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English Language for the Legal Profession

English Language for the Legal Profession

If you would like to study or practice law in an English speaking country, then you need a strong command of the English language in a legal context.

Enhance your skills and career prospects with this one-week, intensive EFL programme, residential in a college of the University of Oxford.

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Course Summary

The aim of this course is simple – to improve students’ confidence and ability in using English to communicate in international legal environments.

By taking part in a variety of interesting topic-based tasks and activities, students will develop their knowledge of grammar and vocabulary, and their ability to understand spoken and written English for the legal profession. There is a special focus on natural spoken English and students will have many opportunities to practise speaking in English in authentic law contexts.

Students will also develop their writing skills and practise writing different types of legal texts. Throughout the course students will also be helped to develop their ability to study independently – an invaluable tool for being a successful language learner and legal professional.

We believe in developing learner training strategies and helping students to become independent learners and students will be encouraged to self-correct and peer-correct during class activities. Classes are structured to offer the greatest opportunity for students to communicate and gain the confidence needed to communicate effectively and successfully in English for the legal profession.

This course has been especially designed to actively focus on the areas of legal vocabulary, fluency and pronunciation. Core grammar topics will be reviewed in order to make this passive knowledge active within real world international law situations.

Course Outcomes

Throughout the course, students will be working towards achieving a range of outcomes related to English language competencies, based on the Council of Europe framework.

  • To help students quickly improve and develop greater confidence in their English skills for legal contexts and situations
  • For students to have developed their core legal English language skills
  • To build students’ confidence in their use of spoken and written legal English
  • To develop students’ knowledge of English grammar, syntax and vocabulary used in international law environments
  • To promote discussion in English of legal topics of global interest

Course Outcomes

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Week 1 The practice of law

Reading 

  • Bodies of law
  • Types of law
  • Types of court
  • People in court

Listening

  • Documents in court
  • Lawyers
  • Law firm structure
  • Legal education
  • Law firm structure

Speaking

  • Explaining the meaning of a law
  • Civil court systems
  • Describing a law firm
  • Legal education
Company law: company formation and management

Reading

  • Introducing company law
  • Corporate governance

Listening

  • Company formation
  • Forming a business

Language Focus

  • Vocabulary for roles in company management
  • Shall and may

Speaking

  • Different types of company

Writing

  • A letter of advice
Company law: capitalisation

Reading

  • Introducing company capitalisation
  • Shareholders and supervisory boards

Listening

  • A rights issue
  • Using plain language versus legal terminology

Language focus

  • Vocabulary of shares

Speaking

  • Paraphrasing and expressing opinions

Language focus

  • Contrasting information
  • Common collocations

Writing

  • Summarising
Company law

Reading 

  • Changes in companies

Language focus

  • Opposing concepts in company law
  • Collocations

Listening

  • Explaining legal aspects of an acquisition

Writing

  • Phrases for opening and closing letters and emails

Language focus

  • Explaining a procedure
  • Opening and closing a presentation
Review day & Presentations
Week 2 Contracts and contract formation

Language focus

  • Vocabulary- defences to contract formation
  • Giving emphasis
  • Adverbs

Reading

  • Introduction to contract formation
  • Covenants

Listening

  • Negotiating
  • Contract negotiation

Speaking

  • Negotiating an agreement
  • Paraphrasing clauses

Writing

  • Writing a contract
Contracts: remedies

Language focus

  • Vocabulary- types of damages

Reading

  • Introduction to contract remedies
  • Liquidated damages
  • Understanding contract clauses
  • Types of contract breaches

Language focus

  • Discussing court actions and rulings
  • Using repetition to aid understanding

Listening

  • Remedies and damages

Speaking

  • Contract remedies
  • Interviewing a client

Writing

  • Writing follow up correspondence to a client
Contracts: assignment and third party rights

Language focus

  • Key contract terms
  • Verb+ ing
  • Phrases referring to evidence

Speaking

  • Explaining third party rights
  • Emphatic stress
  • Discussing and evaluating sources of information

Language focus

  • Persuasive writing and speaking
  • Informal style

Reading

  • Understanding contract clauses
  • Closing an argument
  • Keeping informed

Listening

  • Preparing a lawsuit and developing an argument
  • Closing an argument
Employment law

