REVIEW units 1 -2



REVIEW units 3 -4



REVIEW units 5 -6



REVIEW units 7-8



REVIEW units 9-10



REVIEW units 11 -12




REVIEW units 13-15






Part 1



The federal court system has three main levels: district courts (the trial court), circuit courts which are the first level of appeal, and the Supreme Court of the United States, the final level of appeal in the federal system. There are 94 district courts, 13 circuit courts, and one Supreme Court throughout the country.

Courts in the federal system work differently in many ways than state courts. The primary difference for civil cases (as opposed to criminal cases) is the types of cases that can be heard in the federal system. Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, meaning they can only hear cases authorized by the United States Constitution or federal statutes. The federal district court is the starting point for any case arising under federal statutes, the Constitution, or treaties. This type of jurisdiction is called «original jurisdiction». Sometimes, the jurisdiction of state courts will overlap with that of federal courts, meaning that some cases can be brought in both courts. The plaintiff has the initial choice of bringing the case in state or federal court. However, if the plaintiff chooses state court, the defendant may sometimes choose to «remove» to federal court.

Cases that are entirely based on state law may be brought in federal court under the court’s «diversity jurisdiction». Diversity jurisdiction allows a plaintiff of one state to file a lawsuit in federal court when the defendant is located in a different state. The defendant can also seek to «remove» from state court for the same reason. To bring a state law claim in federal court, all of the plaintiffs must be located in different states than all of the defendants, and the «amount in controversy» must be more than $75,000. (Note: the rules for diversity jurisdiction are much more complicated than explained here.)

Criminal cases may not be brought under diversity jurisdiction. States may only bring criminal prosecutions in state courts, and the federal government may only bring criminal prosecutions in federal court. Also important to note, the principle of double jeopardy – which does not allow a defendant to be tried twice for the same charge – does not apply between the federal and state government. If, for example, the state brings a murder charge and does not get a conviction, it is possible for the federal government in some cases to file charges against the defendant if the act is also illegal under federal law.

Federal judges (and Supreme Court «justices») are selected by the President and confirmed «with the advice and consent» of the Senate and «shall hold their Offices during good Behavior». Judges may hold their position for the rest of their lives, but many resign or retire earlier. They may also be removed by impeachment by the House of Representatives and conviction by the Senate. Throughout history, fourteen federal judges have been impeached due to alleged wrongdoing. One exception to the lifetime appointment is for magistrate judges, which are selected by district judges and serve a specified term.

The district courts are the general trial courts of the federal court system. Each district court has at least one United States District Judge, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for a life term. District courts handle trials within the federal court system – both civil and criminal. The districts are the same as those for the U.S. Attorneys, and the U.S. Attorney is the primary prosecutor for the federal government in his or her respective area.

District court judges are responsible for managing the court and supervising the court’s employees. They are able to continue to serve so long as they maintain «good behavior», and they can be impeached and removed by Congress. There are over 670 district court judges nationwide.

Some tasks of the district court are given to federal magistrate judges. Magistrates are appointed by the district court by a majority vote of the judges and serve for a term of eight years if full-time and four years if part-time, but they can be reappointed after completion of their term. In criminal matters, magistrate judges may oversee certain cases, issue search warrants and arrest warrants, conduct inital hearings, set bail, decide certain motions (such as a motion to suppress evidence), and other similar actions. In civil cases, magistrates often handle a variety of issues such as pre-trial motions and discovery.

Federal trial courts have also been established for a few subject-specific areas. Each federal district also has a bankruptcy court for those proceedings. Additionally, some courts have nationwide jurisdiction for issues such as tax (United States Tax Court), claims against the federal government (United States Court of Federal Claims), and international trade (United States Court of International Trade).



1. Sum up the main ides of the text and retell it in Russian.


2. Fill in the missing words from the box into the text below.

federal different district jurisdiction judges appealed heard arguments opinions ruled suggest specific matters


Once the 1)_________ district court has decided a case, the case can be appealed to a United States court of appeal. There are twelve federal circuits that divide the country into 2)_________ regions. The Fifth Circuit, for example, includes the states of Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Cases from the 3)_________ courts of those states are appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which is headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana. Additionally, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has a nationwide 4)_________ over very specific issues such as patents.

Each circuit court has multiple judges, ranging from six on the First Circuit to twenty-nine on the Ninth Circuit. Circuit court  5)_________ are appointed for life by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

 Any case may be 6)_________ to the circuit court once the district court has finalized a decision (some issues can be appealed before a final decision by making an «interlocutory appeal»). Appeals to circuit courts are first 7)_________ by a panel, consisting of three circuit court judges. Parties file «briefs» to the court, arguing why the trial court’s decision should be «affirmed» or «reversed». After the briefs are filed, the court will schedule «oral argument» in which the lawyers come before the court to make their 8)_________ and answer the judges’ questions.

