TASK 4. Translate the following passage into English paying special attention to the link words and expressions in italisized type.

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TASK 5. Discuss the following statements.

− People dont want to a lawyer to tell them what they cannot do; they hire him to tell them how to do what they want to do.

− You never know who is right in the trial, but you always know whos in charge.

− It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.


The Court System of the United States of America



Remember the following words and word combinations.

state court ,
federal court
trial courts
U.S. Supreme Court
Chief Justice ()
Associate Justice ()
pass ,
judicial circuits
jury ,
police courts ,
civil cases
to review cases
to tried by(a judge, a jury) (, )



In the United States each state is served by the separate court systems, state and federal. Both systems are organized into three basic levels of courts trial courts, intermediate courts of appeal and a high court, or Supreme Court. The state courts are concerned essentially with cases arising under state law, and the federal courts with cases arising under federal law.

In all state court systems, there are two types of judicial functions: trials and appeals. A trial court has original jurisdiction; that is, the power to determine the facts of the case and apply the law to them. An appellate (or appeals) court hears appeals from the trial court and thus has appellate jurisdiction. While all states have a supreme court, an appellate court of last resort, the majority of states also have an intermediate court of appeals which handles most of the appeals from the trial courts.

The federal system also consists of three levels district courts (trial); intermediate court of appeals (circuit court of appeals); and Supreme Court (U.S. Supreme Court). The jurisdiction of federal courts is set out in the Constitution.

The Supreme Court is the highest judicial organ of the USA and the Supreme Court Building is in Washington. The Supreme Court consists of the Chief Justice of the US and eight Associate Justices. They are all appointed by the President and approved by the Senate. The Supreme Court has the right to declare unconstitutional any law passed by Congress or any order issued by the President. This right of veto is widely used to block the passage of any progressive bills. The USA is divided into eleven judicial circuits and each one is served with a Federal Court of Appeals. As a rule the Court of Appeals sits with three judges on the bench. There are about 94 district courts in different parts of the US. The district courts are the lowest ones in the Federal court system. Most of the criminal and civil cases are tried by these courts, so this is a place where litigation begins.The district court is the only Federal court where trials are held, juries are used, and witnesses are called. There are about two hundred district judges in the USA. Cases tried in the district court may be appealed in one of the eleven Courts of appeal and in the Supreme Court. The main job of courts of appeal is to review cases appealed from trial courts to determine if the law was correctly interpreted and applied. The decision of the Supreme Court is final.

The state courts are organized in a system that looks like the system of Federal Courts with a Supreme Court at the top. In most of the states the lowest courts are the magistrates, or police courts.

TASK 1. Answer the following questions.


1. Name American courts in the descending order.

2. In what way are the federal courts organized?

3. Where does litigation begins? Why?

4. What does the word to appeal means in the USA?

5. What makes American courts so important in American society?

TASK 2. Give English equivalents for:

, , , , , , , ().

TASK 3. Translate the following sentences into English.


1. .

2. .

3. .

4. .

5. .

6. 8 , .



TASK 4. Fill in the blanks.


The federal courts have three tiers: (a) ___________ courts, courts of (b)_________ and the (c) ____________. The (d) __________Court was created by the Constitution; all other (e) ____________ courts were created by Congress. Most litigation occurs in (f) __________ courts. The structure of (g) _________ courts varies from state to state; usually there are (h) __________ for less serious cases, (i) _________ for more serious cases, intermediate (j) _________ courts, and courts of last (k) _____. State courts were created by state constitutions.

TASK 5. Agree or disagree with the following statements.

1. Beneath the Supreme Court, Congress has created two distinct types of federal courts: 1) constitutional courts and 2) special courts.

2. The constitutional courts are the federal courts that Congress has formed to exercise the judicial power of the United States. They are sometimes called the regular courts. Together with the Supreme Court, they now include: the Courts of Appeals, the District Courts, and the Court of International Trade.

3. The special courts have been created by Congress to hear cases arising out of certain of the expressed powers given to Congress. They hear a much narrower range of cases than those, which may come before the constitutional courts.

4. The special courts are sometimes called the legislative courts. Today, they include the Court of Military Appeals, the Claims Court, the Tax Court, the various territorial courts, and the courts of the District of Columbia.

The Supreme Court of the United States is the only court which was not specifically created by the Constitution.


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