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Text 1 law in ancient greece and rome

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The absolutism of power in the monarch was typical of legal systems until the time of the Greeks around 300 B.C. Before the Greek people believed that their laws were given to them by gods, represented by their kings. The Greek system emphasized that law was made by man, for man, and could be changed by man. Instead of being an instrument of total social control of the whole population by a monarch, the law was to serve peace and prosperity of the people.

In the year of 621 B.C., Draco, Athenian lawgiver, drew up Greece's first written code of laws. This harsh legal code punished both trivial and serious crimes in Athens with death. The word draconian (безжалістний) is still used to describe repressive legal measures.

In 594 B.C. Solon, Athens' lawgiver, repealed Draco's code and published new laws, retaining only Draco's homicide statutes. He revised every statute except that on homicide and made Athenian law more humane. He also retained an ancient Greek tradition — trial by jury. Enslaving debtors was prohibited, along with most of the harsh punishments of Draco's code. Under Solon's law citizens of Athens could be elected to the assembly and courts were established in which citizens could appeal against government decisions.

The Greek ideals were carried over into the Roman system of laws. The Greeks have contributed to the Roman system of laws the concept of «natural law». Actually, natural law was based on the idea that certain basic principles are above the laws of a nation. These principles arise from the nature of people.

As the Roman Empire increased, a set of laws was codified to handle the more sophisticated legal questions of the day. This was done under the sponsorship of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I (from AD 529 to 565). This collection of laws and legal interpretations was called Corpus Juris Civilis («Body of Civil Law») and also the Justinian Code.

French ^ Emperor Napoleon made some modification of the Justinian Code at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Napoleon Code is still the model for the legal codes governing most of the modern nation-states of Europe today.

1 Active Vocabulary:

to represent – презентувати (представляти)

to emphasize – надавати особливого значення; підкреслювати

prosperity – процвітання

Draco – Драконт, афінский законодавець

trivial – звичайний, незначний

to repeal – анулювати, скасовувати закон

to retain – зберігати

homicide – вбивство

sponsorship – заступництво

trial by jury – суд присяжних

to enslave – поневолювати

to appeal – оскаржити

to carry over – переносити

natural law – природне право

Roman Empire – Римська імперія

to handle – справлятися з будь-чим

corpus лат. – звід законів, кодекс

Justinian Code – кодекс Юстиніана

Emperor Napoleon – імператор Наполеон

2 Answer the following questions:

1. What did the ancient Greek system of law emphasize?

2. What was typical of legal systems until the time of the Greeks?

3. What does the word 'draconian' mean and what is the origin of this word?

4. What is the concept of 'natural law'? What is its basic idea?

5. What was Solon? What contribution to ancient law did he make?



In 1215, the English barons forced the English King John I to sign and adopt the Magna Carta, which provided for them certain guarantees and protection against unreasonable acts of the king. Later, the Magna Carta was revised, and other documents, such as the English Bill of Rights (1689), were adopted.

When the thirteen American colonies broke away from Great Britain after the Revolutionary War, the colonists adopted the principles of the Magna Carta and the common law. These principles became the foundation of the legal system of US federal government and of all the states.

Today, the two great systems of law in the Western world are the ^ Common law of the English-speaking world and the Roman civil law found on the continent of Europe. Both systems have the same objectives, but they differ in origins and methods. The Roman civil law originated in codes (systematic collections of written rules of law) imposed on the people by the emperors of ancient Rome. In contrast, the English common law originated in decisions of judges based on widely held customs of the people. Also, English common law uniquely provides for trial by a jury of one's peers (equals).

The English colonies in America recognized the English common law as governing until July 4, 1776. After that date, existing rules were retained, but further changes in the law were made in the courts of the newly formed American country. The Common Law, with its emphasis on judges making rules of law, continues to serve well till now.

^ 1 Active Vocabulary:

the Magna Carta – Велика хартія вільностей

to force – змушувати

Bill of Rights – Білль про права

to break away – відділитися

unreasonable – нерозумний, необдуманий

objective – ціль, мета

in contrast – на противагу чому-небудь

to provide for – передбачати

Common Law – загальне право

Roman civil law – Римське громадське право

peer – рівня

trial – судовий розгляд; судовий процес, суд

emphasis – акцент

equity – справедливість; суб`єктивне право, засноване на нормах справедливості

2 Answer the questions:

1. When was the Magna Carta adopted?

2. What did the Magna Carta provide?

3. What principles of law did first American states adopt after they broke away from Great Britain?

4. How do the two great systems of law, Common law and the Roman civil law, differ?

3 Match the following:

1. common law;

2. equity;

3. Magna Carta;

4. Roman civil law;

5. specific performance.

a) completion of an agreement as promised;

b) body of regulations imposed by emperors of ancient Rome;

с) great charter of liberties for English people;

d form of justice administered when there is no suit­able remedy available in common law courts;

e) case law, reflecting customs of the people.

