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UNIT 3: BRANCHES OF LAW

The objectives of this unit are:

to develop skills in: to teach and practise


these language items:
SECTION SPEAKING LISTENING WRITING READING

A. Classification of Group discussion Listening for specific Taking notes Skimming False friends
Law information
Comparing curricula Reading for detail Language for comparing/
describing / explaining

B. Criminal vs. Civil Pronunciation Listening for specific Transferring information Reading for gist Legal terminology
Law information onto a table

C. Giving Information Roleplaying a Listening to peers Writing an e-mail Reading for gist Language of telephoning
on Courses – Role telephone during the role play message (description of
Play conversation: courses)
requesting / giving
information on
curricula
Unit 3 BRANCHES OF LAW
Section A Classification of Law

A.1 The Law Faculty Curriculum

A.1.1 What legal subjects do you study this year? In groups brainstorm as many subjects as you can think of
which make up a law degree. You may compare your ideas with the curriculum provided at the end of the
unit (Appendix).

A.1.2 Here are some short course descriptions from the Lancaster University prospectus. Match them with
the names of the courses in the box.

1. Common Law
2. Criminal Law
3. European Union Law I
4. European Union Law II
5. Foundations of English & European Union Law
6. Introduction to Comparative Law I
7. Introduction to Comparative Law II
8. Public Law

○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○
○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○
A. ______________________________
This course provides a broad introduction to the main techniques, methods and sources involved
in undertaking legal research. It provides a critical understanding of the historical development
of law, the sources of law (including European Community Law), the main institutions within
which the law is administered, the personnel who practise the law, the cultural and political
significance of law and legal institutions and their interpretative processes whose workings un-
derpin the presence of law in society. The course covers the professional Foundation subject
Foundations of European Union Law.

B. ______________________________
This course provides an introduction to the comparative analysis of legal phenomena. Students
will be introduced to the main features of different legal systems, to see how they compare and
contrast with the English legal system. Much emphasis will be put on the European civil law
legal systems, especially in France and Germany. Students will be introduced to some of the
historical reasons for the development of legal systems, looking at the divergence and conver-
gence of legal systems. Finally, students will be introduced to comparative law methodology, i.e.
how does one compare legal phenomena in different systems in a meaningful way? Knowledge of
a foreign language, though desirable, is not essential. On some occasions a foreign lawyer will
give lectures on their national legal systems.

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C. ______________________________
○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○
This course is an introductory course on the law of obligations. It introduces students to the underlying
conceptual framework and covers the basic principles of contract and tort law. It is designed to provide a
foundation for more advanced optional courses in this area of law which can be taken in Part II. The
teaching and learning methodology involves an emphasis on independent study and research within a context
of learning support teams. A significant element of the course promotes skills acquisition, both generic and
specifically legal, through the use of practical seminar exercises, which involve case-study classes, oral
presentations, mooting and team-based negotiation sessions. Extensive use is made of learning technologies
such as Law Courseware and WWW-conferencing to support students’ independent study. The course
covers the professional Foundation Subjects Obligations I & II (Contract & Tort).
D. _______________________________
This course is divided into three topic areas: Constitutional Law, Civil Liberties and Administrative Law. In
Constitutional Law, topics covered include: the constitutional actors and their roles, parliamentary sovereignty
and the European Union and constitutional conventions. In Civil Liberties, students will examine human
rights in Britain, with particular attention given to the police powers, government secrecy, and censorship.
Judicial review of administrative action, abuse of discretion and natural justice are covered in Part III of the
course.
E. ________________________________
This course is designed for students who want the opportunity to study in depth selected aspects of EC Law
and Policy in a contemporary context, especially the free movement of goods, services, persons and capital;
competition law and policy and its enforcement; the internal market, and other topics such as intellectual
property law and social policy.
F. ________________________________
This branch of law is largely concerned with the prevention and punishment of certain kinds of conduct. It
is a body of rules designed to cover activities deemed “criminal”. This course introduces students to, and
conducts a broad investigation of, the body of rules which make up Criminal Law. However, as Criminal
law is more than a body of rules, the course also examines how the law attributes criminal responsibility
from a wide perspective. Particular attention is given to offences against persons and property. The course
considers the nature, function and rationale of various criminal offences and evaluates the scope for reform.
G. _______________________________
This course offers an introduction to the history of European integration, the structure and role of major
Community institutions, the sources of Community law, the relationship between community law and national
legal systems, and the application of Community law in the national courts (with particular reference to the
English context).
H. ____________________________
This course continues an introduction to the comparative analysis of legal phenomena. In this half-unit
students will be introduced to certain substantive areas of the law, especially in the area of the law of
obligations. Students will study these areas of law in a comparative context which emphasises the role of
history, European developments and the policies and principles which underlie particular solutions to legal
problems. Much emphasis will be put on the European civil law legal systems, especially France and Germany,
though reference will also be made to other civil law and common law jurisdictions. On some occasions a
foreign lawyer may be asked to give lectures on their national legal systems. Knowledge of a foreign
language, though desirable, is not essential. Introduction to Comparative Law I is a pre-requisite for this
course (unless a student can otherwise demonstrate an adequate grounding in comparative law).
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Unit 3: BRANCHES OF LAW

