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Reading 1: Types of legal profession in England and Wales

Pre-reading task. Read the words. Mind the stress. A):

΄rapidly prac΄titioner ,matri΄monial

΄prosecute ad΄mit con,sideration

΄voluntarily de΄fend a΄ccuse

΄register pre΄side re΄move

΄innocent ju΄diciary pro΄ceeding

΄coroner in΄quire in΄dictable

΄deputy con΄cern ,super΄visory


B) Complete the word building table.

Noun/Verb Adjective Verb Noun
to defend to admit
to preside to defend
judiciary to prosecute
election to accuse
innocent to preside
indictable to remove
supervisory consideration
crime election
to admit to inquire


Noun / verb Person Noun / verb Person
to defend to accuse
to preside jury
to prosecute practice
crime to vote
election to inquire



1. Read the text and translate the text into Ukrainian.


There are about 50,000 solicitors who are general practitioners, the number which is rapidly increasing, and they make up by far the largest branch of the legal profession in England and Wales. They are found in every town, where they deal with all the day-to-day work of preparing legal documents for buying and selling houses, making wills, etc. Solicitors also work on court cases for their clients, prepare cases for barristers to present in the higher courts and may represent their client in a Magistrates’ court. In a civil action solicitors have a right to speak in the County Court, when the case is one of divorce or recovering some debts, and they deal with petty crimes and some matrimonial matters in Magistrates Courts, the lowest Courts.

To become a solicitor a young man joins a solicitor as a «clerk» and works for him while studying part time for the Law Society exams. When you have passed all the necessary exams, you may apply to the Law Society to be «admitted». After that you can practise, which means you can start business on your own.



There are about 9,000 barristers who defend or prosecute in the higher courts. Although solicitors and barristers work together on cases, barristers specialise in presenting clients in court and the training and career structures for the two types of lawyers are quite separate. In court, barristers wear wigs and gowns in keeping with extreme formality of the proceedings. The barristers of the highest level have the title QC (Queen’s Counsel). A barrister’s main work is to provide representation in the courts, where they are referred to as counsel, to draft documents associated with court procedure, and give opinions, that is specialist advice. They are normally instructed by solicitors or other recognised professionals on behalf of lay clients. A barrister must be capable of prosecuting in a criminal case one day, and defending an accused person the next, or of preparing the pleadings and taking the case for a plaintiff in a civil action one day, and doing the same for a defendant the next. As the law has become more complex, barristers increasingly specialise in particular areas, such as personal injury, crime, family or commercial law. Barristers are experts in the interpretation of the law. They are called in to advise on really difficult points.

Unlike solicitors, barristers can’t form partnerships but must act as sole traders with unlimited liability. Some barristers are in employed practice and may only represent their employer, for example as in-house counsel or in government departments like the Crown Prosecution Service. Many work independently in self-employed practice in groups called chambers or sets and practise at the Bar as a barrister. Chambers are traditionally located in the four Inns of Court in London and are also located in the UK regions, known as circuits. The Inns are principally non-academic societies which provide collegiate and educational resources for barristers and trainees. Members of the chambers, known as tenants, share common expenses and support services, which are administrated by the administrative manager as the Clerk.

A would-be barrister must first register as a student member of one of the four Inns of Court. A student must pass a group of examinations to obtain a law degree and then proceed to a vocational course (Bar Vocational Course, or BVC), the passing of which will result in his being called to the Bar. All practising barristers are junior counsels unless they have been designated Queen’s Counsels (QC). QС is expected to appear only in the most important cases.



There are a few hundred judges trained as barristers, who preside in more serious cases. There is no separate training for judges; they are barristers who have been elevated to the bench itself, a name derived from the part of the Court where they sit. The professional judges, ‘High Court Judges’, deal with the most serious crimes. They are paid salaries by the state. The judge decides the interpretation of the law. After all the evidence has been given the judge summarizes the case, both law and facts, for the jury. This is called his summing up.

Judges cannot be removed from office on account of political considerations — the independence of the judiciary is, at least theoretically guaranteed.

There are following types of judges in England and Wales:

Judicial Office Court
Justices of the Supreme Court the Supreme Court
Lord Justice of Appeal Court of Appeal
High Court Judges High Court of Justice
Circuit Judges Crown Court and County Court
Recorders Crown Court and County Court
District Judges County Court
Deputy District Judges (Civil) County Court
District Judges (also known as Stipendiary Magistrates) Magistrates’ Court
Deputy District Judges Magistrates’ Court


Judicial Appointments

The appointment of judges has always been considered one of the most important responsibilities of the Lord Chancellor. “One of my priorities as Lord Chancellor is to modernise the judicial appointments process. I am committed to creating an open, effective and accessible system where everyone who is eligible for appointment and who wants appointment shall have a fair chance to secure appointment.

