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LEGAL ENGLISH AND ENGLISH FOR LAW (2): CONTENT AND LANGUAGE INTEGRATED LEARNING

As an English law student, you quickly learn one thing – the law does not stand still; it evolves, constantly. A case that established or developed some important principle of law yesterday is perhaps overturned or developed further by the courts today. Perhaps some legislation which applied yesterday has now been repealed, and a new law introduced. Intellectually, this is a lot of fun. It is also, however, a lot of work. English law does not so much work on the basis of concepts, but principles which are refined and revised, constantly.

The reason any of this matters is because if you want, or have, a career in law involving any international aspect, an understanding of this is vital. If you want a career in international business and commerce, international finance, international trade, shipping, banking, insurance, or even with an international organisation or large law firm, a knowledge of the English language and English law is vital. For example, many – if not most - commercial contracts worldwide are either negotiated in English, written in English, governed by English law, or disputes about them will be resolved in an English-speaking jurisdiction – or very possibly all of these.


All of this makes issues of ‘content’ in the context of legal English and English for law challenging. It is challenging enough for English lawyers, let alone legal English and English for law trainers. Yes, it is possible to avoid these issues by simply providing, for example, basic legal English vocabulary training. But we did not want to do that. We don’t think it best stimulates the minds of many of those studying English for law and we don’t actually think it is the best way of developing either vocabulary - or how to use this vocabulary practically.

We will continually assess the content of what we offer, to try to ensure that it is not only practical and relevant, but also as accessible as we can make it. We are trying to balance language with content that will give a real and meaningful ‘boost’ to those international lawyers (academic and practising) who need it.


We will try to apply the same principles a common law practitioner applies to their practice. This involves staying up to date with legal changes, legal developments, and practical skills (such as commercial awareness).


We will continue to share posts, material, and other information which, we hope, will provide useful resources, in both language and your legal development. For example, on the 5th February 2021, the magazine Forbes published and excellent article [1] on staying up to date in developments in the field of employment law. It contains some excellent tips (8 strategies in total) and some good language. We have added a glossary of some useful terms from the article underneath.


[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeshumanresourcescouncil/2021/02/05/eight-strategies-to-stay-on-top-of-changes-in-employment-law/?sh=4c92fd871a9d


Glossary of Terms:

in flux – changeable or developing

a blunder – a stupid or careless mistake

to be ‘in the know’ about something – to have information about something

to flag something (or to flag up something) – to mark something as important, so you can find it again

a hodgepodge – a confused mixture of things

a brain trust – a group of experts who advise on something


© Cambridge Legal English Academy 2021




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