Legal English on TV: Better Call Saul
In your quest to be a better lawyer and speak better legal English, you should be watching more legal dramas on TV. Better Call Saul follows the life of criminal lawyer Saul Goodman. You should be able to find it on Netflix in your region. In this post, we talk about some of the language featured in the clip.
Watch legal dramas to learn English
You should always watch legal dramas like Better Call Saul and The Good Wife to learn Legal English. They are entertaining and help you to pick up useful vocabulary. Watch the video and read the article to learn more about the language used in the hit US drama.
The prosecuting lawyer asks the victim "is the person who robbed you in court today?" and the victim identifies the (supposed) defendant. Rob is a verb used around the world in English-speaking countries but the lawyer could have also used "steal".
In the UK, we use the verb 'to mug' when a street theft takes place. If the defendant had stolen the almond joy rather than the money then he may have been guilty of shoplifting.
The 'perpetrator' or 'perp' is used in the US to name the person who allegedly committed the crime. You will hear it a lot on US police shows. If you watch a British police drama then the characters are more likely to use 'suspect'. When the case gets to court, they will be referred to as the defendant.
This slang word is universally known and means to take violently. A more British option might be 'grab' and a more neutral word is 'take'.
While lawyers in the US seem to make a habit of shouting 'objection' during cases, lawyers in England & Wales don't (and if they did they would be asked to leave court). In the more refined courtrooms of the UK, a lawyer is more likely to say 'My Lord' or 'Sir' and then interrupt.
While American lawyers walk around the courtroom and approach witnesses in the same way as Saul, British lawyers do not.