A knowledge of the American and English legal systems is important for law students in Romania. The handbook provides an introduction to the American and English legal systems and the means to develop the language and analytical skills which form an essential part of the legal study. Therefore, the double purpose of this handbook is: 1.to provide factual knowledge by exploring the legal texts in part I, some newspaper articles on certain crimes, in part II, and some literary texts in part III, and, 2.to develop the necessary language and analytical skills for law students of English to whom it specifically addresses.
Information is given on advanced grammatical areas which arise from texts and on vocabulary (word formation and use of legal vocabulary). Exercises concentrate on reading, writing and study skills with some work on oral functions. In writing this handbook I took into account the requirements laid down in the Analytical Program for the second year-law students at Spiru Haret University School of Law and Public Administration.
The handbook comprises seven units each dealing with an individual subject. The broad subject-matter of each unit is broken down into three parts to provide a structured approach to the subject.
The factual content, in part I, is presented through extracts from authentic texts, in the Reading Section, which is followed by comprehension questions and exercises included in the Practice Section. Part I introduces some general features of the American and English law and legal systems which will provide a background to the following topics. This part is followed by a set of exercises meant to brush up students’ English grammar.
Part II is concerned with newspaper exploration. Newspaper articles on crimes can be the starting point for discussion of current crimes, for the analysis of various styles of writing, or as the basis of exercises in comprehension. The advantages of using newspapers lie in their topicality and variety, and in the fact that newspapers are read in most homes, whereas books are not. I have been able to include articles from a newspaper together with a complete sequence of letters which followed the subsequent editions. All of the material could be used in many ways, most obviously, perhaps, as the starting point for discussions on crimes. However, I have particularly tried to select articles and letters whose main interest lies in: a) the conceptual thinking involved, b) the manner of expression and technique of persuasion, c) the quality of reasoning and argument. This part provides thorough coverage of the various kinds of writing and speaking needed by students at intermediate level. Each unit gives students the opportunity to write full-length compositions using structures and skills which they have been practising.
Part III deals with short stories used as a medium for jurisprudential debate. I have chosen six detective short stories taking into account the following criteria: to have a legal message, to be short in order to be read quickly, to have unexpected endings in order to take you by surprise, to stimulate imagination and the desire for reading more.
I hope that my effort to have this handbook published will be fully appreciated and successfully used by students who really take an interest in English for Law.