^ Translate into English:

1 Сегодня в мире имеются две большие системы закона - Общий закон в англоязычных странах и Римское гражданского право в Европе и ряде других стран. 2 Обе системы имеют одинаковые цели, но они отличаются по происхождению и методам.

3 Римское гражданское право основано на кодексах, принятых императорами Древнего Рима. ^ 4 Английский Общий закон основан на предыдущих решениях судей. 5 Общий закон предусматривает использование суда присяжных.


Law enforcement and the courts


Many persons decide too quickly to litigate their disputes — to take their disputes to court. When someone injures another person or fails to keep a binding agreement, he usually first tries to settle the matter by direct negotiation. The injured party should discuss the problem with the wrongdoer as calmly as possible. The two of them can often reach a mutually acceptable solution. If there has been an automobile accident and the prospective defendant is injured, the insurance company will sometimes send an insurance adjuster to the injured prospective plaintiff. The adjuster tries to learn the facts about the accident and may suggest a mutually acceptable settlement.

In some cases, an independent third party may be called in to act as mediator (also known as a conciliator арбiтр, світовий посередник). The mediator talks to both parties and tries to develop a solution acceptable to both parties.

In other cases, an independent third party known as an arbitrator may be brought in by agreement of the parties. Sometimes original agreement between the parties has a provision for arbitration of disputes. The arbitrator's decision, unlike thai of a mediator, is binding on both parties. By using negotiation, mediation, or arbitration, the disputing parties may avoid the heavy costs and delays and difficulties of litigation (court trial). Moreover, the arbitrator's decision (award) can be enforced by court order if necessary.

When no provision has been made for arbitration, and if the parties cannot reach an agreement by any other method, either party may go to court. However, courts generally treat the decisions of arbitrators as final; the matter cannot be reheard by a trial court.

^ 1 Active Vocabulary:

law enforcement – застосування законів; забезпечення правопорядку

to litigate – судитися

litigation – позов; судовий процес

to resolve – дозволяти; вирішувати (завдання, проблему)

to injure – чинити зло, псувати

injured party – постраждала сторона, сторона, що зазнала збитків

defendant – відповідач

binding agreement – згода, що зобов’язує обидві сторони

binding – обов’язковий; примусовий

wrongdoer – злочинець; правопорушник

negotiation – переговори, перемови

arbitration – арбітраж

mediation – посередництво

mutually acceptable solution – взаємоприйнятне рішення

settlement – врегулювання; згода

provision – умова (договору тощо)

insurance adjuster – оцінювач (таксатор) розмірів страхового збитку

mediator – посередник, примирник

arbitrator – третейський суддя, арбітр

to rehear – знову заслуховувати справу

2 Answer the questions:

1. What are the ways to solve the dispute privately with­out litigation?

2. What is the role of mediator (arbitrator) in the reso­lution of private disputes?

3. When may the party go to court?

4. What decisions do courts generally treat?



A criminal action is a lawsuit brought by the state (also known as the people) against a person accused of a crime. If found innocent the person is released. If found guilty, the person is sentenced by the judge. Under law, a person is presumed to be innocent until:

(1)guilt is admitted or,

(2)guilt is proven doubt in a competent court.

^ Codes of procedure specify in detail the conduct of a trial. This is done to protect the rights of the accused person.

The first step is usually an investigation to determine who may have committed a reported crime. The investigators seek evidence to present in court. Usually an arrest warrant (written court order) must be issued by a court for the suspect to be arrested. Upon arrest, the suspect must be booked (fingerprinted and photographed). After the booking, a judge, in a preliminary hearing, determines whether the suspect shall be kept in jail or released on bail. Bail is a sum of money or property deposited or pledged to guarantee that the arrested person will appear for a preliminary hearing or trial. The amount in each case is set by the judge.

