Name legal documents of constitutional importance, which affected modern legal systems.

TASK 1. Read the text and write down the equivalents for the words and expressions in bold type.

Magna Carta

      At the heart of the English system are two principles of government - limited government and representative government. The idea that government was not all-powerful first appeared in the Magna Carta*, or Great Charter, that King John** signed in 1215 under the threat of civil war.
      Earlier kings of England had issued charters, making promises to their barons. But these were granted by, not exacted from the king and were very generally phrased. Later the tension between the Kings and the nobility increased. In 1199, 1201, and 1205 John's barons had to be promised their rights. It is, therefore, not surprising that Stephen Langton, archbishop of Canterbury, directed baronial unrest into a demand for a solemn grant of liberties by the king. The document known as the Articles of the Barons was at last agreed upon and became the text from which the final version of the charter was drafted and sealed by John on June 15, 1215.
      The Magna Carta established the principle of limited government, in which the power of the monarch, or government, was limited, not absolute. This document provided for protection against unjust punishment and the loss of life, liberty, and property except according to law. It stipulated that no citizen could be punished or kept in prison without a fair trial. Under the Magna Carta, the king agreed that certain taxes could not be levied without popular consent.
      Although the Magna Carta was originally intended to protect aristocracy and not the ordinary citizens, it came in time to be regarded as a cornerstone of British liberties, and is one of the oldest written constitutional papers.

*Magna Carta - Великая Хартия Вольностей
**King John - Иоанн Безземельный, английский король (1199-1216)

TASK 2. The word GOVERNMENT has the following meanings in Russian:

1. государственная власть
executive government — исполнительная власть
judicial government — судебная власть
legislative government — законодательная власть

2. управление, руководство
the government of a state — управление государством
a system of government — система правления

3. форма правления, государственное устройство, политический строй
democratic /republican / federal / parliamentary government — демократическая /республиканская / федеральная / парламентская форма правления
constitutional government — конституционная форма правления

4. правительство, правительственный аппарат
Liberal /Labour / Conservative Government — либеральное /лейбористское /консервативное] правительство
to form the government — сформировать правительство

Match the following English expressions to their Russian equivalents:

  1. arbitrary government
  2. authoritarian government
  3. colonial form of government
  4. government investigation
  5. government of the day
  6. government offices
  7. government official
  8. government party
  9. government(al) department
  10. government(al) regulation
  11. government's term of office
  12. Her Majesty's Government
  13. local government
  14. military government
  15. mixed government
  16. organs of government
  17. parliamentary government
  18. presidential government
  19. provisional government
  20. representative government
  21. to dissolve the government
  1. действующее правительство
  2. местное самоуправление
  3. военная администрация
  4. смешанная форма правления
  5. парламентское правление
  6. правительство Её Величества
  7. правящая партия
  8. правительственные учреждения
  9. представительная форма правления
  10. временное правительство
  11. распустить /расформировать/ правительство
  12. органы государственного управления
  13. автократия
  14. президентская власть
  15. авторитарная форма правления
  16. правительственное ведомство
  17. правительственное расследование
  18. колониальная форма государственного устройства
  19. постановление правительства
  20. правительственный чиновник
  21. срок правомочий правительства

Use the expressions above to make sentences of your own.

TASK 4. Answer the questions:

  1. What were the two basic principles of the English system of government at the beginning of the 13th century? How do you understand these principles?
  2. What political situation necessitated the granting of the Magna Carta?
  3. What provisions did the Magna Carta contain?
  4. Who enjoyed the rights granted by the Magna Carta?

TASK 5. Render the following passage into English paying attention to the words and expressions in bold type:

