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English legal terminology. An introduction. Common words and expressions. The legal professions: Solicitor (general legal adviser): “to be admitted to practice as a…”; Barrister: “to be called to the bar as a… by one of the four Inns of Court”, “pleading a case” (advocate);

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English legal terminology


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    1. English legalterminology An introduction Dr. Valentina Adami - Verona, 31.05.2012

    2. Common words and expressions • The legal professions: • Solicitor (general legal adviser): “to be admitted to practice as a…”; • Barrister: “to be called to the bar as a… by one of the four Inns of Court”, “pleading a case” (advocate); • lawyer/attorney; • judge; • prosecutor • Bringing and defending an action  the parties: • Claimant (US: plaintiff, petitioner or complainant)  Brings an action: “files a claim” (US: complaint), or “issues a claim”, or “starts proceedings” • Defendant  Defends an action: files an acknowledgment of service (US: answer); must serve a defence within a certain time; counterclaim • An alternative to litigation  Settlement: parties avoid going to trial by reaching an agreement Dr. Valentina Adami - Verona, 31.05.2012

    3. Tortlawterminology • Tort = a civil wrong thatresults in harmto a person or property (vs. a criminal wrongdoing) • The parties: • claimant injured party: suesfordamages or foraninjunction • defendant tortfeasor: isliablefor the tort (vs. guilty of a crime) • Examples of torts: trespassto the person (battery, assault…); trespasstoproperty (realproperty or personal property); defamation (libel or slander) • Negligenttort, intentionaltort, strictliabilitytort Dr. Valentina Adami - Verona, 31.05.2012

    4. Contractlawterminology • Contract = an agreement betweentwo or more partiesthatisbinding in law / a legallyenforceable agreement • Generatesrights and obligationsthatmaybeenforced in the court • Phrases and expressions: formation of anenforceablecontract / of a bindingcontract; toenterinto a contract; tobe a party to a contract; tocomplywith the contract / to do whatisrequired under the contract; tomakeanoffer; toacceptanoffer; tomake a counter-offer; tonegotiate a contract; toagree on the terms of a contract; Dr. Valentina Adami - Verona, 31.05.2012

    5. Offer and acceptance • Offeror (makesanoffer) – Offeree (acceptsanoffer or makes a counter-offer) • Offer = a statement of willingnesstocontractaccodingto the termsproposedwith the intentthatitwillbecome a bindingcontractifaccepted • Acceptance = unconditionalassenttoall the terms of the offer • “Firmoffer” means “unequivocal” (itdoesnotmeanthatitcannotbewithdrawn) • “Consideration”: = the bargain. Each party givesvalueto the other (a one-sided promise isnot a bindingcontract in English law) Dr. Valentina Adami - Verona, 31.05.2012

    6. Contents of the contract • Terms = the undertakingsstipulated in a contract (rights and obligations of parties) • Contractualterms are classifiedas: • conditions (fundamentalterms) OR • warranties (minor terms) • Vitiatingfactors=factorsthat can invalidate a contract • Void OR voidable • Misrepresentation: makes the contractvoidable • “torescind a contract”; “to terminate a contract” Dr. Valentina Adami - Verona, 31.05.2012

    7. Breach of contract • = when a party failstoperformhisobligations under the contract, or performs the defectively • Breaching party vs. non-breaching party (or injured party or innocent party) • Remediesforbreach of contract: Restitution (= tohavewhatyougavereturnedtoyou); Damages (= financialcompensation); Specific performance (= toforce the breaching party toperform the contract); Injunction (=toprohibit the breaching party fromdoingsomething [prohibitory] or torequirehimto do something [mandatory]) Dr. Valentina Adami - Verona, 31.05.2012

    8. Key phrases and expressionsaboutbreach of contract • tobe in breach; tobreach a contract; the contractwasbrokenbyone party; to file a lawsuitagainst the breaching party; to sue fordamagesforbreach of contract; the court can award damagesto the injured party; toclaimdamagesfor the lossesincurred; discharge of contractualobligations (by performance, by agreement, bybreach) Dr. Valentina Adami - Verona, 31.05.2012

    9. Company lawterminology • “company”: US vs. UK vs. EU vs. rest of the world • firm, corporation, limitedliability company, partnership… • Incorporated vs. unincorporatedenterprises • Registered company (US, corporation): limited/unlimited • Shareholders, directors, employees, creditors, debtors… • Certificate of incorporation, constitutionaldocuments, statutoryforms, memorandum of association, articles of association… Dr. Valentina Adami - Verona, 31.05.2012