In some cases, the accused person may be released on his own recognizance. This means that the suspect promises to appear as scheduled without putting up bail. This usually happens if the accused is a reputable citizen with substantial assets.

For some minor offenses, including most traffic violations, the arresting officer may give the offending person a citation. This is a notice that identifies the offense and directs the person to:

1) appear in court at a specified time if he or she wants to dispute the charge or

2) pay a prescribed amount without appearing in court. The amount is a standardized fine for the offense.

In some states and at the federal level, an indictment by a grand jury is required before a person can be brought to trial for a felony (serious crime punishable either by death or by imprisonment for more than one year). An indictment is a written accusation, which declares that there is sufficient evidence to try the identified individ­ual for a specified crime. A grand jury is a group of citizens selected to hear, in secret, the evidence of alleged crimes submitted by the prosecutor.

One who has not been indicted by a grand jury is given a preliminary hearing before a judge. The purpose of the hearing is to determine from the evidence whether the accused person should be released or held for trial as charged offender. After the filing of the formal charge, the accused person is called the defendant. A defendant is the person against whom a criminal (or civil) action is brought. In a criminal action, the state — the party bringing suit against the defendant — is known as the prosecution.

Before the criminal trial, the defendant is brought before the court to hear the formal charges. The defendant is also required to plead guilty or not guilty. This court proceeding is known as arraignment. If the defendant pleads guilty, the defendant is sentenced. If the plea is not guilty, the defendant must stand trial.

^ 1 Active Vocabulary:

criminal action – кримінальна справа

arrest warrant – ордер на арешт

guilt – провина

Codes of procedure – процесуальний кодекс

to presume – припускати (допускати)

innocent – невинна людина

charged offender – обвинувачуваний

to plead guilty – визнавати себе винним

to bring (take) an action – порушувати справу

to release on bail – звільнення на поруки (звільнення під заставу)

to pledge – віддавати під заставу

to book - реєструвати

preliminary hearing – попереднє розслідування (слухання справи)

recognizance – підписка про невиїзд

with substantial assets – забезпечений, заможний

suspect – підозрюваний

citation – повістка про виклик до суду

notice – сповіщення, повідомлення

indictment – обвинувальне заключення (висновок); офіційне обвинувачення

grand jury – велике журі; присяжні, що вирішують питання про передання суду

formal charge – формальне обвинувачення

defendant – відповідач; обвинувачуваний, підсудний

prosecution – обвинувачування (сторона в судовому процесі)

to plead guilty – визнавати себе винним

arraignment – прилучення до суду; подання обвинувачення

to sentence – виносити вирок; присуджувати

to plead – звертатися з проханням; ходатайствувати

to stand (undergo) trial – ставати перед судом

lawsuit – судовий процес; позов

plea – заява, зроблена в суді однією зі сторін

proven – доведений, доказаний

2 Answer the questions:

1 What is a criminal action?

2 When is a person presumed to be innocent?

3 What are the steps of a trial?

4 What does release on bail mean?

5 What does release on recognizance mean?

6 What is a citation?

7 What is an indictment?

8 What is a grand jury?

9 What are the parties at the criminal trial?

10 When is the defendant sentenced in a criminal law­suit?

^ 3 Match the following:

1 court

2 trial court

3 appellate court

4 transcript

5 criminal action

6 bail

7 recognizance

8 citation

9 indictment

10 grand jury

11 defendant

12 prosecution

13 arraignment

a) court that reviews trial court decisions;

b) lawsuit brought against a person accused of a crime с copy of the written record of a trial;

с) promise of the accused person to appear in court, without posting bail;

d) group of citizens selected to hear evidence of alleged


e) court where a dispute is first heard;

f)person against whom a criminal (or civil) action is

brought ;

g) tribunal established to administer justice ;

h) deposit of money to guarantee appearance at one's trial ;

і) order requiring a defendant to appear in court ;

j) court proceeding where the defendant pleads guilty or not guilty to the formal charge of a crime ;

k) state as the party bringing a legal action against a person accused of a crime ;

l) accusation by a grand jury declaring there is reason to try a person for a crime.



A person injured by the wrongful conduct of another may be able to obtain relief from the court and bring a civil action against the wrongdoer.

A civil action involves two parties. Each of these parties may consist of one or more persons. The party who brings a civil action in order to enforce a private right is the plaintiff. The party against whom the civil action is brought is the defendant.