Language focus

  • Vocabulary-key terms
  • Expressing an opinion, agreeing and disagreeing

Reading

  • Introduction to employment law
  • A sex-discrimination case
  • A justified dismissal
  • Unfair dismissal

Language focus

  • Participle clauses with -ing

Listening

  • An employment tribunal claim
  • Liability risks

Speaking

  • Agreeing and disagreeing

Writing

  • Attachments and formality
  • Advising on advantages and disadvantages in an email

 

Review day & Presentations
Week 3 Sale of Goods

Language focus

  • Vocabulary-sale of goods terminology

Reading

  • Introduction to sale of goods legislation
  • Retention of title

Language focus

  • Talking about laws and institutions
  • Vocabulary-terms and conditions of sale

Listening

  • Drafting clauses

Writing and speaking

  • Presenting a case brief
Property Law

Reading

  • Introducing property law
  • Understanding a lease or tenancy agreement
  • A reference email

Language focus

  • Vocabulary- key terms for parties referred to in property law
  • Contrasting ideas

Writing

  • Describing a firm’s practice areas
  • Summarising and requesting

Listening

  • Easements
  • Buying a house

Language focus

  • Classifying and distinguishing different types of categories
  • Structuring and signalling transitions

Speaking

  • Property law case discussio
Intellectual Property

Language focus

  • Intellectual property terminology

Reading

  • Introduction to intellectual property
  • Business method patents
  • Trademark statutes

Writing

  • Notes for a case brief

Listening

  • Training of a junior lawyer
  • Discussing copyright issues and fair use

Language focus

  • Discourse markers as sentence openers
  • Phrases for discussions

Writing and speaking

  • Paraphrasing in plain English
Negotiable instruments

Language focus

  • Negotiable instruments

Reading

  • Introduction to negotiable instruments
  • A promissory note

Listening

  • Drafting a promissory note

Language focus

  • Making suggestions and recommendations

Reading

  • Legislation governing electronic negotiable instruments

Speaking

  • Describing the legal situation: usury

Writing

  • Summarising requirements
  • Providing advice and making suggestions
Review day & Presentations
Week 4 Secured Transactions

Reading

  • Introduction to secured transactions
  • A security agreement

Listening

  • Creating a security interest
  • Intellectual property in secured transactions

Language focus

  • Comparing and contrasting concepts
  • Anticipating events and planning contingencies

Language focus

  • Requesting information
  • Formality/adverb-verb collocations

Reading

  • An unsettled area of the law

Speaking

  • Requesting and presenting information

Writing

  • A polite refusal
Debtor-Creditor

Language focus

  • Vocabulary-Types of lien

Reading

  • Introduction to debtor and creditor concepts
  • Statutes governing attachment
  • A career as an insolvency practitioner

Speaking

  • Discussing insolvency
  • A job interview
  • Discussion on restructuring

Listening

  • Protecting assets from judicial liens
  • Job opportunities in insolvency
Building

Competition Law

Language focus

  • Vocabulary- anti-competition terminology

Reading

  • Introduction to competition law
  • Anti-competitive activities and anti=trust measures

Listening

  • Advising on competition law risks

Language focus

  • Warning a client of risks

Reading

  • Changes in merger regulation

Speaking

  • Giving opinions- a competition case law

Listening

  • Merger control

Writing

  • Writing a proposal
Transnational Commercial Law

Language focus

  • Vocabulary for transnational commercial transactions

Reading

  • Introduction to transnational commercial law
  • Conflict of laws in private international law

Language focus

  • Using cohesion devices

Listening

  • Drafting arbitration clauses
  • Cross border disputes

Writing

  • Planning the contents and structure of a letter
Review day & Presentations
Week 5 Tort Law

Reading

  • Tort law
  • Letter threatening legal action
  • The kent law clinic

Listening

  • Famous lawsuits
  • Lawyer-client interview on Tort law

Language focus

  • Vocabulary-defamation
  • Terminology- reporting procedural history
  • Asking for information