Though it is rare, the entire circuit court may consider certain appeals in a process called an «en banc hearing». (The Ninth Circuit has a different process for en banc than the rest of the circuits.) En banc 9)_________ tend to carry more weight and are usually decided only after a panel has first heard the case. Once a panel has 10)_________ on an issue and «published» the opinion, no future panel can overrule the previous decision. The panel can, however, 11)_________ that the circuit take up the case en banc to reconsider the first panel’s decision.

Beyond the Federal Circuit, a few courts have been established to deal with appeals on 12)_________ subjects such as veterans claims (United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims) and military 13)_________ (United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces).


3. Read the following article and make a rendering of it in English.


Суд – это государственный орган, который разрешает правовые споры между гражданами или организациями (в том числе самим государством). Все вместе российские суды образуют судебную систему России.

Суд не должен ловить преступников или искать доказательства чьей-то правоты –  это делают полиция, прокуратура, адвокаты и другие люди. Также суд не исполняет свои решения – это делают Федеральная служба исполнения наказаний (ФСИН) и Федеральная служба судебных приставов (ФССП). Суд должен лишь изучить аргументы сторон и доказательства, свериться с законом и решить, кто прав в конкретном споре.

Суд –  это государственный орган. Но принцип разделения властей говорит о том, что во время разбирательства он должен отделяться от общего государственного механизма и работать независимо от него. И если человек спорит с целым государством, то суд, хотя и является частью этого государства, должен как бы отойти в сторону и посмотреть со стороны, кто прав –  представители государства или гражданин. Впрочем, в реальности это происходит не всегда.

Судебная система России – тема очень большая и сложная, одной заметкой её не охватить. Сперва надо разобраться в видах судов и судопроизводства, а также выяснить смысл базовых терминов и принципов. Поэтому начнём с этих вещей, а потом постепенно разберёмся в устройстве судов и их работе.


Part 2



The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the American judicial system, and has the power to decide appeals on all cases brought in federal court or those brought in state court but dealing with federal law. For example, if a First Amendment freedom of speech case was decided by the highest court of a state (usually the state supreme court), the case could be appealed to the federal Supreme Court. However, if that same case were decided entirely on a state law similar to the First Amendment, the Supreme Court of the United States would not be able to consider the case.

After the circuit court or state supreme court has ruled on a case, either party may choose to appeal to the Supreme Court. Unlike circuit court appeals, however, the Supreme Court is usually not required to hear the appeal. Parties may file a «writ of certiorari» to the court, asking it to hear the case. If the writ is granted, the Supreme Court will take briefs and conduct oral argument. If the writ is not granted, the lower court’s opinion stands. Certiorari is not often granted; less than 1% of appeals to the high court are actually heard by it. The Court typically hears cases when there are conflicting decisions across the country on a particular issue or when there is an egregious error in a case.

The members of the Court are referred to as «justices» and, like other federal judges, they are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for a life term. There are nine justices on the court  eight associate justices and one chief justice. The Constitution sets no requirements for Supreme Court justices, though all current members of the court are lawyers and most have served as circuit court judges. Justices are also often former law professors. The chief justice acts as the administrator of the court and is chosen by the President and approved by the Congress when the position is vacant.

The Supreme Court meets in Washington, D.C. The court conducts its annual term from the first Monday of October until each summer, usually ending in late June.


1. Sum up the main ides of the text and retell it in Russian.


2. Fill in the missing words from the box into the text below.

hold courts inquests centuries system

locally practitioners caseload particular district complex appointed people


Although the post they 1)__________ is judicial, and legal qualifications and experience are often required, coroners are not considered to be members of the 2)__________ judiciary.

However, for especially high-profile 3)__________ a judge may be appointed to oversee the proceedings as a deputy coroner.

The office of coroner was formally established in 1194, originally as a form of tax gatherer. In the 4)__________ since, the role has evolved into an independent judicial officer, charged with the investigation of sudden, violent or unnatural death.

Unlike the unified courts 5)__________, administered by HM Courts and Tribunals Service, there are 92 separate coroners’ jurisdictions in England and Wales. Each jurisdiction is 6)__________ funded and resourced by local authorities.

Coroners are barristers, solicitors or medical 7)__________ of not less than five years standing, who continue in their legal or medical practices when not sitting as coroners.

Some 32 coroners are «whole time» coroners and are paid an annual salary regardless of their 8)__________. The remainder are paid according to the number of cases referred to them.