In state courts, the plaintiff begins a civil action by filing of complaint with the clerk of the court. This step is usually done by the attorney for the plaintiff. The complaint states the plaintiff's claims, which allegedly justify the relief demanded.

Next, the defendant must be properly served with a copy of the complaint and with a summons. The summons is a court order, obtained by the plaintiff, which directs the defendant to answer the complaint. The defendant normally files an answer (statement in reply). In the answer, the defendant may do any one of the following:

1 Declare that even if the facts alleged in the complaint are true, they do not constitute a wrong for which the defendant has any duty to pay or otherwise act. This is an issue of law which is decided by the judge in a hearing.

2 Deny the truth of the facts alleged in the complaint. This raises an issue of fact. The dispute can then proceed to trial.

3 Admit the facts alleged but introduce other facts that excuse the defendant from liability. The dispute can then proceed to trial.

If the defendant does not answer the complaint within the time allowed (generally not more than 20 days), the plaintiff may win the case by default judgment.

Both parties may engage in discovery procedures. These pretrial procedures are done under court order to obtain facts about the case and to identify the issues in dispute that require decision at the trial. A very frequently used discovery procedure is the deposition. In a deposition, parties and witnesses are questioned under oath by the opposing attorney usually in the office of one of the attorneys, and in the presence of a court reporter, who makes a written record of what is said. Depositions and other discovery procedures, such as physical examinations of persons claiming they were injured, help the attorneys learn the facts before the trial. The process greatly assists both attorneys in preparing for the trial and often leads to out-of-court settlements.

At this point, a pretrial hearing may be held by the judge and the attorneys to specify what issues of fact must be decided at the trial. Often, an attempt is made to resolve the differences without trial. If the attorneys cannot compromise and agree on some settlement, either party may ask the court to set a date for the trial.

^ 1 Active Vocabulary:

to bring a civil action – порушувати громадянський позов (справу)

plaintiff – позивач

claim – позов; претензія

filing of complaint – подача (подання) позову

attorney (lawyer) – адвокат; юрист

constitute a wrong – складати правопорушення

summons – судова повістка, виклик до суду

answer – заперечення відповідача

otherwise – інакше; по-іншому

to compel – змушувати, примушувати

liability – відповідальність

to excuse from liability – звільняти від відповідальності

to enforce a private right – виконання (здійснення) особистих прав

issue – предмет позову

issue of law – питання права

issue of fact – фактичний бік справи (спірне питання, коли одна сторона заперечує факти, що наводить друга сторона)

to introduce – наводити

to serve – вручати

to deny – заперечувати

to win the case – вигравати справу

opposing attorney – прокурор

court reporter – протоколіст суду; судовий секретар

under oath – під присягою

default judgment – заочне рішення суду на користь позивача (у разі нез`явлення відповідача)

discovery procedures – процедура пошуку документів, які могли б бути підтримкою в доказі вимог тієї чи іншої сторони

deposition – письмове свідчення під присягою

district attorney, circuit attorney – прокурор штату (в США)

to file –звертатися (із заявою), подавати будь-який документ (for; with)

default – нез’явлення в суд

out-of-court settlement – позасудове врегулювання; угода

pretrial hearing – попередній розгляд справи суддею та адвокатами

complaint – позов, скарга

relief demanded – необхідна допомога

to justify – виправдовувати, пояснювати, підтверджувати

alleged murderer – особа, звинувачувана у вбивстві

defendant – відповідач

allegedly буцім-то, ніби-то

alleged – стверджувальний

2 Answer the questions:

1 What are the two parties to the civil action?

2 Who files the complaint?

3 What is an answer?

4 What is a deposition?

5 What may the defendant do in an answer to the claim?

6 What are the discovery procedures needed for?

7 What is the role of a court reporter?

8 What is a pretrial hearing?

^ 3 Match the following:

1 answer

2 complaint

3 default judgment

4 deposition

5 discovery procedures

6 plaintiff

7 pretrial hearing

8 summons

a one who brings a civil action

b conference of the judge with the opposing attorneys before the trial

с court-ordered means of getting facts about the dispute from the opposing party and witnesses before the trial

d judgment given (without a trial) to the plaintiff when the defendant fails to answer the complaint

e pretrial questioning of the opposing party and witnesses under oath

f defendant's statement in reply to the plaintiff's complaint

g court order directing the defendant to answer the

plaintiff's complaint

h first paper in



The scope of the law necessarily makes it complex, and complexity has created the need for specialists, namely lawyers. This puts the practice of law well beyond the reach of the layman. For legal assistance in specific instances, the services of a competent professional usually are advisable.