Великая Хартия Вольностей

      Великая Хартия Вольностей - это грамота, подписанная в 1215 английским королем Иоанном I. Она составлена на латинском языке и содержит 63 статьи. Этот документ был подписан в результате недовольства баронов усилением королевской власти, налоговым гнетом и неудачной внешней политикой короля. Большинство статей отражало и защищало интересы аристократии. Однако, другие сословия также получили значительные права.
      Великая Хартия Вольностей гарантировала соблюдение королем определенных обязательств по отношению к баронам, запрещала королю взимать налоги без согласия подданных. Хартия положила начало свободе личности. Ни один человек не мог быть арестован, заключен в тюрьму, лишен собственности или покровительства законов, изгнан или подвергнут иной каре иначе, как по суду равных ему и согласно законам страны.
      Это был первый в истории Англии документ, ограничивающий власть короны и провозглашающий права и свободы подданных. Великая Хартия вольностей стала краеугольным камнем английских свобод. Ряд ее статей получили развитие в Акте Хабеас Корпус и Билле о правах.
      Великая Хартия вольностей сыграла важнейшую роль в английской истории. Она и сейчас входит в число действующих актов конституции Великобритании.


“Let the Body Be Brought...”

      In the United States, Britain, and many other English-speaking countries, the law of Habeas Corpus guarantees that nobody can be held in prison without trial. Habeas Corpus became a law because of a wild party held in 1621 at the London home of a notoriously rowdy lady, Alice Robinson. When a constable appeared and asked her and her guests to quiet down, Mrs. Robinson allegedly swore at him so violently that he arrested her, and a local justice of the peace committed her to jail.
      When she was finally brought to trial, Mrs. Robinson’s story of her treatment in prison caused an outcry. She had been put on a punishment diet of bread and water, forced to sleep on the bare earth, stripped, and given 50 lashes. Such treatment was barbaric even by the harsh standards of the time; what made it worse was that Mrs. Robinson was pregnant.
      Public anger was so great that she was acquitted, the constable who had arrested her without a warrant was himself sent to prison, and the justice of the peace was severely reprimanded. And the case, along with other similar cases, led to the passing of the Habeas Corpus Act in Britain in 1679. The law is still on the British statute books, and a version of it is used in the United States, where the law was regarded as such an important guarantee of liberty that Article 1 of the Constitution declares that “Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended except in cases of rebellion or invasion”.
      Habeas Corpus is part of a Latin phrase - Habeas corpus ad subjiciendum - that means “Let the body be brought before the judge.” In effect, a writ of Habeas Corpus is an order in the name of the people (or, in Britain, of the sovereign) to produce an imprisoned person in court at once.

TASK 1. Find in the text the English equivalents for the following words and expressions:

  1. мировой судья
  2. ордер на арест
  3. варварское отношение
  4. восстание; мятеж, бунт
  5. вторжение, нападение, нашествие
  6. недовольство общественности
  7. печально известный
  8. заключить в тюрьму
  9. вызвать гневный протест
  10. привести к принятию закона
  11. получить строгий выговор
  12. предстать перед судом
  13. быть оправданным
  14. быть приостановленным
  15. от имени народа / монарха

Retell the text using the words and expressions above.

TASK 2. Work with a dictionary. Find the definitions of the following legal terms.

  • trial
  • writ
  • statute

Use each word in sentences of your own.

TASK 3. Render the following passage into English paying special attention to the words and expressions in bold type:

Хабеас Корпус

      Хабеас Корпус Акт - это закон, принятый в 1679 английским парламентом. Согласно этому закону, судьи были обязаны по жалобе лица, считающего свой арест или арест кого-либо другого незаконным, требовать срочного представления арестованного суду для проверки законности ареста или для судебного разбирательства. Заключение обвиняемого в тюрьму могло производиться только по предъявлении ордера с указанием причины ареста
      Хабеас Корпус - это существовавшее издревле, по некоторым данным, еще до Великой Хартии вольностей, понятие английского права, которым гарантировалась личная свобода. Ни один свободный человек не мог быть посажен в тюрьму без предписания Хабеас Корпус, посредством которого судья повелевал доставить к нему обвиняемого (букв. тело, corpus).

Let the Body Be Brought!

Imagine the following situation: You have been arrested and imprisoned. No warrant has been produced. Your friend or lawyer comes to see you in prison. Tell him about your problem and ask him to take appropriate steps. Appoint another student as a judge who will do justice.


  • Misdeed, harm, sin, misconduct
  • Crime, offense, wrongdoing
  • Unlawful act, violation of the law, lawbreaking

What is your personal understanding of these words? Give examples.