This is an exciting and challenging time for the judiciary with the changes brought about by civil justice reforms and the incorporation of the European Convention of Нuman Rights into United Kingdom law. More than ever there is a need for the best cndidates to be appointed to all the different judicial posts for which I have responsibility. I am on record as saying that I want every vacancy on the Bench to be filled by the best person available but I can only appoint the judiciary from those who are ready and willing to do the job. I therefore want all eligible practitioners to bit the confidence to apply. Appointments must and will be made on merit – irrespective of ethnic origin, gender, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, religion or disability. These are not mere words. They are firm priciples. I will not tolerate any form of discrimination.


А modern judicial appointments system needs to draw on the best recruitment practices available. That is why more emphasis has been placed in recent years on open competition giving all eligible candidates an equal chance to demonstrate that they meet the criteria for appointment. Open selection procedures, on the basis of applications, can only strengthen the principle of appointment on the merit and enhance public confidence in the appointments process.”

(The right Honourable the Lord Irvine Lairg)

The administration of appointments

The administration of the judicial appointments system is carried out on the Lord Chancellor's behalf by staff of the Judicial Group in the Lord Chancellor's Department. The appointments procedures are administered by two of the Divisions in the Group. These are: Judicial Division 1, which provides support to the Lord Chancellor on the appointment of High Court Judges and above, Circuit Judges, Recorders and Assistant Recorders: and Judicial Division 2, which supports the Lord Chancellor on the appointment of Masters and Registrars of the Supreme Court, District Judges, Stipendiary Magistrates and a wide range of tribunal and other appointments.

A principal function of the Judicial Group is to supply all the information and advice which the Lord Chancellor requires to enable him to fulfil his responsibilities in this field, and to provide him with the material on which to make a fair and informed judgment about every appointment. This includes corresponding with, informing and interviewing those who are, or may become, candidates for appointment; consulting judges, senior members of the profession and others as required; filing and recording the results; administering the selection procedures; and following and executing the Lord Chancellor’s instructions and guidance, both on individual appointments and candidates and on his general policy.

Career Advice

The Lord Chancellor regards it as an important function of his Department to advise members of the legal profession about judicial appointments. Anyone who would like information about appointments or a discussion with a senior member of staff is welcome to contact the Judicial Group. Statutory provisions specify minimum eligibility qualifications for each judicial office. The provisions governing the qualifications for judicial appointment were revised by the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990.

Guiding Principles

Three fundamental principles underpin the Lord Chancellor's policies in selecting candidates for judicial appointment:

a) appointment is strictly on merit. The Lord Chancellor appoints those who appear to him to be the best qualified regardless of gender, ethnic origin, marital status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, religion or disability, except where the disability prevents the fulfilment of the physical requirements of the office.

b) part-time service is normally a pre-requisite of appointment to full-time office. Before being considered for any full-time judicial post, a candidate must usually have served in that or a similar post in a part-time capacity for long enough to establish his or her competence and suitability for full-time appointment: and

c) significant weight is attached to the independent views of members of the professional community (and others) as to suitability for judicial appointment. The Lord Chancellor regards the knowledge, experience, and judgment of the professional community (judges and members of the legal profession) as the best available source of informed opinion on relative merits of applicants for judicial appointment. Before and during judicial service, views and opinions about applicants and their work are collected on a structured and systematic basis, in terms of the criteria for appointment, from a wide range of judges, senior practitioners from both branches of the profession and others who are in a position to assess the candidate's work and abilities. The Lord Chancellor regards it as an important principle that no one person's view about a candidate, whether negative or positive, and however eminent that person, is decisive in itself.

All senior judicial appointments are made by The Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, who receives advice from the Lord Chancellor. The Lord Chancellor will normally consider for appointment properly qualified applicants who have gained sufficient experience and are aged between 40 and 60. A full statement of the criteria to which the Lord Chancellor has regard in selecting individuals for recommendation for appointment is available from the Judicial Group. In summary, the criteria are:

· legal knowledge and experience

· intellectual and analytical ability

· sound judgment

· decisiveness

· communication skills

· authority

· integrity

· fairness

· understanding of people and society

· maturity and sound temperament

· courtesy and humanity

· commitment to public service



A jury consists of twelve people (jurors), who are ordinary people chosen at random from the Electoral Register (the list of people who can vote in elections). The jury listen to the evidence given in court in certain criminal cases and decide whether the defendant is guilty or innocent. If a person is found guilty, the punishment is passed by the presiding judge. Its verdict must be unanimous (it is essentially one of «guilty» or «not guilty») and, in the event of failure to reach agreement, the case is retried before another jury. Only 6 - 7% of jury decisions are by a majority verdict. Juries are rarely used in civil cases.



There are about 30,000 magistrates (Justices of the Peace or JPs), who judge cases in lower courts. They are usually unpaid and have no formal legal qualifications, but they are respectable people who are given some training. They are ordinary citizens who are selected not because they have any legal training but because they have ‘sound common sense’ and understanding of their fellow human beings. They give up their time voluntarily.


Coroners have medical or legal training (or both), and inquire into violent or unnatural death.

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