Basically, law is a system of rules. Members of a society establish these rules in order to live in relative harmony. To achieve this end, the individual relinquishes certain rights for the good of the group. For example, each person in this country has surrendered the right to drive on the left side of the highway in order for everyone to drive in relative safety.

Law can also be defined as a standard of conduct, which regulates the relation of the individual to the central government, the relation of the government to the individual, and the relations among the individuals. If there is a conflict in these relations, the law also provides an institution, the court system, through which the respective sides can litigate a problem and reach a solution.

The court is used to determine conflicts between two individuals and to provide a forum for the enforcement of criminal law. The United States possesses a unique court system in that there is a state system and a federal system.

State courts determine almost all questions concerning wills, crime, contracts, personal injuries, and domestic relations. Federal jurisdiction is invoked in questions concerning the United States Constitution, federal laws, conflicts between states, and civil suits involving citizens of different states. This last category is called diversity jurisdiction. Although cases involving federal statutes are usually heard in federal courts, some can be heard in state courts as well.

In general, state courts hear both civil and criminal cases. Jurisdiction in the two areas of law is often established by separate statutes. Usually, at one time, some judges are assigned to criminal cases while others hear civil cases. However the method of assigning cases varies among the different states.

^ 1 Active vocabulary:

a lawyer – юрист, адвокат

a layman – непрофесіонал, дилетант

to relinquish – відмовлятися від права

to surrender – уступати, підкорятися

conduct – поведінка

a court system – судова система

to litigate – судитися, сперечатися, бути стороною на процесі

enforcement – примус

a will – заповіт

a crime – злочин

injury – тілесне пошкодження

a civil suit – цивільний позив

a case – справа

a judge – суддя

2 Answer the questions to the text:

1 What is law? What do we need it for?

2 Why do we say that the United State possesses a unique court system?

3 What puts the practice of law beyond the reach of the layman?

^ 3 Choose the right answer:

1 State courts hear ...

a) civil cases b) criminal cases c) both cases

2 State courts consider ...

a) civil suits of different state citizens

b) domestic relations c) conflicts between states

3 Federal courts determine questions concerning ...

a) personal injuries b) US Constitution c) contracts



In a civil case, a dispute between individuals is heard and determined. If the individuals desire, they usually can have the case heard before a jury selected from a community. But if the individuals wish or the state requires it a judge will hear the case alone. An example of a civil suit would be as follows: Baker sues Dodd for damage; resulting from injuries sustained in an automobile accident.

In a state criminal court, the judge and jury determine whether the state has proven its criminal charges beyond a reasonable doubt. If the state fails to prove its case, the defendant will be acquitted. If the jury is satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty, it will convict him. However, it should be noted that a criminal defendant also can waive his right to a jury trial and appear solely before a judge.

Essentially, the federal court was established to decide the law in cases concerning the Constitution, federal laws, citizen of diverse state, and conflicts between states. In the first situation the court is asked to apply a specific constitutional provision or to settle a case arising out of a federal statute, either civil or criminal. In other words, it decides a federal question. Secondly, the court settles private disputes between two individuals who are citizens of different states. In this situation, it might be unfair to force one litigant into the state court system of the other. Therefore the federal court system may handle these diversity suits. However, they can be heard in a state court if that court obtains jurisdiction over both parties.

Both the state and federal court system' have courts of original jurisdiction, and courts of appellate jurisdiction. The court of original jurisdiction is also known as the trial court. It is in this court that a civil or criminal proceeding is started and initially decided. A civil proceeding, for example, begins when the plaintiff files his complaint with the court. This is a legal document in which a plaintiff alleges that another person has injured him in some way and requests damages or other relief for the injury. When the judge or jury brings in a verdict, the initial civil or criminal proceeding is then considered complete.

Both the state and federal court system have appellate courts. A court of appellate jurisdiction reviews the proceedings at the trial level and determines whether the trial court's decision should be affirmed or reversed. In general, if the litigant files an appeal, the appellate court must consider the case and render its opinion.

