' of (b)gijpf" ' с; ' /i and the (c) / " (xP/Vfc Court. The (d)_, was created by the Constitution; all other (e) created by Congress. Most litigation occurs in (f)t/iJiT> structure of (g)


intermediate (j)

courts, courts


courts were ^courts. The

_____ courts varies from state to state; usually there are

for less serious cases, (i)________for more serious cases,

State courts

courts, and courts of last (k)_

were created by state constitutions.

Unit VI


TASK 1. Read the following text.

Growth of the Profession

Today, the number of awyers in the United States exceeds 675, 000. This translates to one lawyer for every 364 people. Twenty-five years ago, there was one lawyer for every 70P people. The rate at which the legal profession is growing will probably continue to outpace rate of population growth through the end of the century.

Why is a career in law so popular? Market forces account for some of the allure. We know that in 1984 the average salary of experienced lawyers was 88, 000 dollars. If we could include in this average the salaries of all lawyer^, whatever their experience, the figure would probably be much lower, certainly well below the 108, 000 dollars average salary of physicians. But lawyers' salaries are still substantially greater than those of many other professionals. Salaries for newly minted lawyers heading for elite New York law firms exceeded 71, 000 dollars in 1987; some firms offered additional bonuses for clerkship experience in the federal courts and state supreme courts. The glamour of legal practice strengthens the attraction of its financial rewards.

There are other reasons for the popularity of the legal profession and the unquenchable demand for legal services. Materialism and individualism in American culture encourage dispute. Federalism gives separate legal

systems for each state plus the national government. Advertising can now create demand for legal services, too. Finally, the principles of separation of powers and of checks and balances make governing difficult and sometimes impossible. When political institutions act, they often are forced to compromise, deferring critical issues to the courts. Pluralist democracy operates when groups are able to press their interests on, and even challenge, the government. The expression of group demands in a culture that encourages lawsuits thrusts on the courts all manner of disputes and interests^ Is it any wonder that America needs all the lawyers it can train?

TASK 2. Find in the text the English equivalents for the words below:

- превышать;

- премия;

- адвокатская практика;

- уровень роста населения;

- средняя заработная плата;

- опытные юристы;

- система сдержек и противовесов;

- оставить спорные вопросы на рассмотрение суда;

- создать спрос на что-либо.

TASK 3. Answer the questions.

1. Why is the number of lawyers in the US increasing?

2. What factors create demand for legal services?

TASK 4. Read the text.

US Attorneys

The Justice Department is responsible for faithful execution of the laws under the president's authority. The main administrators of federal law enforcement are the ninety-four US attorneys, appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate. Unlike federal judges, these appointees serve at the pleasure of the president and are expected to relinquish their positions when the reins of government change hands.

There is a US attorney in each federal judicial district. Their staffs of assistant attorneys vary in size with the amount of litigation in the district. US attorneys have considerable discretion, which makes them powerful political figures in any community. Their decision to prosecute or not affects the wealth, freedom, rights, and reputation of individuals and organizations in the district.

US attorneys are political appointees who often harbour political ambitions. Their position commands media attention and can serve political goals. In 1983 President Reagan appointed Rudolph Giuliani as US attorney for the Southern District of New York (covering a large portion of the New York metropolitan area). Over the next five years, Giuliani notched his briefcase with dozens of successful prosecutions of elected officials, judges, organized crime figures, and Wall Street inside traders. Giuliani's activities generated reels and reams of favourable press coverage, he even appeared on a Newsweek cover. This kind of public exposure qan helrj^a US

launch a potential

sucgessful career in elected office, opponentftjmliani's name must make

s a powerful some politicians

TASK 5. Paraphrase the following expressions.

a) faithful execution of laws;

b) under somebody's authority;

c) consent;

d) appointee;

e) to relinquish;

f) amount of litigation;

g) to prosecute; h) elected office; i) inside traders; j) press coverage;

k) to harbour political ambitions; 1) to launch a career.

TASK 6. Answer the questions.

1. What is an attorney in the US? How is he appointed?

2. When does an attorney resign?

3. What does the number of assistant attorneys in federal judicial districts depend on?

4. What makes attorneys so important in American communities?

5. How do attorneys in the US realize their political ambitions?

6. What example in the text proves that US attorneys harbour political ambitions?

TASK 7. Work in pairs. Discuss the difference between the American and British lawyers.