A.2 False Friends


The following words from the prospectus excerpts above have a different meaning from Romanian words
with very similar or identical form. Can you point out their respective meanings? What other false friends
can you think of?
“to support students’ independent study” (C) “contract and tort” (C)
“topics covered include” (D) “abuse of discretion” (D)
“the scope for reform” (F) “substantive areas” (H)
“rationale of criminal offences ” (F)

A.3 How does the curriculum of the Romanian faculty of law compare to that of a British one? Discuss, using
words and phrases from the language boxes below and other phrases you can find in the Lancaster University
prospectus (A.1.2).

Useful language
Referring to the main aim of the course Comparing and contrasting

The course introduces students to … There are differences/ similarities in…


… is designed to provide a foundation for … … whereas …
Unlike …
… in the same way …
Similarly …

Mentioning area(s) covered Referring to specific aspects/ Special emphasis


Topics covered include …
(Much) Emphasis is put on …
… which involve …
A significant element of the course promotes …

A.4 A Lecture on Law


A.4.1 You are going to listen to the beginning of a lecture, which is the first in a series about law. The
presenter will speak about the topics listed below. Mark them in the order in which they are mentioned.
TOPICS
The influence of law on our lives
Civil and criminal law
The nature of law
Public and private law

What examples were given of situations covered by laws on:


• Working conditions
• Leisure pursuits
• Personal relationships

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Unit 3: BRANCHES OF LAW

A.4.2 Listen to the next part of the lecture and take notes on the areas covered by the branches of law that
are mentioned.
Branch of law Area covered

Public Law

Constitutional Law

Administrative Law

Criminal Law

Private Law

Can you provide similar explanations about the branches that were not explained by the lecturer? Work in pairs.
Useful language

It refers to… body of law defining … Its influence extends to…

… law concerning… It governs… It is often contrasted with…


It is confined to… … is concerned with…

info box

The British Constitution is just as important to the British as the US Constitution


is to the Americans. Nevertheless, it is not written; that is to say, it has never been
wholly reduced to writing. This does not mean, however, that the British possess no
important constitutional documents; it merely means that the constitution is not
embodied in any single document, or series of documents, containing their essential
constitutional laws.

Many constitutional rules are ‘laws’ in the ordinary sense, that is to say, they will be
recognized and enforced by the courts. But there are certain other rules which govern
the working of the constitution, which are not laws in this sense. They are called
‘conventions’, because they arise from usage, or agreement.

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Unit 3: BRANCHES OF LAW

Section B Criminal vs. Civil Law


B.1 Warm up. Match the following words with their definitions: e.g. 1 – h
1. Prosecution a) A court order placing an offender under supervision instead of a
sentence of imprisonment
2. Defendant b) A document that sets out legal rules and has been passed by the
3. Conviction Parliament
c) A person against whom court proceedings are brought
4. Probation order d) A person applying for relief against another person in an action, suit,
5. Enactment petition, motion, summons or any other form of court proceedings
e) A remedy in the form of a court order to do or not to do something
6. Act f) An Act of Parliament, an order or any other piece of subordinate
7. *Plaintiff legislation, or any particular provision contained in any of these
g) The judgement that a person is found guilty of a crime
8. Injunction
h) The pursuit of legal proceedings, particularly criminal proceedings

*From year 2000 in the UK plaintiff has been replaced with claimant. Plaintiff is now only used in American English.

B.2 Fill in the tables on the next page with the information in the bubbles:

Damages, injunctions,
rescission*, specific
To preserve order performance
in the community Offences against
by punishing the state
offenders and
deterring others
Disputes A prosecutor
between prosecutes a
private defendant
individuals
A defendant To remedy the wrong
A claimant may be convicted which has been suffered
sues a if he is guilty and
defendant acquitted if he
is innocent
A defendant
may be found Imprisonment, fine, probation,
liable or not community service
liable

* rescission = anulare prin respingere

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Unit 3: BRANCHES OF LAW

Criminal Law
Concerns
Purpose of action
Parties

Decision
Sanctions
Civil Law
Concerns

Purpose of action
Parties
Decision

Sanctions

B.3 Now listen to the second part of the lecture on the classification of law that you heard in Section A and
check your answers.