^ 1 Active Vocabulary:

to determine – вирішувати справу

a jury – присяжні, журі

to sue – позивати

damage – ушкодження

charge – звинувачення

defendant – звинувачуваний; відповідач

to be acquitted – бути виправданим

beyond a reasonable doubt – без сумніву

to be guilty – бути винним

to convict – засуджувати

a trial – судовий процес

a provision – положення

a litigant – сторона на судовому процесі

a party – сторона на процесі

a plaintiff – позивач

to file complaint – подавати скаргу

to file an appeal – подавати апеляцію

2 Answer the questions to the text:

1 Are civil cases heard before a jury selected from the community or before a judge?

2 What cases are initially decided in courts of original jurisdiction?

3 What kind of document is a complaint?

^ 3 Choose the right answer:

1 If the state has proved the criminal charge, the defendant

a) is convicted b) is arrested c) is acquitted

2 The trial court is also called as ...

a) the court of original jurisdiction;

b) the court of appellate jurisdiction;

c) the magistrate’s court.

3 A civil proceeding starts when the plaintiff files his ...

a) verdict b) complaint c) claim



At some time in his life, almost every individual is a victim of circumstances, which would justify his taking another person to court. In most cases, litigation is impractical because the cost of going to court will be more than the sum involved.

The small claims court provided an answer. The purpose of the small claims court system is to provide a friendly forum for the litigation of cases that have high personal importance but involve little money.

A qualified judge presides over most small claims court proceedings. All such courts have jurisdictional limits. For example, the limit in the District of Columbia is $ 750. Instead of the usual court costs, there is only a nominal filing fee of one or two dollars.

The most economical aspect of the system is that a party doesn't need to consult a lawyer. The form used to file a claim is simple. A knowledge of legal terms is unnecessary. The plaintiff — the person who starts the legal action — merely describes in his own words the basis of his claim against the defendant. If the individual requires assistance, the clerk of the court can provide it.

At the start of the hearing, the person who filed the suit, or plaintiff, tells his story to the judge. The judge and the defendant then ask questions of the plaintiff. Next, witnesses relate their stories. If the defendant believes he is not responsible for the claim, he tells his side of the story. The judge and the plaintiff can ask questions of the defendant and his witnesses. After the judge has listened to both sides of the story, he makes his determination based on substantial justice.

Thus, the small claims court allows the individual to have his day in court without costs, without the need of a lawyer (although in most states he may have one if he desires), and without becoming involved in the technical procedures that normally govern a legal proceeding.

^ 1 Active Vocabulary:

a victim – жертва

litigation – тяжба, спір

a small claim court – суд малих позовів

a proceeding – судовий процес

court costs – судові витрати

to file a claim – подавати позов

a plaintiff – позивач

a defendant – відповідач

a witness – свідок

to be responsible for – відповідати за щось

to govern – керувати

2 Answer the questions to the text:

1 What cases does a small claims court hear?

2 Who starts the legal action in the small claims court proceeding?

3 What are the advantages of the small claims court?

^ 3 Choose the right answer:

1 Most small claims courts proceedings are presided by ...

a) a layman b) an intrained individual

c) a qualified judge

2 The hearing at the proceeding is started by ...

a) a witness b) a plaintiff c) a defendant

3 The economical aspects of the small claims court system are that ...

a) the clerk of the court provides assistance to you;

b) you needn’t to consult a lawyer;

c) knowledge of legal terms is unnecessary.



In a civil action tried by a jury, the jury determines whether the plaintiff or the defendant wins the law suit. If damages are to be awarded, the jury decides how much money the successful party receives. In criminal law the jury must be persuaded beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty before he can be convicted of the crime.

There are two kinds of juries: the petit or "petty" jury and the grand jury. The petit jury is a fact-finding body that decides civil cases and determines the guilt of an accused in a criminal trial. The grand jury is an accusatory body. It functions solely in criminal law. The grand jury hears preliminary prosecution evidence and determines whether that evidence is sufficient to indict of legally charge the person with a crime. When a grand jury indicts an individual, it charges him with a specific offence. The accused is then tried by a petit jury, which determines his guilt or innocence of that charge. Thus, the two juries each have important functions to perform.

In general, a prospective juror must meet the following requirements: He must be a citizen of the United States between twenty one and seventy years of age, in possession of his reasoning faculties, and in reasonably good health. However, the state laws governing the jury qualifications vary.

In most states certain conditions automatically disqualify an individual from serving on a jury. For instance, a person convicted of a felony or of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude (conduct contrary to honesty, justice, modesty, or good morals) Cannot serve. The laws of many states specifically disqualify from jury duty members of parties or organizations, which advocate the violent overthrow of the government.