The coroner’s jurisdiction is territorial  it is the location of the dead body which dictates which coroner has jurisdiction in any 9)__________ case.

Coroners are required to appoint a deputy or assistant deputy to act in their stead if they are out of the 10)__________ or otherwise unable to act. Deputies and assistant deputies have the same professional qualifications as the coroner.

In exceptionally high-profile or 11)__________ cases, a serving judge may be appointed as a deputy coroner.

For example, in 2007 Lord Justice Scott Baker was 12)__________ as Assistant Deputy Coroner for Inner West London for the purposes of hearing the inquests into the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales and Emad El-Din Mohamed Abdel Moneim Fayed (Mr Dodi Al Fayed).

Lady Justice Hallett has been appointed Assistant Deputy Coroner for the Inner West London District of Greater London in order to conduct the inquests into the deaths of the 56 13)__________ killed in the London bombings on 7 July 2005.


3. Read the following article and make a rendering of it in English.


Суды общей юрисдикции (иногда их название сокращают до аббревиатуры «СОЮ») занимаются подавляющим большинством дел. Убийства, кражи и изнасилования, споры о наследстве и разводе, нарушения правил дорожного движения и незаконные увольнения, защита прав потребителей и жалобы на действия чиновников, невыплаченные кредиты и коммунальные платежи. Более 90% дел в России рассматривают суды общей юрисдикции.

«Юрисдикция» – это полномочия по рассмотрению каких-то споров, а слово «общая» подразумевает противопоставление термину «специальная» или «специализированная». То есть словосочетание «общая юрисдикция» означает, что такой суд рассматривает все споры, кроме тех, которыми занимаются специализированные суды (со специальной юрисдикцией).

Военные суды – это официально подвид судов общей юрисдикции, но с отдельной структурой и особой сферой деятельности. В них, в основном, разбирают споры, связанные с прохождением военной службы (например, дела о преступлениях военнослужащих или конфликты между военными и их начальством).

Арбитражные суды разбирают бизнес-споры. Это обычно либо конфликт между коммерческими организациями, либо конфликт между коммерческой организацией и государством. В число арбитражных судов входит Суд по интеллектуальным правам, расположенный в Москве. Словосочетание «арбитражный суд» иногда не вполне корректно сокращают до слова «арбитраж».

Конституционные и уставные суды (в том числе Конституционный суд РФ) рассматривают соответствие законов российской Конституции и региональным конституциям и уставам.

Над всеми этими судами, кроме конституционных и уставных, стоит Верховный суд РФ.


Part 3



The costumes worn by judges are just about the most distinctive working wardrobe in existence. But that’s not altogether surprising: after all, not many uniforms have had seven centuries to evolve…

When robes and wigs weren’t traditional

Strange as it might seem now, when judges first started wearing robes and wigs they probably wouldn’t have stood out on the street.

The costume of a High Court judge, for example – a long robe, a full hood with a cowl covering the shoulders and a mantle (or cloak) –  was more or less established by the time of Edward III (1327-77) and was based on the correct dress for attending the royal court.

The material for these robes was originally given to judges as a grant from the Crown, and included ermine and taffeta or silk. The colours were violet for winter and green in summer, with scarlet for best, but the last mention of green robes dates back to 1534.

In 1635 the definitive guide to court dress was published in the Judges’ Rules. But this didn’t introduce new costumes; it just set out what existing robes should be worn, and when.

So after 1635, the correctly-dressed judge would have worn a black robe faced with miniver (a light-coloured fur) in winter, and violet or scarlet robes, faced with shot-pink taffeta, in summer. A black girdle, or cincture, was worn with all robes.

Not that these guidelines made the matter of correct court dress simple.

By the mid-eighteenth century, the rules of 1635 were not being stuck to as strictly as the author might have hoped.

A less formal version of the robes – a scarlet robe, black scarf and scarlet casting-hood (also known as a tippet or stole) – as used for criminal trials, and for civil trials some judges had begun to wear a black silk gown.

When sitting in Westminster Hall – at the time the home of the courts of law – the mantle was not worn; this was now saved for ceremonial wear. And grey taffeta was becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to the pink taffeta used on summer robes.

Plain linen bands began to be worn at the neck, in place of the ruffs associated with Queen Elizabeth I. These were originally wide collars, but by the 1680s had become what we see today: two rectangles of linen, tied at the throat.

Bands are still usually worn with a winged collar, rather than the turn-down collar seen on a typical shirt today.

Sometimes changes to the court structure itself have had a major effect on what is worn by judges.