B.4 Here is an example of a case where the same set of events can lead to both criminal and civil actions.
Read it and identify the purpose of the action, parties involved, decision taken and sanctions given in
each case.
A middle-aged woman was crossing the road at a zebra crossing when she was struck and
seriously injured by a van driven at high speed. The woman was taken to the local hospital,
where she was diagnosed with a broken arm and ribs. Meanwhile, the police arrived at the
place of the accident and breathalysed the driver. The result was positive. Consequently, the
driver was charged with the criminal offence of driving with an excess of alcohol, and was
convicted by the local Magistrates’ Court. He was disqualified from driving for a period of
two years and fined five hundred pounds.

The fine paid to the Court didn’t go to compensate the victim of the criminal act, as a criminal
court has a limited power to order an offender to pay compensation for any personal injury,
loss or damage caused to the victim of the offence. However, the woman was also able to
pursue a civil action against the van driver to remedy the personal wrong she had suffered.
She sued him under the tort of negligence for the injury she had sustained. The case was
held in a County court, where the driver was found liable. He was ordered to pay three
thousand pounds, along with the claimant’s costs in bringing the action.

Can you think of any other cases where both civil and criminal law apply? In pairs prepare to describe such
a case to the class. Try and use as much of the vocabulary you’ve learned as you can.

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Unit 3: BRANCHES OF LAW

Time for fun!


Civil or Criminal?
A man from Charlotte, North Carolina purchased a case of rare, very expensive cigars and
insured them against … fire (!?!) Within a month, he had smoked his entire stockpile of fabulous
cigars. As he had yet to make a single premium payment on the insurance policy, the man filed
a claim against the insurance company, in which he stated that he had lost the cigars in “a
series of small fires.” The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason that the
man had consumed the cigars in a normal fashion. The man sued … and won!
In delivering his ruling, the judge stated that since the company had warranted that
the cigars were insurable, and also guaranteed that it would ensure the cigars against
fire, without defining what it considered to be “unacceptable fire”, it was obligated to
compensate the insured for his loss.
Rather than endure a lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company
accepted the judge’s ruling and paid the man $15,000 for the rare cigars he had lost
in the “fires”. After the man cashed his check, however, the insurance company had
him arrested … on 24 counts of arson! With his own insurance claim and testimony
from the previous case being used as evidence against him, the man was convicted
of intentionally burning the rare cigars and sentenced to 24 consecutive one-year
terms.

Section C Giving Information on Courses - Role Play

C.1 A Telephone Conversation

Situation
A visiting lecturer from Australia is coming to your law faculty to give a series of lectures and
would like some information about your courses. He is calling the Faculty Office and speaks to a
student who is working there part time.

Roleplay the telephone conversation after you consult your role card.

If you are the Professor, look at File 14 (at the end of the book).
If you are the student, look at File 11.

C.2 With a class mate, write an e-mail


message to the Australian Professor and give
him details about your curriculum. In order to
do this, translate the curriculum into English
and write short descriptions of the courses,
using the Lancaster University prospectus as a
model.

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Unit 3: BRANCHES OF LAW

Appendix FACULTATEA DE DREPT


PLAN DE ÎNVĂŢĂMÂNT

DREPT CIVIL – ANUL I DREPT PENAL – ANUL II


1. Izvoarele dreptului civil 1. Infracţiuni contra statului
2. Aplicarea legii civile în timp și spaţiu 2. Infracţiuni contra persoanei
3. Interpretarea legii civile 3. Infracţiuni de fals
4. Raportul juridic civil 4. Infracţiuni contra sănătăţii publice
5. Obligaţiile civile
6. Efectele actului juridic civil DREPT INTERNAŢIONAL PUBLIC – ANUL II
1. Noţiunea și trăsăturile dreptului internaţional public
DREPT CIVIL – ANUL II 2. Natura juridică a teritoriului de stat
1. Clasificarea obligaţiilor civile 3. Dreptul mării
2. Izvoarele obligaţiilor 4. Dreptul tratatelor
3. Răspunderea civilă delictuală 5. Răspunderea statelor în dreptul internaţional
4. Transmisiunea și transformarea obligaţiilor 6. Protecţia mediului înconjurător în dreptul internaţional
5. Garantarea obligaţiilor
DREPT INTERNAŢIONAL PRIVAT – ANUL II
DREPT PENAL – ANUL I 1. Noţiunea și domeniul dreptului internaţional privat
1. Evoluţia dreptului penal român 2. Norma conflictuală
2. Principiile fundamentale ale dreptului penal 3. Aplicarea legii străine
3. Izvoarele dreptului penal 4. Izvoarele interne și internaţionale ale dreptului
4. Noţiunea și trăsăturile esenţiale ale infracţiunii internaţional privat
5. Sancţiuni de drept penal 5. Condiţia juridică a străinului
6. Răspunderea penală 6. Persoana juridică în dreptul internaţional privat

Build Your Own Legal Vocabulary


Use this space to record useful language related to the topic of this unit.

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