Legal English

ldroi1282  2021-2022  Louvain-la-Neuve

Legal English
3 credits
30.0 h
Main themes
Part 1: elementary legal English: a general survey of the vocabulary in different areas of the law, and an introduction to key notions of the common law tradition. Part 2: advanced legal English: an introduction to cases in the common law tradition.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 The course should help students to acquire a general 'passive' knowledge enabling them to understand an English legal text; it should also contribute towards the development of a command of 'active' English and the ability to express oneself in writing when discussing legal materials or questions. More specifically, the course will help to develop: - command of a basic English legal vocabulary, in all traditional areas of the law; - the technique of translating an English legal text into French, including the skill to render in French translation terms and phrases which have no precise equivalent in the legal system of the translation's addressee; - a first introduction to the use of professional tools for translating English legal texts, in particular legal dictionaries.
Two parts: 1. Legal English terminology. 2. Advanced Legal English.
- The first part is more elementary and aims to provide basic knowledge of legal terminology and the capacity to translate basic English legal texts into French. This part is mainly taught using L’anglais juridique (2012, Pocket) and the Oxford Dictionary of Law (2018 - 9th edition, Oxford University Press).
- The second part consists of reading and analyzing English and American case law. It will also include discussions and debates of current affairs in Anglo-American law.
Teaching methods
1. Elementary part: language, expression and legal terminology, with particular emphasize on: - the difficulties and pitfalls of translation; - questions of terminology specific to the different structures and doctrines of the common law compared to civil law systems; - writing of basic texts, such as an e-mail between a lawyer and a client.
2. Advanced Legal English: analysis and comments of a case (usually a decision of a superior court, including the different “opinions” of the judges). Discussions and debates of current affairs in Anglo-American law (oral).
Evaluation methods
The assessent takes the form of a written exam (unless only a very small number of students have registered for the exam in which case it could be oral).
The exam includes an elementary part aimed at testing the knowledge of English legal vocabulary, as well as the ability to translate a legal text from English into French (which also implies a good command of legal French). In a more advanced part, the student is invited to read an English legal text (most often a judgment) and to answer in English questions formulated in English in relation to this text (specific knowledge of Anglo-American law is not required).
Other information
This course is not open to Erasmus students from a foreign university
B. Dhuicq et D. Frison, Langlais juridique  (Paris : Pocket, 2012).
Oxford Dictionary of Law (Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2018 (9th edition).
A.Riley and P. Sours, Common Law Legal English and Grammar : A Contextual Approach (Oxford : Hart Publishing, 2014).
The first two books (L'anglais juridique and the Oxford Dictionary of Law) are mandatory.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Bachelor in Law

Minor in Law (openness)