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Legal english

Legal english

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Legal english

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  1. Legal english A short history

  2. Preview • Historical development of English • Languagecontactsinthehistoryof English • Thespreadof English • Development oflegal English

  3. A short historyofengland • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcnSsEVsrf0

  4. Roman britain (43-410)

  5. Roman rule (43-410) • 55-54 BC Julius Caesar invaded what is now England as part of the Gallic Wars, and was defeated. He wrote in De Bello Gallico that there were many tribes there, very similar to other Celtic tribes in Europe. • 43 AD, Claudius successfully invaded England, whichbecame a Roman province, Britania • 43-410 Roman Britain • 4th c. many Britons left to cross the English Channel from Wales, Cornwall and southern Britain, and settledthe western part of Gaul, where they started a new nation: Brittany. The Britons gave their new country its name and the Breton language, a sister language to Welsh and Cornish.

  6. HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE • OLD ENGLISH (c. 450- c. 1100) • MIDDLE ENGLISH (c. 1100- c.1450) • MODERN ENGLISH (c. 1450 - )

  7. Migrations of Angles, Saxons and Jutes

  8. Anglo-saxonengland

  9. Anglo-SaxonEngland • No continuoustraditionof Roman law • Germaniccustom + Christian influence • Littleliteracy, fewofficials, no centraladministration, no courts • Early Anglo-Saxonlaw – primitiveandharsh (privatevengeance, bloodfeuds) • Gradually, rulersofthefourkingdoms (Kent, Wessex, Mercia, Northumbria) started to interveneagainstlawlessnessand to composelaws, known as dooms, createdfromexistingcustomsandwritteninEnglish • „therecordoflegislationinEnglandis one oftheoldestin Europe”

  10. Anglo-SaxonEngland • Theearlykingsrelied on greatlandowners to whomtheygranted wide powersofpeace-keeping: „Therecannothavebeenmuchneedofcourts…to standbetweenthewrong-doingandretribution: thepeacekeepercompelledthepaymentofthe set compensationorcutdowntheoutlawandthethiefcaughtintheact” • Christianityexpandedrapidlyafter597 (e.g. Aethelbert, kingofKent, familiarwithreligiouspracticessincehiswife, Bertha, a Frankishprincesswaspermitted to holdservicesin a church at Canterburywith a bishopshebroughtover to England)

  11. Anglo-saxonengland • Courts – localpopularassembliesthatmetevery 4 weeks for theadministrationofcustomarylaw • Most commoncrimes: homicide, wounding,cattletheft • Whenanoffenderwascaught, therewouldbe no trial but animmediatefinror, if he waspoor, immediatedeath; if he escaped, he wouldbeoutlawed, whichsanctionedhisbeinglawfullykilled • Courts – no trial on questionsoffact; verdictfromtheAlmighty: oathhelpersortrialsbyordeal: used to determineguiltorinnocence

  12. Viking invasions in Europe(late 8th c.- mid-11th c.)

  13. SCANDINAVIAN PLACE NAMES

  14. LATER OLD ENGLISH (c. 850 - c.1100)Language Contacts • OLD NORSE • Lexical words • Nouns:birth, bull, dirt, egg, fellow, husband, leg, sister, skin, sky, skirt, window • Adjectives: ill, low, odd, rotten, sly, weak • Verbs:call, crawl, die, get, give, lift, raise, scream, take, • Function words • Pronouns: they (their, them) • Conjunctions: though • Determiners: some, any • Auxiliaries: are • Names • Family names: -son: Johnson, Stevenson • Place names: -by 'farm, town': Derby, Rugby, Whitby; -thorp 'village': Althorp, Linthorp

  15. Alfred thegreat (r. 871-899) • Themachineryandenforcementoflaw had brokendown • Alfred the Great – stemmedthetideofDanishinvasions; confinedtheDanes to anareainthenorthandeastofEngland – Danelaw; ChristianizedtheVikings; encouragedlearning; securedthebeginningof English civilization; laidtheground for theconceptof one unitedkingdomofEngland • Alfred andhissuccessors – thetask to revivethelaw • Alfred incorporatedintohisbooklawsofthebestdoomsofKent, MerciaandWessex, blendedwithChristian principles; no comprehensivecodes • Enacted 77 decreesintegrating English andDanishlegalsystems • Proclaimedtherewasnot to be one law for therichandanother for thepoor • Lawsuitswerebroughtin a publicassembly – „Folk-moot”

  16. Anglo-saxonlaws: mainfeatures • Power oftheChurch • Attempt to replacetheblood feud andrevengewith a paymentofcompensation • Communalresponsibility for thepreservationoforder (courts as publicmeetings; popularassemblies – thefoundation for the future trialbyjury)

  17. The Anglo-Saxon Period • Verbalmagic • Actsof transfer requiredcomplicatedandpreciselanguagerituals; a singlemistakecouldnullifytheact • Useofrhythmicexpressions • Alliteration – commoninmaximsandbinaryexpressions

