Judge's «respectful» plea for plainer English

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Judge's «respectful» plea for plainer English

A barrister is a man born with a silver spoon in his mouth in place of a tongue. Or so it would appear to Mr Justice Staughton, a judge in the Commercial Court.

The learned judge has become irritated at the linguistic duplicity of counsel, and the way in which they use archaic words to camouflage what is at bottom, an insult.

Writing in the current edition of the quarterly legal journal «Counsel», a learned magazine read by upper echelons of the legal profession, the judge tells about barristers who preface a statement to him with the phrase «With respect». What that really means, says the judge, is «you are wrong».

A statement prefaced with the words «With great respect» means «you are utterly wrong». And if a barrister produces the ultimate weapon of «With utmost respect» he is really saying to the court, «Send for the men in white coats».

The judge wants more plain English used in courts, and less of the legal language of the obscure past, some of which he says has been «obsolete» in ordinary speech almost since the Bible.

Words like «humbly» and «respectfully» are not only unnecessary in written legal documents, they are gener­ally untruthful in oral argument, says the judge with utmost respect.

Judges themselves are, of course, not entirely free of guilt in the matter of exchanges which are not very understandable.

As the courtroom clock moves towards 1 pm, counsel might say: «It might be of value to your Lordship if I were to inform you at this juncture that I have several more questions to ask of to this witness which would take some little while». The judge will reply: «This seems a useful time to adjourn». What they really mean is lunch.

17.6.3. Answer the questions in 17.6.1. (Books closed.)

Listening practice

17.7.1. Look at the following questions. You'll have to answer them after reading the text.

1. When did they have school?

2. When did Herbert Berk become politician?

3. What is James Steven?

4. Where is he now?

5. What did Charlie Philipps give to Mary Foot when they left school?

6. When did they get married?

7. Where did they move to?

17.7.2. Listen to the story.

17.7.3. Answer the questions in 17.7.1.

17.7.4. Look through the list of words. They will help you to understand the text. twin — близнец

diverge — отличаться adolescence — юность adulthood — взрослость strive — бороться compliment — дополнять clash — сталкивать sheer — простой deliberately — специально quirk — причуда

17.7.5. Listen to the story. Be ready to give the contents of it.

17.7.6. Tell the contents of the story as close to the text as possible.

Time for fun

17.8.1. Read and translate the following joke:

The excessive bill

Once a man received an exorbitant bill for legal services. He considered the amount excessive, so he went right to the lawyer's office. The conversation went like this:

Client: Is this really my bill?

Lawyer: Isn't this your name on the bill?

C.: Yes.

L.: Who handled it?

C.: One of your secretaries. The tall one with blonde hair and...

L.: Yes, yes. Miss Thompson. She's very accurate. There's no doubt that the bill is correct.

C.: But this is too much for the service I received from your office. I didn't even have the professional services of a real lawyer.

L.: That doesn't have anything to do with it. Here the charge is the same, whether I do the work person­ally or a secretary takes care of a routine matter such as yours.

C.: But... but it's too much!

L.: Sir, you take care of your business and I'll take care of mine!

C.: Obviously you don't know who I am!

L.: And who are you, sir?

C.: Now I understand this exorbitant bill.

L.: What do you mean?

C.: Simply that I belong to the same profession as you do.

L.: Oh, well! Then there was an oversight. My secretary didn't make a note of that fact. I'm very sorry

about the mistake.

C.: Oh, that's all right. It could happen to anyone.

L.: So you're a member of my profession, eh? Well, in that case, I'll give you a discount of seventy-five


C.: That's better! Now that bill is for a reasonable sum, I'll pay it right away. Here's the money.

L.: Thank you very much. I hope that you'll forgive this mistake.

C.: Naturally. After taking the money, the lawyer sees his client to the door with great respect and courtesy, and says:

L.: But tell me, friend, where is your office?

C.: Oh, I don't have an office.

L.: But you just told me that you had the same profession as I do.

