Legal English for Lawyers

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Study Legal English:  Contract Law

The Facts


Mr Robinson's restaurant opened to great fanfare at the beginning of the year.  With views to die for and a chef who has worked for some of the world's greatest restaurants, it was obvious that this was a place of quality.


The Head Chef had requested that the manager order some top-of-the-range wagyu beef from a supplier.  Wagyu beef is considered to be the best steak that you can eat

and the chef was insistent that the cows be reared in the traditional manner, i.e. by being massaged regularly and given beer on a regular basis.


When the consignment arrived, there was a note with the parcel which said:  "Our apologies but we have not been able to deliver Japanese wagyu beef and have replaced it with Australian wagyu beef."  


John spoke to Mr Robinson about some possible legal scenarios and promised to write to him in greater detail within the next seven days.



Glossary of Terms


civil litigation department – That section of a law firm engaged in the preparation and trying of lawsuits.


litigator – 1. A trial lawyer. 2. A lawyer who prepares cases for trial, as by conducting discovery, and preparing pre-trial motions, trying cases, and handling appeals.


to sue – To institute a lawsuit against another party.


facts – 1. Something that actually exist ; an aspect or reality. Facts include not just tangible things, actual occurrences, and relationships, but also states of mind such as intentions and opinions.


fine print – The part of an agreement, or document, usually in small, light print that is not easily noticeable, referring to disclaimers, restrictions, or limitations.


legal research – 1. The finding and assembling of authorities that bear on a question of law. 2. The field of study concerned with the effective marshalling of authorities that bear on a question of law.


cause of action – 1. A group of operative facts giving rise to one or more bases of suing ; a factual situation that entitles one person to obtain a remedy in court from another person.


merits – The elements or grounds of a claim or defense ; the substantive considerations to be taken into account in deciding a case, as opposed to extraneous or technical points. 2. A legal theory of a lawsuit.


(All definitions courtesy of The Legal English Dictionary)



To learn more about how to study Legal English or prepare for the TOLES Test of Legal English Skills, contact us by e-mail or by telephoning 44(0) 20 3566 0145.

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Study Legal English

John is a solicitor for a medium-sized firm just outside London.  After breakfast with his legal secretary in the cafe downstairs, he heads up to his office to meet his first client of the day.


One of the partners in John's firm had referred the client to him. John is of three years PQE (professionally qualified experience) and works in civil litigation.  


The partner had passed a small file to him containing a few details:  telephone conversations with the client and a memo from the partner as well as a few newspaper articles about a restaurant that had just opened in the high street.  The receptionist telephoned to indicate that the client was waiting in one of the meeting rooms.  John put on his suit jacket and wandered downstairs.


The Client Interview


John entered Meeting Room One and walked in with his hand extended and a toothy smile.  He introduced himself to the restauranteur.  


“What can I do for you, Mr. Robinson ?” John asked.


“I intend to sue one of my suppliers,” he said “and you have been highly recommended”.


John began to interview his new client in order to determine the facts of the case.

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