The High Court, for example, was created by the Judicature Acts of 1873-5, absorbing the courts of Chancery, Admiralty, Probate and Matrimonial Causes. This led to a new dress dilemma; trial judges in these courts were used to wearing plain black silk gowns.

These judges were allowed to keep the dress code they were used to, and even today, black silk gowns are worn by judges in the Chancery, Probate, Admiralty, Divorce and Family Divisions.

When county courts were created in 1846 the black gown was also worn. However, in 1915 Judge Woodfall suggested that a new robe – similar to those worn by High Court judges – be introduced.

A violet robe was chosen, faced – to distinguish it from the violet High Court robe  in lilac or mauve taffeta. A lilac tippet and black girdle also formed part of the costume, which due to wartime conditions did not become compulsory until 1919.

A full violet hood for ceremonial occasions was added in 1937, and the creation of the Crown Court in 1971 led to the introduction of a scarlet tippet, to be worn during criminal trials.

However, this was not compulsory; judges could choose to wear a black gown instead. Judges at the Central Criminal Court (the Old Bailey) still wear their black gowns.

The Court of Appeal was created at the same time as the High Court, again combining several existing courts. The Master of the Rolls (head of the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal) and two other members of the Court of Appeal in Chancery were among the new members of this court – which probably explains why a black silk gown was chosen.

The Court of Criminal Appeal, founded in 1908, originally wore the full black, scarlet or violet robes and regalia, but in 1966 the court was abolished and re-formed as the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division). At this point, judges of this court adopted the black silk gown, with the Queen’s Bench Division following suit soon afterwards.

Elaborate robes of black flowered silk damask, with gold lace and decorations, have been worn by the two senior Chancery judges  the Master of the Rolls and the Lord Chancellor – for ceremonial occasions since the seventeenth century.

After the Judicature Acts, the same dress was adopted by the Lords Justices of Appeal and the President of the Family Division.

These robes cover an equally ornate suit, including a swallow-tail coat, waistcoat and knee breaches, silk stockings and patent leather pumps with buckles. This would have been ordinary dress in the eighteenth century.

Until the seventeenth century, lawyers were expected to appear in court with clean, short hair and beards.

Wigs made their first appearance in a courtroom purely and simply because that’s what was being worn outside it; the reign of Charles II (1660-1685) made wigs essential wear for polite society.

The judiciary, however, took some time to convince; portraits of judges from the early 1680s still show judges defiantly sporting their own natural hair, and wigs do not seem to have been adopted wholesale until 1685.

The reign of George III (1760-1820) saw wigs gradually go out of fashion. By the end of the century they were mainly worn by bishops, coachmen and the legal profession – and even bishops were given permission to stop wearing wigs in the 1830s.

Judges wore only full-bottomed wigs until the 1780s, when the less formal, and smaller, bob-wig, with frizzed sides rather than curls, and a short tail or queue at the back, was adopted for civil trials.



1. Sum up the main ides of the text and retell it in Russian.


2. Fill in the missing words from the box into the text below.

dramatically independence government responsible deployment

staff recommend appointments recommendations conduct way public real created more bring appeal


The Lord Chancellor’s role changed 1)__________ on 3 April 2006, as a result of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005.

For the first time in almost 900 years, judicial 2)__________ is now officially enshrined in law.

The key changes brought in by the act include:

•A duty on 3)__________ ministers to uphold the independence of the judiciary, barring them from trying to influence judicial decisions through any special access to judges

•Reform of the post of Lord Chancellor, transferring their judicial functions to the President of the Courts of England and Wales  a new title given to the Lord Chief Justice. The Lord Chief Justice is now 4)__________ for the training, guidance and 5)__________ of judges and represents the views of the judiciary of England and Wales to Parliament and ministers

•An independent Supreme Court has been established, separate from the House of Lords and with its own independent appointments system, 6)__________, budget and building

•An independent Judicial Appointments Commission, responsible for selecting candidates to 7)__________ for judicial appointment to the Secretary of State for Justice. The Judicial Appointments Commission ensures that merit remains the sole criterion for appointment and the 8)__________ system is modern, open and transparent

•An Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman, responsible for investigating and making 9)__________ concerning complaints about the judicial appointments process, and the handling of judicial 10)__________ complaints within the scope of the Constitutional Reform Act.

What has not changed is the 11)__________ judgments are made or given; after all, judges have been independent in the way they work for centuries.

The 12)__________ differences are in the day-to-day management of the judiciary, the way judges are appointed and the way complaints are dealt with. These are now truly independent, to enhance accountability, 13)__________ confidence and effectiveness.

The Tribunals Service was 14)__________ on 3 April 2006, and brought together the administration of a large number of individual tribunals, resulting in a 15)__________ common and consistent approach for users.

