“The Court of Appeals” by Hassan Bouzidi

The Court of Appeals/Hassan Bouzidi

Title:                The Court of Appeals
Author:             Hassan Bouzidi
Description:       A Textbook of English for the Legal Professionals
Subject:            ESP
Publisher:          Ibn Zohr Universty

Date:                2017

Hassan Bouzidi/The Court of Appeals

The Purpose of The Court of Appeals

The Court of Appeals is not a book of law. It is a textbook of English for the legal professionals.

English is an essential tool for any lawyer working with international matters. It is the lingua franca of the legal profession, business and international affairs. 

Legal employers appreciate that their legal staff and prospective employees have a sufficient level of English to be able to communicate effectively with clients, colleagues and professionals in/from other countries, and can handle information written in English. Law students and newly-qualified lawyers need to be able to prove that they have such skills.   

The Court of Appeals is especially designed to improve performance in international meetings and discussions of legislative proposals, consultations on specific areas of law, presentations, and interpretation and discussion of legal documents.

The existing global courses have not been designed for this particular market and are therefore totally unsuitable. ‘Usability’ is the principle which should guide any such course: it should reflect needs in terms of content as well as the teaching/learning methods adopted.

Topics typically include legal case studies, communication strategies, meeting skills and negotiations. It also covers the general language skills that will help learners communicate effectively in a wide range of formal and informal situations. The vocabulary covers a variety of topics including Employment Contracts, Mixed Marriages, Adoption, Cybercrime, to mention but a few.

Lawyers often function as advocates. Good argumentation requires good reasoning to back it up. You may well be convoked that the result of a given case is not fair,  but it would be up to you (as a professional lawyer) to articulate your reasons for that conclusion.

Another important aspect of argumentation is understanding the strengths and weaknesses of arguments that oppose the position you are taking. Being able to anticipate such arguments puts you in the position of being able to think in advance of any responses you may encounter.  

However, argumentation skills will not be complete without a good mastery of the legal jargon.  The Court of Appeals  contains an important glossary of vocabulary specific to “legalese” or the language of the legal system. If you are an already established legal professional or planning on a career in law then understanding the ever changing terminology of the legal system in English is vital for a successful international career.

The Structure of The Court of Appeals

The course comprises 15 Units. Each unit contains a passage/usually a Case Brief followed by a set of tasks (vocabulary review and practice, language practice, etc.). A number of other activities/tasks (e.g. role-playing) are also included in each unit.

Prior to writing the course, I consulted extensively with law graduates and legal professionals to discuss their needs/attitudes and elicit feedback. Needs analysis revealed information that enabled me to construct The Court of Appeals around three interlocking areas: language, content, and communication skills. In the legal context, communication skills covers such activities as ‘arguing’, ‘interviewing’, and ‘presenting factual information’.

Discussion of needs and identification of required language work includes vocabulary development. A glossary of the major technical and semi-technical terminology in the legal profession is included at the end of the textbook. The glossary is a permanent reference section of the legal terms which appear in the book and a long listing of others which may be of interest to law professionals.

 Yet, as many legal professionals pointed out, more than one variety of English exists (American, British, etc.) which gives rise to variations in vocabulary and can be damaging when arguing cases. To make prospective users of the textbook aware of those variations a list of the major American and British words/phrases related to the legal profession is included as an appendix to the course. A list of major law-related acronyms & abbreviations also appears at the end of the book.

The Court of Appeals by Hassan Bouzidi

The textbook contains clear instructions for each activity. It can be used in class with a teacher, or as a self-study course alone or in groups.

The Court of Appeals/Hassan Bouzidi