TASK 1. Match the following headings with the sections of the text below:

  • History
  • Application
  • Techniques
  • Subject
  • Objectives


Criminology is a social science dealing with the nature, extent, and causes of crime; the characteristics of criminals and their organizations; the problems of apprehending and convicting offenders; the operation of prisons and other correctional institutions; the rehabilitation of convicts both in and out of prison; and the prevention of crime.
The science of criminology has two basic objectives: to determine the causes, whether personal or social, of criminal behavior and to evolve valid principles for the social control of crime. In pursuing these objectives, criminology draws on the findings of biology, psychology, psychiatry, sociology, anthropology, and related fields.
Criminology originated in the late 18th century when various movements began to question the humanity and efficiency of using punishment for retribution rather than deterrence and reform. There arose as a consequence what is called the classical school of criminology, which aimed to mitigate legal penalties and humanize penal institutions. During the 19th century the positivist school attempted to extend scientific neutrality to the understanding of crime. Because they held that criminals were shaped by their environment, positivists emphasized case studies and rehabilitative measures. A later school, the "social defense" movement, stressed the importance of balance between the rights of criminals and the rights of society.
Criminologists commonly use several research techniques. The collection and interpretation of statistics is generally the initial step in research. The case study, often used by psychologists, concentrates on an individual or a group. The typological method involves classifying offenses, criminals, or criminal areas according to various criteria. Sociological research, which may involve many different techniques, is used in criminology to study groups, subcultures, and gangs as well as rates and kinds of crime within geographic areas.
Criminology has many practical applications. Its findings can give lawyers, judges, and prison officials a better understanding of criminals, which may lead to more effective treatment. Criminological research can be used by legislators and in the reform of laws and of penal institutions.

TASK 2. Find in the text the English equivalents for the following:

  1. криминология рассматривает природу и причины преступлений
  2. изучение обстоятельств правонарушения по материалам дела
  3. криминология опирается на открытия других наук
  4. проблемы задержания преступников
  5. проблемы предотвращения преступлений
  6. применение на практике
  7. исправительные учреждения
  8. установить корни преступного поведения
  9. установить причины преступности
  10. выработать действующие принципы
  11. смягчить наказание
  12. подвергнуть сомнению

TASK 3. Replace the words and expressions in bold type with words and expressions that mean the same.

  • The objectives of criminology and criminalistics are rather different.
  • The system of penal institutions is to be reformed.
  • The scientific study of criminals originated in the late 18th century.
  • Modern criminologists hold that criminals are shaped by a multiplicity of factors.
  • Criminology studies the factors that lead to violent behaviour.

TASK 4. Match the legal terms on the left with their definitions on the right. Use them in sentences of your own.

1) Deterrence
a) guidance and instruction given to offenders, their beneficial treatment aimed at restitution of positive skills and attitudes
2) case study
b) measures taken to prevent hostile action
3) legislator
c) a person serving a prison sentence
4) retribution
d) a detailed analysis of a criminal person or group
5) convict
e) a member of a body which gives or makes laws
6) rehabilitation
f) something given or demanded in repayment, especially punishment

TASK 5. Answer the following questions:

  1. What steps can society take to cope with crime?
  2. What trends can be observed in the development of criminology?
  3. What methods and techniques are applied in criminology?
  4. In what other spheres of life can criminology find a useful application?

TASK 6. Read the text and write down the Russian equivalents for the words and expressions in bold type.

Cesare Lombroso (1836 – 1909)

      Professor Lombroso is a criminologist whose views, though not altogether correct, caused a lot of interest and made other people look into the problem of crime in a more scientific way. He is regarded as the father of the scientific study of criminals, or criminology.
      Lombroso studied at the universities of Padua, Vienna, and Paris, and later he became a professor of psychiatry and forensic medicine, a director of a mental asylum.
      In an enormous book called The Criminal, he set out the idea that there is a definite criminal type, who can be recognized by his or her appearance. Some of what he said is difficult to believe. For example, he said that left-handed persons have a criminal instinct. Among the things he considered important were the shape of the head, colour of the hair, the eyes, the curve of the chin and forehead and if the ears stick out.
      Lombroso's theories were widely influential in Europe for a time, but his emphasis on hereditary causes of crime was later strongly rejected in favour of environmental factors. Lombroso tried to reform the Italian penal system, and he encouraged more humane and constructive treatment of convicts through the use of work programs intended to make them more productive members of society.