C.: Yes, I did. I'm a thief too!

17.8.2. Can you complete each sentence in the first list with the appropriate phrase from the second?

1. The telephone operator A. lack of hard work

put through B. by their younger brothers

2. I have out by or sisters

3. She was dreadfully put C. his shoulder, playing

out Rugby

4. If it rains we shall D. enough money for a win-

have to put off ter holiday

5. How can you put up E. your address before I

with forget it

6. George has put out F. the barbecue in the gar-

7. I must put down den tonight

8. We would be happy to G. the noise and fumes of

put you up town life

9. We put his failure H. I shall stop smoking

down to I. by his unkind remarks

10. If cigarettes are put up J. if you would like to stay

11. Older children are the night

often put upon K. a warm jumper and hea-

12. When he began to vy coat

shiver he decided to L. the call from London

put on


Фонетика: sounds [b], [p]

Словообразование: сложные существительные типа witness-box

Грамматика: придаточные подлежащие, придаточ­ные сказуемые

Текст: «Pete and Nell go to the pictures» (cont.)

Sound right

18.1.1. Listen, look, say:

beauty ebb sobbed sublet breath

boom cab obtain sublime bring

box rib rub down sublibrarian bride

boast sob club Dan Bob likes broom

ball rub rob Peter Hob looks brown

best lab globe trotter rub Lester bright

18.1.2. Listen, look, say:

1. A bad job.

2. A bad blunder.

3. The biter's bit.

4. Ben's as bold as brass.

5. Bob is a big bug.

6. Bel has a bee in her bonnet.

7. Bab lives at the back of beyond.

8. Don't be a busybody, baby.

9. Bram broke the back of the business.

10. Bee is a bread-and-butter miss.

11. Bob was black-balled.

18.1.3. Listen and look. Pay attention to the difference between the sounds [p] and [b]


A. You can't keep a pet in these apartments.

В. Can't I keep a puppy?

A. You can't keep a pet in these apartments.

B. Or a kitten, perhaps.

A. You can't keep a pet in these apartments.

B. You ought to keep a pet yourself, you know.

A. You can't keep a pet in these apartments.

B. Why not try a parrot, for instance?


A. When the rain stops, you'll see how beautiful the beach is.

B. But the rain's been pouring down for two days! We've both caught cold. Let's pack our bags and go back to town.

A. The bedroom is a bit damp, yes. But it's better than a tent. You wanted to go camp­ing, remember?

B. You're impossible, Tom!

A. Well, you did! You wanted to sleep in a tent! Oh, all right. Let's pack.


A. Was it a good game?

B. It was a terrible game.

A. You had a good day for it.

B. A beautiful day.

A. Did Tom score?

B. He scored twice.

A. And you?

B. Now, where did I put that can of beer?

A. Did you score?

B. Oh, got it.

A. Perhaps next time.

B. Hm.


A. How d'you do? I'm Parker.

B. How d'you do, Barker.

A. Parker.

B. Oh, Parker, with a «p».

A. With a «p», yes.

B. Er... I'm Barker. A Barker with a «B», of course.

В. А «В».


A. Ah.

B. Mm.

A. Er ... well, goodbye. Barker.

B. Goodbye, Parker.

18.1.4. Listen, look, say. Pay attention to the intona­tion.

18.1.5. Read the dialogues in pairs.

18.1.6. Try to read the tongue-twister as fast as you can:

A big blue bucket of blue blueberries.


(Compound nouns)

18.2.1.Translate the following compound nouns:

moonlight, bookshop, brainwork, furcap, bed­time, tabletalk, dogshow, housemaid, teargas, cloakroom, snowstorm, thunderstorm, glasswork, flower bed, folk-dance.

Full understanding

18.3.1. Смотрите, слушайте, повторяйте:

to address [@d'res], ceremony ['serIm@nI], to qual­ify ['kwOlIfaI], extraordinary [Ikst'rþdnrI], alibi [{lIbaI].