  18. The Anglo-Saxon Period • Inversion to strenghtentheimpact: I withmyeyessawandwithmyearsheard • Languagegraduallybecame more complexsyntactically but stillcontainedelementsofspokenlanguage

  19. The Anglo-Saxon Period • Some Latin words • Royal legislationandspreadofChristianity • Examples: convict, admit, mediate, legitimate

  20. Ritual andformalismoflanguage: thetraditionofverbalmagic • MiddleAges: magicalrites: parties had to recite thewordsnecessary for thecourseofthetrialwithabsoluteaccuracy, underpenaltyofforfeitingtheirrights

  21. Repetition • triplerepetition:nullandvoidandof no effect, authorized, empoweredandentitled to • To tellthetruth, thewholetruth, andnothing but thetruth

  22. Repetition • Binaryexpressions: wordswiththe same meaningexisted at the same time intheformof Latin-Frenchvariantsand Anglo-Saxonvariants . Repetitionsensuredthat legal messageswereunderstandablein a multilingualsociety • Acknowledgeandconfess, actanddeed, deviseandbequeath, fitandproper, goodsandchattels, willand testament

  23. Thenormanconquest: william i • William I laidthefoundations for strongcentralizedgovernmentand a CommonLaw, but: • „TheNormanswerewithoutlearning, without literature, withoutwrittenlaw” • William enactedfewnewlaws, confirmed some oftheold Anglo-Saxonones • IntroducedfromNormandytrialbybattle to replaceordealin some situations • William retainedtheWitan but converteditinto a royalcouncil; he alsoestablished a royalcourtwhich, as theCuriaRegis, wasdestined to replacetheWitan • Juriesof 12 consideredanaccusation • Abolishedcapitalpunishment (replacedbymutilations); reintroducedby Henry I

  24. Henry I andtheenglishlegalrenaissance (1133-1189) • Sentjudgesthroughthecounties to hearpleasoftheCrownwhilethepowerfulbroughttheirdisputes to Westminster

  25. Henry ii andtheenglishlegalrenaissance (1133-1189) • Angevinkings – descendedfromGeoffrey, CountofAnjou, whowasHenry’sfather • Henry II - centralizedroyal power; challengedthe power oftheChurch • CuriaRegis – enlargeditsjurisdiction at theexpenseoflowercourts • Transformedthecriminallawfrom a divinelyordained system to a system based on evidence: trialbyjury • UnifyingcustomarylawandroyalcodesintoCommonLawbyestablishing a permanentbodyofprofessionaljudges • A strongshiftawayfrom Anglo-Saxonfeudsandwergild to Angevinpublicprosecution

  26. Henry ii • Crime – notseemmerely as a wrongagainstthevictim but againsttheCrownwiththeking as symbolicvictimwho had to berevenged • Punishments for seriouscrimes – sanctionedbythestate

  27. Commonlaw • „At a time when Continental sovereignswerelooking to thetheoryof Roman law to strenghtentheirownpretensions to power, the English rulers had alreadyachieved a highdegreeofcentralizationof power inthehandsoftheroyalgovernment. As a result, English royaljudgeswereable to administerjusticealloverthecountryandtheysoonsuspendedthelocalcourts. Wherevertheroyaljusticewent, theyusedthejury…as a meansofdeterminingfacts. Thejury system wasthereforean instrument ofroyal power, andspread as rapidlyandwidely as theroyalcourts.”

  28. Birthofthelegalprofession (1272-1307) • TheInnsof Court wereborn • EachInn had chambeswherelawyerscouldreside • Unlikestudents at theuniversities, thestudents at theInnsof Court weretaught English lawbased on anever-increasingprecedents, not Roman orcanonlaw

  29. latinandanglo-french • The Norman Conquest brought to England a French-speaking upper class • Latin – dominant in law • Normans – used Latin in important contexts • 11-12 c. Latin was the language of legal documents in England

  30. Rise of Law French • 1st law promulgated in French in 1275 • End of 13th c. both Latin and French used as legislative languages • Early 14th c. French used in drafting laws (except in Church matters)

  31. Rise ofLawFrench • 1st lawpromulgatedinFrenchin 1275 • Endof 13th c. both Latin andFrenchused as legislative languages • Early 14th c. Frenchusedindraftinglaws (exceptinChurchmatters) • Late 13th c. the Royal CourtsusedFrenchduringsessions; casereports – preparedinFrench

  32. Rise ofLawFrench • Frenchbecamethe legal languageinEnglandfromthe late 13th c., both for legislationandthelawcourts • The use ofFrenchinEnglish legal circles – a strangephenomenonbecausein 13th c. French had alreadybegun to disappearinEngland as a languageofcommunication; yetthe rise ofFrench as languageofthelawonlystarted at that time

