For more Legal English lessons, click here.

Essential Vocabulary

Lesson Aims

By the end of this lesson, you will be better able to:

  • Understand some common words and phrases used in the legal profession.
  • Understand the differences between criminal, civil and common law.


If there is one thing that lawyers are famous for, it’s using fancy words. There are many words you will need to know and these are just some of the basic ones that you will see and hear a lot. In other lessons you will learn some Latin phrases that are used in law, some very specific words and phrases that refer to specific things and even some archaic (that’s a fancy way of saying old) words that probably belong in a museum, alongside the lawyers that still use them! But, before we run, we must first walk!

Criminal Law

Civil Law

Common Law


The above information is based on the UK legal system. It is intended for law professionals and students whose first language is not English to improve their legal English ability. It should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice.

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