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Find out 21 words. The definitions below will help you.
1. The government department in charge of finance.
2. The name of the ship on board of which Pilgrim Fathers arrived in America.
3. The American President, who gave political freedom to three million blacks.
4. The main document of a country.
5. The ultimate power under the Constitution belongs to them.
6. The legislative branch of the federal government is represented by it.
7. Congress is made up of this body and the House of Representatives.
8. The department heads are usually called so.
9. The head of the USA.
10. The person commanding most authority within a group or an organization.
11. The place where Congress sits.
12. A kind of correction, improvement.
13. A period of time.
14. A synonym to many.
15. To choose (someone) to fill a position by voting for him or her.
16. Power or influence.
17. There are fifty of these in the USA.
18. To restrict, to confine.
19. To arrange or place in a particular way.
20. A system of government or organization in which the citizens or members choose leaders or make other important decisions by voting.
21. The highest mountain chains in the USA
THE COURT SYSTEM
Warm up Activities
Justice is exercised only by courts. Have you ever been to the court?
Read the text and find the English equivalents for the words below. Try to remember them.
решение суда, видоизменять, наследственные пэры, мировой судья, иерархия, Суд Короны, гражданское дело, суды графств, развод, обвинение, Европейский суд по делам человека, правовая система, отменять, суд по делам несовершеннолетних, подозреваемый, дело о банкротстве, сумма денег, отменить решение, пересмотр судебного дела, гражданское правонарушение, назначенные пожизненно, применять закон, насильственная смерть, уголовное дело.
The English Court System
In all legal systems there are institutions for creating, modifying, abolishing and applying the law. Usually these take the form of a hierarchy of courts. The role of each court and its capacity to make decisions is strictly defined in relation to other courts. There are two main reasons for having a variety of courts. One is that a particular court can specialize in particular kinds of legal actions – for example, family courts and juvenile courts. The other is so that a person who feels his case was not fairly treated in a lower court can appeal to a higher court for reassessment. The decisions of a higher court are binding upon lower courts. At the top of the hierarchy is a supreme lawmaking body, but the process of taking an action from a lower court to the highest court may be very time-consuming and costly.
In general, the division between civil and criminal law is reflected in this chart. The Crown Courts, for example, deal exclusively with criminal matters, the Country Courts, with civil (for example, divorce or bankruptcy cases). However, the High Court considers appeals from lower criminal courts as well as civil matters, and the Magistrates Courts, while mostly concerned with criminal cases, also deal with some civil matters. The highest court, the House of Lords, deals with all matters (including appeals from Scottish and Northern Irish courts).
A criminal case usually begins in a Magistrates Court. Having arrested someone suspected of committing a crime, the police must decide if they have enough evidence to make a formal accusation, or charge. If they charge the suspect, they may release him on the condition that he appear on a certain date at a certain Magistrates Court. This is know as unconditional bail. However, the police may instead take the suspect to a magistrate so that he remains in custody until he next appears before a court. The magistrate may decided that it is not necessary to hold the suspect in custody and may agree to unconditional bail, or the magistrate may grant conditional bail–that is, release the suspect provided that he puts up some money as security or agrees to surrender his passport or some similar condition.
The Magistrates Court is the most common type of law court in England and Wales. There are 700 Magistrates Courts and about 30,000 magistrates. As the lowest criminal court, a Magistrates Court is empowered to hear certain cases only. Some serious crimes, like murder, cannot be heard by the magistrates and must go to the Crown Courts, which has 90 branches in different towns and cities.
In a Crown Court trial there are twelve jurors. These are ordinary members of the public between the ages of 18 and 70 who are selected at random. They are not paid but are given expenses while they are on jury service, which is usually for about two weeks. Service is compulsory, and it cannot normally be avoided without a good reason, such as illness. It is not necessary for a juror to know anything about the law – indeed certain people connected with the world of law, such as solicitors, are not allowed to serve as juror. This is because the job of the jury is to listen to the case and to decide questions of fact. It is the judge’s responsibility to guide them on questions of law.
Apart from the limited civil functions of Magistrates Courts (for example, prevention of family violence), the lowest court in a civil action is a Country Court, which is in every town in England and Wales. The judges are always professionals. They may hear matters such as contract and tort disputes or those regarding the property of a dead person. Cases involving larger amounts of money are heart by one of the divisions of the High Court.
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. Appeals from the Crown Court go first to the High Court and, in special cases, to the Court of Appeal. The highest court of appeal in England and Wales is the House of Lords. (Scotland has its own High Court in Edinburgh, which hears all appeals from Scottish courts.) Members of the House of Lords are not elected but consist of hereditary peers, peers appointed for life by the government, bishops of the Church of England, and the law lord – peers appointed for life after long service lawyers. Only the government can overturn a decision of the House of Lords and then, only by passing an Act of Parliament.
Certain cases may be referred to the European Court of Human Rights in Luxembourg. In addition, individuals have made the British Government change its practices in a number of areas as 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).
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