On November 3, 2008, the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act came into force.

This created a new two-tier Tribunal system: a First– tier Tribunal and an Upper Tribunal, both of which are split into Chambers. Each Chamber comprises similar jurisdictions or 16)__________ together similar types of experts to hear appeals.

These new super tribunals absorbed over 20 existing smaller tribunals as well as providing a structure to which new 17)__________ rights could be assigned.


3. Read the following article and make a rendering of it in English.


Судопроизводство – это порядок действий суда при рассмотрении дела. Всего в России есть пять видов судопроизводства, которые отражают пять типов правовых конфликтов. Синоним слова «судопроизводство» –  «процесс».

Уголовное судопроизводство (уголовный процесс). Суть дела –  государство обвиняет человека в совершении преступления. Место действия – суд общей юрисдикции (в т.ч. военный суд). Как судить – читаем Уголовно-процессуальный кодекс РФ (УПК РФ). За что судить и как наказывать –  читаем Уголовный кодекс РФ (УК РФ).

Гражданское судопроизводство (гражданский процесс). Суть дела обычно такова –  один субъект (физлицо, юрлицо, РФ, субъект РФ или муниципалитет) считает, что другой субъект нарушил его права и нанёс ему имущественный или моральный ущерб. Поэтому первый субъект (истец) требует от второго субъекта (ответчика) компенсацию, чаще всего денежную. Место действия –  суд общей юрисдикции (в т.ч. военный суд). Как судить –  читаем Гражданский процессуальный кодекс РФ (ГПК РФ). Как разрешать спор –  читаем Гражданский кодекс РФ (ГК РФ), а также Семейный, Трудовой, Жилищный и Земельный кодексы, закон РФ «О защите прав потребителей» и другие законы.

Административное судопроизводство (административный процесс). В науке не устоялось чёткое понимание этого термина, и в разных источниках в него включают разные виды судопроизводства. Если объединить их все, то получится следующий круг ситуаций. Первый случай –  госорган привлёк кого-то к административной ответственности (например, оштрафовал водителя за превышение скорости), а «привлечённый» жалуется в суд. Второй случай –  госорган передаёт в суд дело об административном правонарушении, где сам не может назначить наказание (например, об административном аресте или лишении специального права). Третья ситуация –  человек оспаривает действия госслужащих или органов власти (неправильно посчитали пенсию или налоги, не регистрируют право собственности на землю, нарушили порядок подсчёта голосов на выборах и др.).

Место действия – суд общей юрисдикции (в т.ч. военный суд). Как судить в первых двух случаях – читаем Кодекс РФ об административных правонарушениях (КоАП РФ), в третьем – Кодекс административного судопроизводства РФ (КАС РФ). Какое решение выносить в первых двух случаях – читаем КоАП РФ и ряд других законов, в третьем –  законы, регулирующие работу госорганов.

Арбитражное судопроизводство (арбитражный процесс). Здесь тоже может быть несколько ситуаций. Первая – один бизнесмен обвиняет другого в нарушении договора или закона и требует компенсации убытков. Вторая ситуация –  спор между бизнесменом и госорганом о налогах или административном правонарушении. Под «бизнесменом» я подразумеваю как индивидуального предпринимателя (ИП), так и юридическое лицо.

Место действия – арбитражный суд. Как судить – читаем Арбитражный процессуальный кодекс РФ (АПК РФ). Как разрешать спор –  читаем ГК РФ, КоАП РФ и другие законы.

Арбитражный процесс выделяют в особую категорию, потому что происходит он в специальном суде и регулируется отдельным кодексом. Но некоторые юристы считают, что арбитражный процесс – лишь разновидность гражданского.

Конституционное судопроизводство (конституционный процесс). Спор зависит от уровня суда. В первом случае заявитель считает, что один из законов противоречит российской Конституции, и просит его изменить или отменить. В этом случае место действия – Конституционный суд РФ. Как судить – ФКЗ «О Конституционном суде РФ». Как разрешать спор – Конституция РФ и ряд других законов.

Во втором случае заявитель считает, что один из региональных законов противоречит региональной конституции или уставу. В данном случае «конституция» и «устав» – это одно и то же, просто конституции есть у республик, а уставы – у всех остальных регионов. Место действия –  конституционный или уставный суд региона. Как судить и как разрешать спор –  читаем законы субъекта РФ.

Разумеется, в описании каждого вида судопроизводства указаны далеко не все возможные конфликты. Есть много других вопросов – разрешение суда на обыск, ликвидация юрлица, банкротство, развод и т. д. Но пока затронем лишь основные ситуации.