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Notes to the Text

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  1. Read the letter and use the notes to complete the reply.

Legal) purpose, intention


Have a right to

To be kept) secret

Say that smth. must not be done (by rules of regulations)




Lasting for a short time only

To be read after Text 3

The Jury

The jury has a long history within the English legal system, al­though its role has changed significantly during that time. Ori­ginally, members of the jury were witnesses1. Today, they are a group of twelve ordinary people with no special knowledge, chosen at random to act as impartial2 judges of the facts of a case. In a jury trial, the jury is advised by the trial judge on the relevant3 law; that is, the judge's function is to explain the law to the jury and ensure that the trial is conducted according to the rules of procedure and evidence. The function of the jury is then to apply the law to the facts and then decide, in criminal cases, whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty and, in civil cases, whether the defendant is lia­ble to the plaintiff. The decision of a jury is called a verdict4. The juries do not need to give reasons for their verdict. In civil cases the jury will also decide on the amount of damages to be awarded to the plaintiff.

«Shadow» («теневой») juries are sometimes used to research the adequacy of the jury system; a random group of twelve people sits in the court and hears a case and reaches a verdict which is then compared to the verdict of the real jury.

Although the jury continues to have much symbolic importance in the English legal system, in practice its role has been greatly dimished5 over recent years.

Notes to the Text

A person who gives evidence in court

Just, fair; not favouring one side more than the other

Closely) connected with what is being discussed, done, etc.

Decision reached by a jury

Make or become less

To be read after Text 4, 5


Judge is a public officer with authority to hear and decide cases in a law court. In the British system of law judges are chosen from lawyers who have gained considerable experience as legal practitio­ners before being appointed to the judiciary.

Judges must be independent of the parties to a dispute (this en­sures a fair and just trial). They must be independent of the execu­tive. This enables the judges to exercise control over government action. Judges must be free of any political bias (пристрастность, предубеждение).

Most of the work of the judges is judicial in the sense that they have to adjudicate upon disputes. To do this they are required, im­partially, to find the facts based on the evidence presented to the court, to apply the law to the facts and then to give the right deci­sion. Their role is therefore limited to ensuring that there is a fair trial, reaching a decision on the fact as presented to them and ap­plying this to the law.

Judges do not investigate the cases they are trying but they do not play a completely passive role; they may, sometimes, question witnesses and they must ensure that the trial is conducted accord­ing to the rules of procedure and evidence.

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