TASK 7. Complete the following text with the words from the box. Translate the text.

criminal types; capital punishment; inmates; case studies; upbringing; investigations; suspended; multiple; unthinkable; rehabilitative.

      Cesare Lombroso, professor of psychiatry and anthropology at the University of Turin, sought through firsthand observation and measurement of prison _________ to determine the characteristics of _______. Some of his __________ allowed him to establish the existence of “hereditary criminals”. Lombroso held that such criminals exhibit a higher percentage of physical and mental anomalies than do noncriminals. Among these anomalies, were various unusual skull sizes and asymmetries of the facial bones.
      Other scholars helped to introduce the ideas that crime has ________ causes and that most criminals are not born criminal but are shaped by their __________ and associations. Thus, the emphasis in criminology had turned to experimental _____ _____ and to preventive and _______ measures. Without this contribution into the scientific study of criminals the present-day alternatives to ____________ and old-fashioned imprisonment such as probation, ________ sentence, fines, and parole would have been _________.

TASK 8. Answer the following questions:

  1. What is Cesare Lombroso famous for?
  2. How did he try to relate criminal behaviour to a person’s appearance?
  3. What was Lombroso’s contribution to the development of penal system?

TASK 9. Render the following article into English paying special attention to the words and expressions in bold type.

Преступность: Врожденное и Приобретенное

      Более ста лет назад итальянский врач Чезаре Ломброзо создал галерею “преступных типов”, чем обессмертил свое имя. Он, например, утверждал, что покатый лоб, квадратный подбородок, грубые черты лица, длинные руки, и мускулистое телосложение говорят о врожденных преступных наклонностях.
      Понадобилось много лет, пока теория прирожденного преступника сошла на нет, потеряла свое влияние. Тем не менее и в наши дни продолжаются споры о наследовании преступных качеств и о биологических предпосылках преступного поведения.
      Послевоенный экономический рост породил у западных лидеров опасное заблуждение, что с любыми общественными проблемами можно справиться, проводя соответствующую социальную политику и увеличивая бюджетные отчисления. Тогда казалось, что, давая человеку больше благ, можно смягчить и даже изменить его природу. Времена изменились, и стало ясно, что ни либеральные реформы, ни коммунистический диктат не привели к обществу процветания.
      В 1979 г. в Центре изучения близнецов и усыновленных детей в США начали наблюдать несколько сотен двойняшек и тройняшек. Все они были разлучены вскоре после рождения и воспитывались в разных концах Англии и Америки. Экспериментаторы исходили из предположения, что, если близнецы идентичные, все различия, возникшие впоследствии, следует отнести за счет разной среды обитания. Однако, исследования показали, что различия между детьми, воспитанными раздельно, и близнецами, росшими в одной семье, практически отсутствуют.
      Другое исследование, проведенное в Дании, показало, что дети преступников, даже если их воспитывать в домах добропорядочных граждан, в большей степени склонны к конфликтам с законом, чем собственные отпрыски. Более того, есть все основания считать, что, если один из разлученных однояйцевых близнецов имеет судимость за уголовное преступление, второй рано или поздно тоже свернет на скользкую дорожку.
      Некоторые исследователи идут еще дальше и считают, что первопричина многих видов правонарушения, в первую очередь таких тяжких, как убийства, разбойные нападения, изнасилования и поджоги - не социальная, а биологическая.
      Самый серьезный удар по “теории о среде” нанесла сравнительно молодая наука – социобиология. Исследования на животных показали, что у агрессивных обезьян уровень одного из гормонов – серотина – ниже, чем у пассивных. Это, вполне возможно, относится и к человеку – у людей, совершивших преднамеренные насильственные преступления, тоже наблюдается недостаток этого гормона. Так кто же виноват: среда или генетика?

Criminality – Inborn or Acquired?

Prepare your arguments for or against the statement above.
Use the active vocabulary of the Unit.
Divide into two groups – pro and con, and conduct a debate on the origins of criminality.
Appoint the “Chair” of the debate who will give the floor to the speakers of both teams.