The Letter of The-Law
to bend the law/rules: to break the law/rules in a way that is considered not to be very harmful
to contravene a law: to break a law (noun = contravention)
to infringe a law/rule: to break a law/rule (noun = infringement)
to impeach a president/governor: to make a formal statement saying that a person in public office
has committed a serious offence (noun = impeachment)
to lodge an appeal: to make an official request that a previous judgement should be changed
to uphold/overturn a verdict: to say that a previous decision in court was correct/incorrect
to pervert the course of justice: to make it difficult for justice to be
done (noun = perversion)
to quash a conviction: to change a previous official decision that
someone was guilty
to set a precedent: to establish a decision which must usually, in
English law, be taken into account in future decisions
to award/grant custody to: to give one parent or adult the main
responsibility for a child, especially after separation or divorce
to annul a(n) agreement/marriage/law: to declare that it no longer
exists and never existed (noun = annulment)
to sue someone: to take legal action against someone
to allege: /əˈledʒ/ to say that someone has done something illegal
without giving proof (noun = allegation)
to amend a law: to make changes to a law (noun = amendment)
unfair treatment on grounds of sex, race or
stealing money that belongs to an
organisation that you work for
putting undue pressure on someone, e.g.
for sexual reasons or to get a debt repaid
illegal buying and selling of shares by
someone who has specialist knowledge of
moving money obtained illegally so that its
origin cannot be traced
lying when under oath
following someone or giving them
unwanted or obsessive attention
go onto someone else's land without
Words and expressions with law
A law-abiding person is someone who always obeys the law.
A law-breaker is someone who - often and deliberately - does not obey the law.
If you take the law into your own hands, you do something illegal to punish someone because you
feel the legal system will not punish that person.
If you lay down the law, you say with great force what you think should happen.
If someone is a law unto himself/herself, he or she behaves in a way which is independent and not
the way in which most other people behave.
Choose the correct verbs from A to fill the gaps. Put the verb in the correct form.
The governor on the province was
for wrongful use of state money.
The prisoner decided to
an appeal against the court's decision.
The appeal court
the verdict of the lower court and the prisoner was released.
In English law, a previous legal decision usually
a precedent for future decisions.
custody to the mother rather than the father.
I"m not asking you to break the rules, just to
them a little.
my legal rights by not allowing me to vote.
Witnesses charged with perjury are accused of
the course of justice.
The marriage was
because the man had never properly divorced his first wife.
The Supreme Court
the murder conviction and the man was freed.
Which of the crimes in B might each of these people be charged with?
1 A camper who spent a night on a farmer's land without asking permission.
2 A businessman who diverted funds from the account of the company he worked for into his own
3 An employer who gave a job to a man although he was less suitable for the post than a
4 A witness who gave false evidence in court.
5 A person who kept making inappropriate comments about a colleague's personal appearance.
6 A board member who took advantage of what they knew about the business's plans to make a
profit on the stock market.
7 A person who follows someone or calls them every day and buys them gifts even though they are
not in a relationship.
Choose a noun from each of these verbs to complete each sentence.
Parliament is currently discussing a number of
to the current laws on citizenship.
Amy took her employer to court for
in the workplace.
Some people consider
of others" rights as being as serious a crime as theft.
By taking on work for a competitor Nathan was in
of the terms of his contract.
The trial was criticised by many as a
To suggest that Leah took the money is a very serious
The circumstances are such that I think the judge may agree to a(n)
of a president has only taken place a couple of times in US history.
Choose an expression from C to complete each sentence.
You should let the police deal with the situation - it's far too risky to
Sam started getting into trouble when he got in with a gang of habitual
You shouldn't start
on your first day in a new job.
Masha will never be able to get Vadim to conform - he's
Isabelle is far too
to agree to bring extra cigarettes into the country.
Over to you
Look at the website www.britishlaw.org.uk to find out more about the law in the UK. Note
down at least ten more useful legal words and expressions.