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The Need For Law

Mr. Jones, having murdered his wife, was burying her in the garden one night, when his neighbour, hearing the noise, asked him what he was doing.

“Just burying the cat”, said Mr. Jones

“Funny sort of time to bury a cat”, said the neighbour

“Funny sort of cat”, said Mr. Jones

Now it is obvious to everyone that, in a community such as the one which we live, some kind of law is necessary to try to prevent people like Mr. Jones from killing their wives. When the world was at a very primitive stage, there was no such law, and, if a man chose to kill his wife or if a woman succeeded in killing her husband, that was their own business and no one interfered officially.

But, for a very long time now, members of every community have made laws for themselves in self-protection. Otherwise, it would have meant that the stronger man could have done what he liked with the weaker, and bad men could have joined together and terrorized the whole neighbourhood.

If it were not for the law, you could not go out in broad daylight without the fear of being kidnapped, robbed or murdered. There are far, far more good people in the world than bad ones, but there are enough of the bad to make law necessary in the interests of everyone.

There is no difficulty in understanding this but it is just as important to understand that law is not necessary just because there are bad people in the world. If we were all as good as we ought to be, laws would still be necessary. If we never told lies, never took anything that didn't belong to us, never omitted to do anything that we ought to do and never did anything that we ought not to do, we should still require a set of rules of behaviour, in other words laws, to enable us to live in any kind of satisfactory state.

How is one good man in a motor-car to pass another good man also in a motor-car coming in the opposite direction, unless there is some rule of the road? People sometimes hover in front of one another when they are walking on the pavement before they can pass, and they may even collide. Not much harm is done, but, if two good men in motor-cars going in opposite direction hover in front of one another, not knowing which side to pass, the result will probably be that there will be two good men less in the world.

So you can see that there must be laws, however good we may be. Unfortunately, there are none of us always good and some of us are bad, or at any rate have our bad moments, and so the law has to provide for all kinds of possibilities. Suppose you went to a greengrocer and bought some potatoes and found on your return home that they were mouldy or even that some of them were stones, what could you do if there were no laws on the subject? In the absence of law you could only rely upon “the law of the jungle”. You could go back to the shop, demand proper potatoes and hit the shopkeeper on the nose if he refused to give them to you. You might then look round the shop to try to find some decent potatoes. While you were doing this, the shopkeeper might hit you on the back of the neck with a pound weight. Altogether not a very satisfactory morning's shopping!

Or you might pay your money to go to see a film at a cinema. You might go inside, sit down and wait. When the cinema was full, there might be flash on the screen: “You've had it, Chums”. And that might be the whole of the entertainment. If there were no law, the manager could safely remain on the premises and, as you went out, smile at you and say: “Hope you've enjoyed the show, sir”. That is to say, he could do this safely if he were bigger than you or had a well-armed bodyguard.

Every country tries, therefore, to provide laws which help its people to live safely and as comfortably as possible. This is not at all an easy thing to do, and no country has been successful in producing laws which are entirely satisfactory. But we are far better off with the imperfect laws which we have, than if we had none at all.


Ex.9. Practiсe saying these words.

[x] [R] [Qu]
cat garden now
man far out
bad pass round
kidnapped harm pound
absence demand down
back armed  


[QI] [eI]
night neighbour
time stage
wife enable
terrorized state
lies weight
kind pay
rely wait


Ex.10. Use the text and give English equivalents to:

1. убивать -

2. хоронить -

3. преуспевать в чем-либо -

4. вмешиваться -

5. похищать людей -

6. грабить -

7. сталкиваться -

8. в интересах кого-либо -

9. пренебрегать чем-либо; избегать что-либо -

10. полагаться, рассчитывать на что-либо -

11. в отсутствии чего-либо -

12. предотвращать что-либо, удерживать от чего-либо -

13. принадлежать кому-либо, чему-либо -

14. болтаться, вертеться, колебаться, метаться -

15. давать право, возможность –


Ex.11. Use the text and give Russian equivalents to the following English ones.

1. some kind of law -

2. to make laws in self-protection -

3. in broad daylight -

4. to tell lies -

5. a set of rules of behaviour -

6. laws on the subject -

7. in the absence of law -

8. the law of the jungle -

9. to provide laws -

10. to produce laws -

11. satisfactory laws -

12. imperfect\ perfect laws -


Ex.12. Read the text again and answer the questions.

1. Why is some kind of law necessary in a community such as the one in which we live?

2. What was the situation like when the world was at a very primitive stage?

3. What have members of every community made laws for?

4. What could not people do if it were not for the law?

5. Who is interested in making law necessary?

6. Why is law necessary?

7. Would people require any law if they were even very good?

8. Is there any temptation for a “good” man to violate law? Why?

9. What could you only rely on (upon) if there were no laws?

10. Why does every country try to provide laws?

11. How many countries have been successful in producing laws which are entirely satisfactory?

12. What is better: even imperfect laws or no laws at all? Why?


Ex.13. Fill in the table.