A. Radio Phone-in

1. Have you ever had any legal problems? Such as

- your neighbours' bathroom leaked into your ceiling, and they do not want to pay damages;

- you were delayed by a metro accident and missed an important business appointment;

- a couple you know intends to divorce but they cannot decide who their favourite pressure-cooker should belong to; -

- you rent an apartment and pay for 3 months in advance.At the end of the second month your landlady demands extra fee...

What are the ways to solve these problems?

TASK 2. Read the letters below from a weekly magazine. Choose the right decision to each problem.

A. Annoyed

The other weekend I bought a jacket for my son in a sale. When I got home he said it was too small and refused to wear it. So I went back the next day and asked them to exchange it for a larger size. Unfortunately they didn't have a larger size and when I asked for my money back they refused, saying

that no refunds wer$ given on sales goods. Are they within their rights to do this?

B. Worried

Myself and two friends have been renting a house near the college we go to for the last two years. The landlord has now decided he wants us to leave and has more or less said that we have to be out within the next two weeks. We have nowhere else to go and with exams coming up shortly we would rather stay where we are. Friends of ours are saying he can't get us out unless we have signed a contract agreeing to go. Is this right?

C. Exhausted

I have been living in what used to be a very quiet area for about a year now but in the last few months it has changed completely - if I had known this would happen I would never have bought my house. Opposite me there is now a fish and chip shop which fries day and night except for Sunday - the irhell is disgusting and so are all the empty paper bags all over the street. It doesn't close until after midnight so every night there are people shouting, radios blaring, car doors slamming - I never seem to get a night's sleep these days and it's beginning to affect my work. Is there anything I can do about it?

A: 1) They must give you your money back, or a credit note.

2) They are not obliged to do anything. B: 1) He can get you out if he needs the house back for his family.

2) Your friends are right. C: 1) There is nothing you can do except move.

2) If the disturbance happens regularly you can ask a solicitor to to them. Discuss your answers in groups.

TASK 3. Listen to the tape. A legal expert, Charles Andrews is answering the telephone calls. Match the caller with his or her letter. Put a circle round the appropriate letter below. First caller: ABC Second caller: ABC

TASK 4. The following words and phrases were used in the tape. Guess their meaning and explain them.

- rent book;

- to keep on sb.;

- to get sb. down;

- to keep pestering;

- a court order for possession;

- to sue for harassment;

- to regain possession of;

- a chance of staying put;

- a complex issue;

- Legal Aid;

- to be legally obliged;

- faulty;

- credit note;

- purchase.

TASK 5. Complete the following summaries, using the words listed below each summary.

a) Shops are not legally 1. back or 2.

______^ to give you your money

goods if the items are bought in a 3.____^_ although

most big stores would probably give you a 4.________£ ________if

you had a 5._________.

receipt; sale; credit note; obliged; exchange

b) Stephen is not 1.________an agreement but he pays 2._____

monthly. The 3. '____does not live in the house and 4._____no

services. He has to write formally asking them to leave - at least a

5._______ in advance. Unless he wants the house for himself or

6._______ j _______, Stephen is probably a protected


month; rent; provides; landlord; tenant; his family; signed

TASK 6. Write a letter of reply to " Exhausted", suggesting what she might do. Use expressions like:

if I were you

why don't you

you should

have you thought about


B. Spy Photo Case


Di has given a witness statement and the case is expected to last a week.

Anthony Jylius, head of litigation at her solicitors Mishcon de Reya, said it was possible she would give evidence for up to a day.

Mr. Julius said: " The principle is that people who break confidences shouldn't profit from their bad behaviour."

Di has refused pleas to settle privately against New Zealander Mr. Taylor, who took the shots with a hidden camera, and Mirror Group Newspapers which published them.

The Princess wants an order against Mr. Taylor and MGN for profits they made.

Mr. Julius said the profits could top one million pounds - and that the Princess may well decide to give any money she recovered to charity.

Mr. Taylor's solicitor, Razi Mireskandari, said: " If she doesn't appear I would say her case is much, weakened." j

PRINCESS Diana could spend a whole day in the witness box in her battle over peeping-tom photos, her lawyer confirmed last night.

Di is determined to get public revenge and huge damages over sneakily-taken pictures of her exercising in a gym in a leotard.


Next February 13 has already эееп set as the date for the start of ler High Court hearing against Mirror Group Newspapers and ex-gym boss Згусе Taylor. /

TASK 1. Find in the text the English equivalents for the words and phrases below.