Proper names: Mr. Myers ['maI@z], Germany.

18.3.2. Смотрите, слушайте, повторяйте, запомните:

New words:

witness-box — место для дачи показаний

objection — возражение

accomplice [@'kOmplIs] — соучастник

to testify ['testIfaI] — свидетельствовать

to solve — решать, разрешать

suspect — подозревать

to be free — быть свободным

to bring a verdict — вынести вердикт

to release [rIl'Ös] — освобождать

innocent ['In@s@nt] — невиновный

perjury ['рý³@rI] — лжесвидетельство

to care — заботиться

to exhibit [Ig'zIbIt] — выставлять

to execute ['eksIkjüt] — казнить

marriage — брак

School vocabulary:

to enter, husband, coat, to open, to depend on, idea, to understand, to run.

18.3.3. Прочитайте и переведите:

Pete and Nell go to the pictures (cont.)

Scene III

(The third day of the Vole trial. Mr. Myers, the Counsel for the prosecution is calling his surprise witness, Christine Helm. Christine Vole enters the courtroom. Looking straight in front of her she goes to the witness-box.)

Christine: (reading the oath): I swear by Almighty God1 that evidence I shall give shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Sir Wilfred (addressing the judge): My Lord2, I have the most serious objection to this witness. The thing is that she is the wife of the prisoner Leonard Vole!

Myers: My Lord, I call my learned friend's attention to the fact that I summoned not Mrs Vole but Mrs Helm. (To Christine) Are you actually Mr. Vole's wife?

Christine: No, I went through a marriage ceremony with him in Hamburg, but I already had a husband. He is still alive.

Vole: Christine! That's not true! What she says is unbelievable!

Judge: I don't see any reason why this witness should not be qualified to give evidence.

Myers: Mrs. Helm, did Leonard Vole on the night of the murder return home at 25 past 9 as you had stated to the police?

Christine: No, he returned at ten past ten. This is when he returned? He was breathing hard, very excited. He threw off his coat and examined the sleeves. They had blood on them. He said: «I've killed her».

Vole: Christine! Why are you lying?

Judge: I must have silence!

Christine: I cannot go on lying to save him! I said to the police what he wanted me to say because I'm grateful to him. But I cannot come into the court and swear that he was with me. I don't want to be an accomplice to the murder!

Scene IV

(In Sir Wilfred's study. Sir Wilfred thinks that the evidence given by Christine Helm produced a great impression on the jurors. One question is still puzzling him — what made Christine testify against her husband? Suddenly his telephone rings. He hears a woman's voice. The woman offers to sell him Christine's letters to her lover. Sir Wilfried meets the woman, buys the letters and hurries to the Old Bailey. The courtroom of the Old Bailey.)

Judge: Since the defence has called but one witness, the prisoner, it has the right to be heard last.

Sir Wilfried: My Lord, I ask that the case for the Defence be reopened, and that a witness be recalled. I have the new important evidence — the letters of Christine Helm.

(Christine Helm is called and enters the witness-box.),

Judge: Sir Wilfried, will you read the tetter in question so that the jury may hear it.

Sir Wilfried: (reads) «My beloved Max, an extraor­dinary thing has happened. All our difficulties may soon be solved. Leonard is suspected of murdering the old lady I told you about. His only hope of an alibi depends on me alone. What I say is everything for him. If I testify that he was not at home with me at the time of the murder, that he came home with blood on his sleeves, they will take him away forever, and I shall be free, and yours, my beloved... Christine». And now I ask you Christine Helm, did you write this letter?

Christine: (with tears in her eyes) Yes, I did.

Sir Wilfried: (to the judge) Then that, My Lord, is the case for the defence3.

Scene V

(The jury brings in a verdict of not guilty. Leonard Vole is released. Everyone leaves the courtroom. Sir Wilfried is still sitting in his place. He is not satisfied. Christine enters.)

Christine: Well, let me tell you something, Sir Wilfried. It's not only you who saved Leonard's life. We did it.