Speaking

  • Case discussion
  • Lawyer-client interviews

Writing

Reply to a demand letter defending or denying allegations made against someone

Criminal Law

Reading

  • Criminal law
  • White collar crime-insider dealing and market abuse

Listening

  • White collar crime in the 21st century

Language focus

  • Vocabulary-punishments
  • Giving advice and expressing obligation

Language Focus

  • Passive constructions
  • Taking about cause and effect
  • Identity theft

Speaking

  • White collar crime presentation
  • Advising a client

Writing

  • Letter of advice
Company Law

Language Focus

  • Vocabulary- who does what in company law?
  • Reading a statute

Reading

  • Company law
  • Breaches of the Companies Act 2006

Listening

  • Lecture on company law
  • Directors meeting

Speaking

  • Lawyer-client role plays on alleged breach of criminal law
Commercial Law

Language focus

  • Vocabulary fields, institutions and concepts in commercial law

Listening

  • Profile of a commercial lawyer
  • Meeting with corporate counsel

Language focus

  • Adverb functions

Reading

  • Commercial law
  • Role of commercial agents
  • Commercial contract agency
  • The Commercial Agents Regulations 1993

Speaking

  • Commercial law options
Review day & Presentations
Week 6 Litigation and Arbitration

Language focus

  • Key terms-phrases used in litigation and arbitration
  • Future forms

Reading

  • Litigation and arbitration
  • Letter of invitation
  • Avoiding litigation
  • Costs of litigation

Language focus

  • Formality in correspondence
  • Establishing the facts

Listening

  • Q&A session
  • Lawyer-client interview

Speaking

  • Talk on litigation
  • Lawyer-client interview

Writing

  • Responding to a letter before taking action
  • Writing a letter before action
International Law

Language focus

  • Terminology- legal instruments

Reading

  • Developments in International law
  • US patent laws
  • Microsoft v AT&T

Language focus

  • Prepositions and prefixes

Listening

  • Multiple jurisdiction challenges

Speaking

  • Debating skills
Comparative Law

Language focus

  • Vocabulary-expressions used in comparative law
  • Explaining, comparing and contrasting

Reading

  • Asset protection

Speaking

  • Advising on asset protection

Writing

  • Letter summarising options

Listening

  • Legal translation
A Career in Law

Language focus

  • Comparative and superlative forms

Reading

  • Graduate recruitment programme and continuing professional development

Listening

  • Graduate recruitment programme

Language focus

  • Structuring a presentation

Speaking and writing

  • Making a presentation on law to a group of graduate recruits to a law firm
Review day & Presentations

 

Assessment Methods

Students’ work and progress will be assessed on a continuous basis and students will carry out a range of spoken and written tasks during the course. To complement your teacher’s assessment.

3 x Short written assignments

1 x Presentation

Campuses

St Andrews University

  • Location St Andrews
  • Ages Ages: 16-18
  • Bedroom Type Superior single
  • Bathroom Type En-suite
  • Year Built Founded in 1413

Yale

  • Location Yale
  • Ages Ages: 13-18
  • Bedroom Type Single & shared sets
  • Bathroom Type Shared (single gender)
  • Year Built Founded in 1701

St Mary’s School

  • Location Ascot
  • Ages Ages: 8-12
  • Bedroom Type Twin & dormitory
  • Bathroom Type Shared (single gender)
  • Year Built Founded in 1885

Uppingham School

  • Location Uppingham
  • Ages Ages: 8-12
  • Bedroom Type Twin & dormitory
  • Bathroom Type Shared (single gender)
  • Year Built Founded in 1584

Merton College

  • Location Oxford
  • Ages Ages: 19+
  • Bedroom Type Single
  • Bathroom Type En-suite & shared (single gender)
  • Year Built Founded in 1264

Oxford College Accommodation

  • Location Oxford
  • Ages Ages: 12+, 13-15, 16-18, 19+
  • Bedroom Type Single and twin
  • Bathroom Type En-suite & Shared (single gender)
  • Year Built Founded in 1096 (University of Oxford)

Cambridge University Accommodation

  • Location Cambridge
  • Ages Ages: 13-15, 16-18
  • Bedroom Type Single and twin
  • Bathroom Type En-suite & shared (single gender)
  • Year Built Founded in 1209 (University of Cambridge)

Imperial College London

  • Location London
  • Ages Ages: 16-18
  • Bedroom Type Single
  • Bathroom Type En-suite
  • Year Built Founded in 1907

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