Verb Noun
entertain 1)
2) success
prevent 3)
4) interference
choose 5)
6) protection
produce 7)
8) satisfaction
collide 9)
require 10)


Ex.14. Find in the text as many verbs that describe illegal action as possible and give nouns that would describe a doer of an action and an action itself:

For example: to terrorize - terrorist – terror


Ex.15. This is a story told by an American tourist who has recently been to Italy. Fill in the blanks, using the words given below.

the jungle, robbed, kidnapped, customs, laws, to protect, rely on, fear, prescribe, imperfect


Every country has its (1)_____. That's perfectly true. When I first came to a tiny Italian village I was shocked: everyone was smiling and waving at me. The (2)_____ of hospitality (3) _____ local people to (4) _____ foreigners from any trouble.

In daylight and even at night you can go out without (5) _____ of being (6) _____ or (7) _____. Though the Italian laws are (8) _____ like all the laws, in the country you can (9) _____ open-heartedness and every possible support of the natives.

The law of (10) _____ is for huge industrial cities.


Ex.16. Choose the best alternative to fill in the blank in each of the following sentences.

1. … are not made by governments or written down.

a) customs

b) laws

c) rules

d) constitutions

2. Tom is a person you can … on.

a) depend

b) put

c) go

d) rely

3. The city bank was ... by teenage computer-hackers.

a) stolen

b) gone

c) robbed

d) kidnapped

4. You're so selfish and do everything for your personal ... .

a) pleasure

b) benefit

c) luck

d) body

5. The young teacher failed to ... order in the class.

a) restore

b) maintain

c) organize

d) bring

6. He mustn't be blamed: it was... .

a) self-protection

b) self-control

c) self-respect

d) self-confidence

7. What a shame! You’ve ... money.

a) stolen

b) taken

c) given

d) lost

8. ... is a serious crime.

a) murder

b) murderer

c) drinking

d) kidnapper

9. They have no ... in the United States.

a) flat

b) property

c) money

d) cash

10. Could you ... how it looks.

a) describe

b) say

c) prescribe

d) speak


Ex. 17. Use the text to translate the words in brackets and fill in the gaps in the sentences:

1. It is.......for everyone that laws are necessary in any............ (очевидный; сообщество).

2. The society...........did not have any laws, (на начальном, примитивном этапе).

3. Laws are to be produced.............(в интересах каждого).

4. A set of rules of behaviour – ...........laws – ............us to live safely (другими словами; давать возможность).

5. Most people don't want........(полагаться лишь на закон джунглей).

6. It is essential.......for a safe life (обеспечивать законы).

7. .........are better than no laws at all (несовершенные законы).

8. .........one can rely only on him - or herself (в отсутствии законов).

9. It is hardly possible to produce laws which are......... (полностью удовлетворяющие всем требованиям).

10. ..........the importance of reasonable laws and regulations (несложно понять).

11. ........... (некие) laws are necessary at least..........(в том обществе, в котором мы живем; для самозащиты).

12. Every country tries to produce laws which will help its people ......... (жить в безопасности и настолько комфортно, насколько возможно).

13. A perfectly safe society is the one where you can go out ......... without any fear (среди бела дня).

14. ..............cannot always guarantee one's safety (хорошо вооруженный охранник).

15. ...............is required in a civilized society (набор правил поведения).


Ex.18. Match A with В so as to get the right word combinations, then translate the sentences from Russian into English paying attention to the preposition:

to prevent out
to succeed round
to go for \with
to provide on \upon
to rely to
to look in
to belong at
to hit on
to smile from


1. Нам нужны законы, чтобы удержать нас от преступных действий.

2. Тебе следует много работать, если ты хочешь преуспевать в этом бизнесе.

3. Вы идете куда-нибудь сегодня вечером?

4. Наше государство не может обеспечить нас разумными законами.

5. Если мы не можем рассчитывать на законы, нам придется полагаться на себя.

6. Мы уже осмотрелись (сориентировались) в этом районе.

7. Вы не можете брать то, что Вам не принадлежит.

8. Он ударил меня по голове.

9. Каждый раз, когда я ее встречаю, она мне улыбается.


A Summary is a short text which contains all important ideas from a longer text. The summary writer condenses the information of the longer text, but does not add his or her opinion or interpretation. Summaries should never be longer than one-fourth the length of the original text


Ex.19. Follow this rule and write a summary of the text in 10-12 sentences, giving the main idea of almost every paragraph.


Ex. 20. Agree or disagree with the statements. Give your reasons.

1. We don't need laws because no country can provide its citizens with perfect laws.

2. Without laws and customs people would live like predators.


Ex.21. Listening task. Listen to the text twice and decide if these statements are true or false. Try to correct the false ones.

upheaval– переворот

continuity– постоянство

commonwealth – содружество

1. A particular legal system is closely connected with the history, political structure, and social values of the country.

2. The legal system is fixed once and forever.

3. The law system is a universal thing.

4. Roman law has developed in the United States.

5. There are two main traditions of law in the world.

6. Japan, being isolated from the Continent, wasn't influenced by any of the world traditions of law.


Ex.22. Translator’s Corner. Translate the following passage into English paying special attention to the link words and expressions in bold type.


Очевидно,что закон необходим в интересах всего общества.

Иначелюдям пришлось бы жить по закону джунглей.

К сожалению, создать совершенные законы не просто.

Следовательно, каждое сообщество пытается установить свои собственные правила поведения.

Однакозакон не может удовлетворить всех.

В любом случае,несовершенные законы лучше беззакония.

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