Sir Wilfried: We?

Christine: I had the idea that I should be a witness not for my husband, but for the prosecution. The problem was whether you would believe me. It was I who sold these letters to you. There never was a Max. There's never been anyone but Leonard.

Sir Wilfried: And you know he was innocent?

Christine: No. I knew he was guilty. He did have blood on his sleeves. He did tell me he had killed the woman. Only I could save him...

Sir Wilfried: And you saved him. A murderer?

Christine: You don't understand. I love him.

(Vole comes in.)

Vole: (to Sir Wilfried) She fooled you completely, didn't she?

Sir Wilfried: It was you, Vole, who fooled me!

(Suddenly a girl runs up to Vole and they embrace.)

Christine: Leonard, who's this girl?

Girl: I'm not this girl, I am his girl! Tell her Len! We've been going together for months and we're going away.

Christine: You can't, Leonard! Not after what I've done! I won't let you.

Vole: Don't be silly. I saved your life getting you out of Germany, you saved me. So we're even. It's all over now.

Christine: Don't Leonard! Don't leave me! Don't!

Vole: Pull yourself together4. They'll only try you for perjury.

Christine: I don't care! Let them! Let them try me for perjury or... (on the table she sees the knife that was exhibited as evidence in the case)... or better yet... Let them try me for this! (Snatches the knife, runs up to Vole and thrusts it into his chest. Vole falls down.)

Voices: What's happened?

SirWilfried: She's killed him. Oh, no! She's executed him.

(Mrs. Vole is led by two policemen.)

And I'm appearing for the Defence in the trial of Christine Vole!


1. I swear by Almighty God — Клянусь всемо­гущим Господом Богом

2. My Lord — милорд (обращение к судье Высо­кого суда во время судебного заседания)

3. This is the case for the defence — дело выиграно защитой

4. Pull yourself together — возьми себя в руки

18.3.4. В тексте есть 2 случая употребления прида­точных подлежащих и 3 случая придаточных сказуемых. Найдите их и переведите.

18.3.5. Ваш друг пригласил вас на концерт (в кино, и т.д.), но вы по какой-то причине не можете пойти с ним. Объясните ему это.

Model: S1 Will you go to the pictures with me to-night?

S2 I'm awfully sorry, but I can't. The thing/problem is that I have to finish my coursepaper to-night.

18.3.6. Преподаватель спрашивает у вас совета по поводу ваших друзей. Ответьте ему.

Model: I. Helen is so dull to-day. I don't know

how to cheer her up.

S. How to cheer her up is difficult to say.

1 John is inattentive. I don't know how to draw his attention to the subject.

2. I can't find out Mike's address. Can you help me?

3. Bob told so much about his adventures. Do you believe him?

4. They say Henry robbed the bank yesterday. Do you know how to prove his innocence?

5. Irene looks for a nurse for her children. She wants to place an advertisement. Do you know where to place it?

6. Tommy is so nervous to-day. What makes him so nervous?

18.3.7. Друзей Петра обвинили в неблаговидных по­ступках. Он пытается защитить их, но от волнения он он не заканчивает начатые фразы. Помогите ему (используйте придаточные под­лежащие и придаточные сказуемые.)

1. What they say...

2. Whatever happened... .

3. The thing is...

4. The matter is...

5. Whether they committed this act...

6. Whatever you say about them...

18.3.8. Скажите по-английски:

1. То, что говорит этот свидетель, невероятно! 2. Проблема в том, как разрешить это дело. 3. Будет ли сообщник освобожден, еще не ясно. 4. Что бы она ни сказала с места для свидетелей, я ей не поверю. 5. Как доказать, что он не соучастник, — проблема. 6. Дело в том, что он сейчас дает показания.

18.3.9. Приступаем к последнему конкурсу в нашем учебнике: «Кто лучше знает английскую грам­матику?»

а) в тексте этого урока есть 8 времен в Active Voice. Найдите их и разместите в следующей таблице:

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