English for Legal Studies is a two-level-reading textbook for students of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) who have a basic knowledge of English. It is designed primarily for law school students, lawyers, and other legal professionals with interest in learning legal English.
English for Legal Studies is made up of eight thematically-based units, each of which contains two readings. Skill-building and vocabulary-building activities accompany each reading.
An important goal of English for Legal Studies is to help students become confident readers by increasing their vocabulary base and improving their word-comprehension skills. It engages them in the process of reading thoughtfully and encourages them to move beyond merely passive reading. To accomplish this, the BOOK addresses the reading process in a direct manner, and various reading and vocabulary skills are presented as part of that process. The instruction and practice with reading skills help students increase their reading fluency, and equip them with skills they need for academic achievement. Focus on vocabulary-building promotes their language acquisition and academic advancement. Also, the lexical and syntactic content of the readings has been controlled. The tasks are varied, accessible, and engaging, and they provide stimuli for frequent student-teacher and student-student interaction.
Student awareness of reading and thinking processes is further encouraged in many parts of the BOOK by exercises which require students to work in pairs or small groups. In discussions with others, students formulate and articulate their ideas more precisely, and so they acquire new ways of talking and thinking about a text. These activities present opportunities for real-world contact and real-world use of language. Students are asked to write, and then to read each other’s work so they can experience the connection between reading and writing.
Traditionally reading classes are based on one of two approaches: in one approach, class time is primarily spent with students doing individual reading and exercise-completion; in the other, class time is devoted to group discussions of the reading and exercise-completion. Because both approaches are important, this BOOK integrates them by alternating reading activities with speaking and/or writing activities.
Within each unit, students will not only practice reading, but they will also receive instruction in various skills and strategies incorporated into the reading process.
The basic format of each unit in English for Legal Studies is as follows:
These pre-reading questions serve to introduce the topic of the reading and get students thinking about that topic. Activating prior knowledge allows students to tap into what they already know and then build on that knowledge, and stirs curiosity. The questions allow students to interact with each other.
A number of key words and phrases which are common in legal English are explained in simple English. These are followed by a fill-in-the-blanks exercise to make sure that students understand the words and can use them in context. Understanding is crucial to language acquisition.
Scanning and Skimming
In this section students are asked to scan the reading for specific information, or to skim it for main ideas and other general information.
In this section a variety of skill-building and vocabulary-building exercises is introduced: determining the main idea; understanding reading structure; guessing meaning from context; recognizing contextual reference; finding topics and topic sentences; understanding signal terms; making an outline; understanding cause and effect; comparison and contrast; exemplification; classification; understanding antonyms and synonyms, etc. These dynamic skill and vocabulary acquisition exercises ensure that students will develop and acquire the important reading skills and vocabulary needed to make them good readers.
Each unit concludes with discussion questions designed to encourage students to think about, distill, and exchange views about the information they have been presented with throughout the unit. Following the discussion, the students are sometimes requested to write down answers to the discussion questions, a place for students to reflect in writing on the learning in the unit.
Unit 1: A Business Taking Legal Action Against You
Part 1: A Business Taking Legal Action Against You
Reading: A Business Taking Legal Action Against You
Part 2: What can I do if I get a demand for Payment
Reading: What can I do if I get a demand for Payment
Unit 2: Administrative Courts and Administrative Law
Part 1: Administrative Courts and Administrative Law
Reading: Administrative Courts and Administrative Law
Part 2: Small Claims Court
Reading: Small Claims Court
Unit 3: Young People and the Law
Part 1: Young People and the Law
Reading: Young People and the Law
Part 2: Negligence
Unit 4: Courts
Part 1: Courts
Part 2: Legal Terminology
Reading: Legal Terminology
Unit 5: International Law
Part 1: International Law
Reading: International Law
Part 2: Public International Law
Reading: Public International Law
Unit 6: Appellate Court
Part 1: Appellate Court
Reading: Appellate Court
Part 2: Authority to Review
Reading: Authority to Review
Unit 7: Bail vs. Bond
Part 1: Bail vs. Bond
Reading: Bail vs. Bond
Part 2: Who Pays
Reading: Who Pays
Unit 8: Misdemeanours and Felonies
Part 1: Misdemeanours
Part 2: Felonies
Unit 9: Small Claims
Part 1: Small Claims
Reading: Small Claims
Part 2: Small Claims
Reading: Small Claims
Unit 10: Mediation
Part 1: What is Mediation?
Reading: What is Mediation?
Part 2: Appeal and Enforcement