- свидетельское заявление;

- подтверждать;

- свидетельская ложа; '*/ / 1 he ! " *

- в суде; >

/ - слушание в Высоком Суде; jvqk

- публично отомстить; v •> ^

- тяжба; ! -» ' /^

- адвокат; „ , • /


о о '


- быть решительно настроенным что-либо сделать;

- получить компенсацию за убытки;

- вторгаться в частную жизнь;

- уладить дело в частном порядке;

- благотворительность; V С" 4f

- давать свидетельские показания;

- получать прибыль;

- возместить деньги в судебном порядке.

TASK. 2. Explain the meaning of the expression " peeping - torn photos".

TASK 3. Imagine yourself a journalist at a press-conference. Here are the people present:

- Princess Di

- ex-gym boss Bryce Taylor and photographer

- MGN representative

Ask them all sorts of questions.


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

A. ^

The most common type of Law Court in Great Britain is thfe1'

(a)^°< ^'- court. More serious criminal cases then go to (b)____court.

Civil cases are dealt with in (c)___; __ courts. Appeals are heard by

(d)_t£ \_l courts. The highest court of appeal in England and Wales is

(e)_'i'r Certain cases may be referred to (f)_____ in Luxembourg.

The legal system also includes (g)__ll__l courts (which deal with

offenders under seventeen) and (h)____(_(_ courts (which investigate violent,

sudden or unnatural deaths). There are also administrative (i)' ч > л •* which deal with professional standards, disputes between individuals, and disputes between individuals and government departments.



1. Most litigation in the US occurs in___

2. The____Court was created by the Constitution, all other _

courts were created by Congress.

3. Cases are primarily heard in the courts of_____jurisdiction.

4. At the bottom of the system of American courts are the middle there are ' '

courts. In

court. They review cases

5. To appeal means to take a case to a that have been decided in courts.

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

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

1. If a person in Britain has a legal problem, he will go and see a

^ - ' * In the US, he will go and see a_____. 2. A case of divorce is a

_____. 3. If you want to_____your debts, your case will be heard in the

County Court. 4._____is an expert in the interpretation of law. He is also

an expert on_____ (the art of presenting cases in Court). 5. Coroners who

have medical or legal training j; ____violent or unnatural deaths. 6. A jury

consists of twelve jurors who are ordinary people chosen '** 1 ^from the Electoral Register. 7. In a Magistrates' Court the accused is placed in

. 8. A defence lawyer in court the accused if he

the witnesses. 9. A judge

TASK 3. Give definitions of the following words and expressions.

a) to allege; b) forgery; c) to put on probation; d) witness-box; e) accomplice; f) appeal; g) bankruptcy; h) a gaol; i) litigation; j) damages.

TASK 4. Complete the following sentences by substituting the words and expressions in brackets for their synonyms.

1. Th£ president of the US has the right to (refuse the assent of) a bill.

2. To become a law a bill must not only be adopted in both houses of Parliament, but also get (the queen's approval).

3. A bill is first (put forward) in the House of Representatives, then referred to one of the standing committees which organizes (debates) on it and may (agree on it), (change it) or shelve the draft.

4. A bill can still become a law only if it is (enacted) by (the greater number of the members) (2/3) in both houses of Congress.

Just for Fun

, \Qt" " t

When asked to explain the difference between an ordinary citizen and a lawyer, a well-known barrister explained, " If an ordinary citizen gave you an orange, he would say, " I give you this orange." But if a lawyer gave you an orange, he would say, " I hereby give, grant and convey to you all my interest, right, title and claim of and in this orange, together with all its rind, skin, juice and pulp, and all right and advantage therein with full power to bite, cut, suck, or otherwise eat or consume the said orange, or give away or dispose of to any third party the said orange, with or without its rind, skin, juice and pulp, subject to any amendments subsequently introduced or drawn up to this agreement."


" Have you anything to say for yourself before I pass a sentence? " the judge frowned at the pickpocket. " Just what good have you ever done for

mankind? "

" Well, Your Honour", ventured the prisoner, " I've helped several

reporters, prison guards and you keep your jobs".


A woman visited her family solicitor and said, " I'd like to go over my will again, Mr Jenks. I'm a bit worried about..."

" Don't you worry about a thing, Mrs Smith", said the solicitor, " just

leave it all to me."

