Legal English- differences Between Legal Terms



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Differences Between Legal Terms

Ask your partner about the differences between any of the things below which you aren’t

sure about. 

-

accepting bribes/ bribery



-

tax avoidance/ tax evasion

-

arrest/ prosecute



-

arrest/ take in for questioning

-

assault/ attempted murder



-

assault/ mugging

-

asylum seeker/ refugee



-

attorney/ district attorney (= DA)

-

bag snatching/ mugging/ pick pocketing



-

barrister/ solicitor

-

black hat hackers/ white hat hackers



-

bomb hoax/ terrorism

-

bullying/ cyber-bullying



-

burglary/ shoplifting

-

buying drugs/ drug dealing



-

capital punishment/ corporal punishment

-

civil case/ criminal case



-

community service/ hard labour

-

compensation/ fine



-

corporal punishment/ “an eye for an eye”

-

crime/ misdemeanor



-

criminal record/ permanent criminal record

-

criminal/ suspect



-

detective/ private detective

-

drug dealing/ drug trafficking



-

drug trafficking/ smuggling

-

drunk driving/ reckless driving



-

file sharing/ illegal file sharing

-

five-year jail sentence/ suspended five-year sentence



-

forgery/ piracy

-

fraud/ scam



-

graffiti/ vandalism

-

hard drugs/ soft drugs



-

hijacking/ kidnapping

-

human trafficking/ trafficking



-

illegal drugs/ misuse of prescription drugs

-

imprisonment/ rehabilitation



-

Japanese prisons/ prisons in other countries

-

judge/ juror



-

judge/ magistrate

-

libel/ slander



-

life sentence/ “life means life”

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2014



-

manslaughter/ murder

-

offender/ reoffender



-

official warning/ warning

-

open prison/ other kinds of prison



-

police station cell/ prison cell

-

profiting from prostitution/ prostitution



-

prosecute/ sue

-

the Japanese legal system/ the legal system in other countries



Homework One

Choose one of the topics above (a single expression, not a pair) and write notes on:

-

Its meaning (perhaps including contrasts with similar terms)



-

Your opinion on something related to it (e.g. if capital punishment is a good idea)

-

Support for your opinions



Homework Two

After you check you understand all the differences above, find five  more  pairs of legal

terms (including words not above) that could be confused and/ or are difficult to explain

the differences between, writing them below. Prepare to explain the differences for your

partner. 

1

 _______________________________/ ____________________________________

2

_______________________________/ ____________________________________



3

_______________________________/ ____________________________________

4

_______________________________/ ____________________________________



5

_______________________________/ ____________________________________



Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2014

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