Legal English Dictionary
Legal English is an invaluable skill for a legal professional, particularly one who works in an area of law where communication between different countries is required. It is important that Legal English is not confused with standard English; Legal English is an entirely different skill. There even exist special Legal English Dictionaries. A legal professional with knowledge of and even fluent standard English will still struggle to comprehend Legal English. This is because there are words used in Legal English that will not be covered during a standard English course and also some standard English words have different meanings when used as legal terms. The terms are explained in legal dictionaries but to understand how to use legal terms correctly a dictionary is not enough.
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It is fairly obvious therefore why a knowledge and understanding of English legal terms is essential for effective legal practice. Firstly, a standard English course will not cover legal terminology. This means that a legal professional who studies such a course will still be unequipped to deal with legal words used in everyday practice. Simple tasks such as understanding and drafting legal documents will be almost impossible without any knowledge of the legal terms used within such documents. In fact, one could go as far to say that a legal professional without any knowledge of legal vocabulary is as much use to a client as someone without any legal training at all. It is clear to see that for legal professional a course in Legal English vocabulary is of much more benefit than a course in standard English. You might use a dictionary, online legal resources or forums but if you are engaged in a conversation speaking with a client you will simply have no time to use these online resources in your discussion.
Another reason for a legal professional to possess knowledge and understanding of the skill of Legal English vocabulary is that there are some words in the English language that take on an entirely different meaning when used in a legal context. Therefore a legal professional who has completed a course of standard English may wrongly believe they understand the meaning of a word and this may cause a lot of confusion when interpreting legal documents. Confusion may occur even when checking the meaning in a legal dictionary. But dictionary itself may be useless if there is no practice of actual using the terms. An obvious example is the word “consideration”. In standard English this is used in sentences such as “show him some consideration” meaning “think about him and his situation” etc. However when used in a legal context the word takes on an entirely different meaning, such as, how much money someone pays to purchase a property. This highlights just how easy confusion may arise if a legal professional does not acquire the skill of Legal English vocabulary.
There are some tools that may assist a legal professional alongside a course in Legal English. One such tool is a Legal Dictionary. This is handy as it will explain the meaning of legal terms. However, a dictionary is not adequate on its own; the best way to understand legal terms is by attending a course and gaining a proper understand of Legal English vocabulary and then supplement this knowledge by using a Legal English Dictionary to check the occasional words in practice.
In conclusion it is clear that Legal English vocabulary is an essential skill for the legal professional to acquire in order to practice successfully. Without this skill a legal professional will be unable to practice effectively as they will not understand the legal terms. Everyday tasks such as drafting legal documents will be far more difficult. For a legal professional to be a true asset to their firm and its clients an understanding of legal terms is obviously essential.
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