The juror performs his all-important function during the trial. He must listen to all the evidence and determine which witnesses are telling the truth. At the end of the trial, the jury returns to its private room where it deliberates on the case and seeks to agree on a verdict. In his determination of the facts, the individual juror must make his decision in accordance with the instructions of the law given by the judge. Because compromises and other improper means of arriving at a verdict are occasionally employed, the use of a jury has been criticized. However, no one can deny that the jury has proven an effective means to determine litigated questions among the nation's citizens.

^ 1 Active Vocabulary:

to try – розглядати

law suit – позов; тяжба; процес

to be persuaded – бути переконаним

a defendant – звинувачений; підсудний

a petit jury – присяжні, що розглядають цивільні та кримінальні справи; мале «журі»

a grand jury – «велике журі»; присяжні, що виносять рішення щодо підсудності справи

guilt – вина

an accused – звинувачуваний

a criminal trial – карний процес

prosecution – сторона обвинувачення

evidence – доказ, свідоцтво

innocence – невинуватість

a felony – карний злочин

a misdemeanor – приступок

turpitude – хибність, підлість, ганебна поведінка

violent overthrow – насильницьке скидання (повалення)

a venireman – претендент

2 Answer the questions to the text:

1 What is the difference between the petit jury and the grand jury?

2 What requirements must a juror meet?

3 What conditions disqualify a person from serving on a jury?

4 What are juror’s functions during the trial?

^ 3 Choose the right answer:

1 The grand jury determines ...

a) whether prosecution evidence is sufficient;

b) the guilt of an accused in a criminal trial;

c) how much money the successful party receives.

2 The juror must listen to the evidence and determine ...

a) whether a venireman is qualified;

b) whether a defendant is guilty;

c) which witnesses are telling truth.

3 A person ... cannot serve as a juror.

a) who belongs to the professions of important public services;

b) who is in possession of his reasoning faculties;

c) who is convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor.



Lawyers handle only the legal procedures of a trial and the substantive law involved. The individual witnesses provide the facts. This is an extremely important function, especially when one considers that a trial is nothing more than a forum in which each party, through its witnesses, is given a chance to tell his side of the story. After hearing all the testimony, the jury then decides which are the true facts.

It is clear that the individual witness has a significant bearing on the outcome of a trial. It is important, therefore, to know what is expected of a witness when he appears at a trial.

If a person witnesses an event which may become the subject of a lawsuit, he will soon find himself interviewed by attorneys or investigators from both sides. In some instances, one interview will take place with attorneys from both sides and will be recorded word for word. This is called a deposition and affords a fair method for the lawyers to discover the relevant facts. At the initial interview, the attorney representing the party for whom the individual is testifying will go over the facts with the witness. They will also discuss the format of the questions that will be asked on direct examination, sometimes question by question. The lawyer will attempt to prepare the witness for the type of questions he can expect during the cross-examination.

Juries determine facts both by what is said and by the manner in which it is said. As soon as a person takes the witness stand, the jurors, consciously or subconsciously, begin to formulate impressions on his credibility.

In summary, the layman is the best witness when he presents a respectable physical appearance, honestly relates the facts as he remembers them, does not fabricate to put together the loose ends of his memory, and gives clear, forthright answers.

^ 1 Active Vocabulary:

testimony – показання, доказ, свідчення

a significant bearing – значний вплив

outcome – наслідки; результат

a lawsuit – судовий розгляд

an attorney – адвокат

an investigator – слідчий

a deposition – свідчення під присягою

an interview – допит, опитування

a cross-examination – перехресний допит

to take a witness stand – займати місце давання показань свідків

credibility – імовірність, правдоподібність

to put together the loose ends of somebody’s memory – зводити кінці з кінцями

2 Answer the questions to the text:

1 Why is providing the facts by witness considered to be an extremely important function?

2 What is called a deposition? What is it used for?

3 What are the best assets for a witness?

3 Choose the right answer:

1 A layman is the best witness when he ...

a) appears insincere; b) gives forthright answers;

c) is obviously prejudiced toward one side.

2 A deposition is a fair method for the lawyers ...

a) to convict an accused;

b) to formulate their impressions of the witness;

c) to discover relevant facts.

3 At the initial interview the attorney will ...

a) prepare the witness for the possible questions;

b) make the witness give evidence;

c) convict the witness of crime.


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