  33. Rise ofLawFrench • Reasons: • A sectionoftheEnglisharistocracy – stillFrench-speaking at theendof 13th c. • French as thelanguageofculture • Centralisationofjusticesystemconsolidatedthe status ofFrench • Secularisationofthejusticesystem – clerics no longeroperated as judges

  34. Rise ofLawFrench • Withits general disappearancefromEngland, French had becomethemarkofthetrueelites • Legal profession – monopolyoftheelites • French – guaranteethatthepeoplecouldnotmeddleinthejusticesystembecausetheywereunable to followthetrial • LawFrench – eventhen a dead language: itsexpressions had a clear legal meaning; appropriate for use as legal terms

  35. DeclineofLaw Latin andLawFrench • 1362 Statute ofPleading – draftedinFrench! – prescribedthatjudgeswere to use English but that court minutescouldstillbepreparedin Latin • According to Sir Edward Coke, it wasbetterthattheunlearnedwerenotable to read legal materials becausetheywouldget it all wrongandharmthemselves!

  36. DeclineofLaw Latin andLawFrench • Endof 14th c. parliamentarianswereusingspokenEnglish • Stillin 17th c. possible to hearlawFrenchintheInnsof Court, and, occasionally, inthecourts; a numberof legal works – stillwritteninlawFrench • Frenchand Latin finallyabolishedin 1731

  37. DeclineofLaw Latin andLawFrench • Latin – declinedin 16th and 17th c.; remainedanimportant legal language: court records, writsandother legal documentswrittenin Latin until 18th c.

  38. Dominanceof Latin, FrenchandEnglish • 1000 1200 1500 2000 • Latin supremacy • LawFrenchsupremacy • Englishsupremacy

  39. WordinessofEnglish legal language: Influence ofcase-law • Mylward v. Weldon (1596) theplaintiffproduced a pleadingrunning to 120 pages • Examplesofwordiness: (Mattila 2006: 235-236)

  40. OrthographyandPronunciation • Legal language – a tool of group cohesion, or team spirit • Frenchand Latin pronounced as Englishwords • Oyezpronounced as oou-yes

  41. Influence ofotherlanguages • Legal English – a languageofinteractionbetween Old English (Anglo-Saxon, withScandinavianelements), Medieval Latin, Old French • Latin andFrenchexpressions - partofthe most basicvocabularyofEnglishlaw; foundationsofEnglish legal thinking • Calques – translationsfrom Latin andFrench (originally, commonlawwascomuneley)

  42. Latin • Legal maxims: ubi jus, ibiremedium • Ratiodecidendi, obiterdicta • Ordinary Latin: versus; pro se (saidofanindividualrepresentingthemselvesin court, i.e. without legal representation)= inpropria persona,in forma pauperis(exemptfrompaying court costs) ex parte(‘from one partyonly, for thebenefitof one partyonly’), mens rea, scienter (‘knowingly’), animustestandi(‘intention to make a will’)

  43. Latin • Technicalmeaning: amicuscuriae • A privateindividual, a legal person, eventhe State thatgivesthe court specific legal information

  44. Latin • shortenedexpressions • Nisi prius(‘unlessbefore’) = a matterofproceedings at first instance with a jurypresent • Affidavit (‘he affirmed’) = ‘a written or printeddeclarationconfirmedbyanoath’ • Habeascorpus(‘youmayhavethebody’) = a judge’s order to bring a prisonerbeforethe court to clarifythelegalityofdetaininghim

  45. Latin • legal discoursemarkers • Aforesaid < predictus; said < dictus • InmedievalEngland, when a person’s nameappeared for the 1st time precededbyquidem ‘a certain’; later, thewordspredictus, dictusor idemwereused

  46. LawFrench • Real propertylaw: purautrevie‘for or duringthelifetimeof a third party’, terre-tenant • Most technical legal vocabularygoesback to Old French: assault, infraction, damage, action, counsel, defendant, judge, jury, party, process, verdict

  47. LawFrench • Influence on word formation: • Old French past participle: -e or –ee (for thepersonobtainingsth or formingtheobjectofanaction • Doeroftheaction: -or/-er • Employer/employee, trustor/trustee, vendor/vendee

  48. LawFrench • Word order • Accountspayable, attorney general, court martial, feesimple, letters patent

  49. Lawofcontract • Thelanguageof a contractgovernedbycommonlawshouldbe general enough to covereverysituation, yetpreciseenoughtoensurethatthe legal positionoftheparties is unambiguous • Thecontractshouldshowwithcertaintywhat it includesandwhatitdoesnot (Ibid: 237)

  50. Lawofcontract • Caselaw – fundamental • Ifthepartiesomitsthfromthecontract, theycannotrely on thecourts to insert it later on theirbehalfbywayofinterpretation • Termsof a contract – alwaysinterpretednarrowly: parolevidencerule: ifthemeaningofawrittencontract is clear, then no otherevidence is allowed as to itscontent; thecontractshouldcontain all that is needed