" I suppose I might as well, " said Mrs Smith with a sigh. " You'll get it

all in the end! "


Visitor: " What terrible crime has this man committed? " Jailer: " He has done nothing. He merely happened to be passing by when " Gyp the Blood" tried to kill a man, and he is held in prison as a


V. " And where is " Gyp the Blood"? "

J. " He is out on bail".


" I don't want a lawyer to tell me what I cannot do; I hire him to tell me

how to do what I want to do."

J. Priepont Morgan

*** Murphy's Law: If anything can go wrong, it will.

Whistler's Law: You never know who's right, but you always know

who's in charge.


Oak's principles of law-making:

Law expands in proportion to the resources available for its enforcement.

Bad law is more likely to be supplemented than repealed.

Social legislation cannot repeal physical laws.


The rule of law:

If the facts are against you, argue the law.

If the law is against you, argue the facts.

If the facts and the law are against you, yell like hell.


accuse (v)(of) - to charge with an offence, crime; to blame. Accuse/! (adj)- a person charged with an offence, the defendant in a criminal case.

accuser (n)- a person who accuses. Accusation (n)- charge of wrongdoing; allegation. advocate (n) - 1. a person who defends or supports a cause or proposal 2. a professional pleader before tribunal or court. advocacy (n) - 1. active support or pleading. 2. the function of an advocate. I/ allege (v)- to assert without proof or before proving.

- alleged (adj).

allegation (n) - statement of what one undertakes to prove. amend (v) - see Ch. 11, 111.

/appeal (v) - to take a case to a higher court for rehearing and a new decision.

appeal (n) - a legal proceeding by which a case is brought to a higher court for review.

- Court of~.

appoint (v) - 1. to fix or name officially. 2. to select for an office or position.

- appointment (n).

appointee (n) - a person who is appointed. argue (v) - to consider arguments for and against; discuss. ~ a case.

assent (v) - to agree to sth. assent (n) - agreement.

- royal ~.

attorney (n) -1. sb. with legal authority to act for another.

2. (US) - lawyer. bankrupt (n) - a financially ruined person whose estate is administered

under the bankruptcy law for the benefit of his /her creditors.

bankruptcy (n) - 1. being bankrupt.

2. utter failure, impoverishment, or destitution. barrister (n)(Br.)-a lawyer who has the right to plead as an advocate in

an English or Welsh superior court. bench (n) - 1. any of the long seats on which members sit in parliament.

2. a judge's seat in court.

3. judges or magistrates hearing a particular case collectively. bill (n) - a formal proposal for a new law.

- to defeat a ~.

- to introduce a ~.

- to pass a ~

- Bill of Rights - see Ch. II, III.

branch (n) - ~ of government - a division of an organization of

government (e.g. the legislative, the executive, the judicial).

-of law- a distinct area of law (e.g. civil, criminal, etc.). burglary (n) - see Ch. V. " civil (adj) - relating to private rights and remedies sought'by civil.

actions (as contrasted with criminal proceedings).

~ action - action brought to enforce, redress or protect

private rights.

~ case - a court case that involves a private dispute arising

from such matters as accidents, contractual obligations and


~ rights - powers or privileges guaranteed to individuals and

protected by the constitution.

~ servant - a government officer. commit (n) - ~ a crime - to carry out. consent (n) - compliance in or approval of what is done or proposed.

- consent (v).

consensus (n) - general agreement, unanimity. convict (v) (of) - to find or prove to be guilty.

'convict (n) - a person serving a prison sentence.

-conviction (n). coroner (n) - a public officer whose principal duty is to inquire into

the cause of any unnatural death.

~'s court. courtroom (n) - the portion of a courthouse in which the actual

proceedings take place. criminal (adj) - relating to crime or its punishment (as contrasted with


~ act - commission of a crime.

~ action - an action, suit or cause instituted to punish a criminal.

~ case - a court case involving a crime, or violation of public

order. criminal (n) - a person who has committed (or being convicted of)

a crime.

_cross-examine (v) - see Ch. V. damage(s) (n) - see Ch. V. debate (n) - see Ch. II, III. defend (v) - 1. to maintain by argument in the face of opposition or


2. to act as a legal representative in court.

defence (n) (US defense) - a defending party or group in a court

of law.

~ lawyer, attorney

defendant (n) - a person, company, etc. against whom a criminal

charge or civil claim is made. dispute (v) - to argue, to call into question.

dispute (n) - legal controversy, debate. dock (n) - the prisoner's enclosure in a criminal court. enforce (v) - to put into execution.

-~a law

- enforcement. evidence (n) - see Ch. V. fine (n, v) - see Ch. V. forgery (n) - see Ch. V.

guilt (n) - responsibility for offence.

guilty (adj) (of) 1. having committed a crime, or other breach of


2. responsible for a crime or tort or other offence or fault.

to find sb. ~ - to prove sb's guilt in court.

to plead ~ - to admit one's guilt in court (vs. to plead not ~). hearing (n) - a trial in court. innocence (n) - being free from guilt or sin.

- innocent (adj).

introduce (v) -1. to present formally.

2. to announce formally or by an official reading.

, /jur

- ~ a bill, a law. investigate (v) - see Ch. V. jail (n) (Br. also gaol) - a prison.

to jail (v). judge (n) - a public official authorized to decide questions brought

before a court.

judge (v) - to act as a judge. jurisdiction (n) (of a court) - the power, right or authority to apply the


original - - the authority of a court to hear a case before any

other court does.

appellate ~ - the authority of a court to hear cases that have

been tried, decided, or reexamined in other courts. juror (n), jury (n) - see Ch. IV. justice (n) - 1. proper administration of laws.

2. title given to judges (e.g. the US Supreme Court, appellate


Justice of the Peace - see Ch. 11 juvenile (adj) (court) - a court with special jurisdiction over

delinquent and dependent young people. kidnap (v) - see Ch. V.- VbOX ^7 u&

(n) - 1. a rule of conduct formally recognized as binding or

enforced by authority. '

2. the whole body of such rules.

lawful (adj) - allowed by law, legal.

lawsuit (n) - a noncriminal case in a court of law.

lawyer (n) - a person licensed to practice law. legal (adj) - 1. recognized and permitted by law.

-Aid- the system of payments from public funds to those who

cannot afford legal advice or representation. litigate (v) to carry on a lawsuit. к litigation (n) - a lawsuit.

litigant (n) - a person engaged in litigation. magistrate (n) 1. (Br.) an inferior judicial officer, such as Justice of the


2. (US) (since 1 99 1 ) a judicial officer appointed by judges of federal

district courts having many but not all of the powers of the judge

(they may conduct civil or misdemeanour criminal trials). majority (n) - see Ch. II, III. matrimonial (adj) - relating to marriage. ~ matters %& k \«b£ & v < - _ ^7 murder (v, n) - see Ch. V/ Ц051

offence (n) (US offense) - an illegal act or omission punishable under

criminal law.

offender (n) - a person who has committed an offence. order (n) (court ~) - a written direction of a court or judge which

determines some point or directs some step in the proceedings. pass (v) (a bill, law) - to enact or to sanction the adaptation by the

majority of votes.

~ a sentence - to pronounce judicially. petition (n) - a formal written request to a superior.

- petition (v).

- petitioner (n).

petty (adj) - small, minor, of less or inconsiderable importance.

~ offence - a minor crime, the maximum punishment for which is

generally a fine or a short term in jail.

~ sessions (petty sessional courts) - Magistrates' court, plaintiff (n)-see Ch.IV. plea (n) - 1. an allegation made by a party in support of his/her


2. an accused person's answer to an indictment. " " plead (n) - 1. To argue a case as an advocate in a court.

2. to make or answer an allegation in a legal proceeding.

3. to make a specified plea. (~ guilty/not guilty).

pleading (n) - a formal written allegation made by a party in a legal


preside (v) - to exercise guidance, authority or control over. probation (n) - see Ch. V. ЦбиЬ^ТЦКм5 £ L proceedings (n) - the form and manner of conducting juridical business

in a court.

prosecute (v), prosecution (n), prosecutor (n) - see Ch. IV. punishment (n) - see Ch. V. Ь^-УЛ^СиС. reading (n) - an act of formally reading of a bill that constitutes any of

the three successive stages of approval by a legislature. recover (v) - to get back, regain possession or use of.

- ~ debt, money.

reign (v) - to hold office as head of state, although possessing little governing power.

- -ing monarch. rob (v) - see Ch.V.

shelve (v) (a draft) - to remove from active service, to put off or aside. shoplifting (n) - see Ch.V. Ц Q{ №& 9 < lu*u ш ^u (\ q К solicitor (n) - a qualified lawyer who advises clients, represents them in




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