Real English: What you need to know if you’re going to court

Real English: What you need to know if you're going to court

Have you ever broken the law? Today, I’m going to teach you courtroom vocabulary. It’s important to know the law so that you know your rights and know how to stay out of trouble. If you do end up in court, you need to know what to expect and how to communicate politely and intelligently so that you get the best outcome. The vocabulary and expressions you’ll learn will help you understand what is happening in courtrooms on television shows and movies, as well as if you have to appear in court yourself. Court isn’t just for hardened criminals — sometimes we have to go to court for “misdemeanours”– small crimes like parking violations and littering, or you may have to go to court because of a lawsuit or as part of your job. In this video, I’ll discuss different strategies that will help you speak with the people you’ll meet in court — lawyers, judges, and police officers. My best advice is to stay out of trouble, know how to talk to the police, and be informed if you have to go to court.

Dunh-dunh-dun-dun-dun-ne-dun-ne-dunh. engVid. Hi. James from engVid. I did a lesson before on sort of crime, when you get arrested by the police, and this is a second part, because there are two parts to a legal system or a law system. The first part is meeting the police, and the police saying you’ve done something wrong. The second part is when you actually have to get someone to say you are guilty or innocent. We’ll go over that in a second or two: What does that mean? But you have to go before people, and they have to tell you everything is good and you can go home, or bad and you have to go to jail. You ready? Let’s go to the board.

All right, so I was on my stool of justice, but probably gone for a second, here. Let’s go to the board. There are a couple terms we want to talk about. Remember we talked about being arrested? Well, the second part is going to court. We like to say: “You have your day in court”, which means that you cannot go to jail for no reason. Someone has to say you’ve done something wrong, and they have to show it. So, this video is about the process of how that happens. Okay? These are called “handcuffs”. Handcuffs. Usually you see the police, they put them on you. Well, on you, not on me, if you do something bad. Or you see bad guys wearing handcuffs. And the reason why I did handcuffs is because the two things go together. If you get arrested, you need to go to court. All right? So let’s get a start.

You’ll notice that we have funny pictures up here, so we’re going to try and figure out what these pictures mean. The first one you notice is an ear. Well, in North America, before you go to a long-term prison, I give you example. If you drink a little one night, they can put you in jail for one night, but then they usually let you go the next day, so there’s nothing special about that. But if they want to put you in jail for a longer period of time, they actually have to give you a “trial”. Okay? That’s a word up here.

But you need to have a “hearing”. The hearing is where you go in front of a judge, and that is a man or a woman who listens to what you have to say, and they listen to what the police say, and they decide if they should say: “This is it, don’t worry about it”, or: “This is serious, and we need to go further.” This will happen in cases of murder, and large theft, like $10,000, $100,000, $200,000 or any kind of sexual crime. If you walk across the street when cars are coming, don’t worry about it, you won’t need a hearing. But you notice ear is for “hearing”, so this will tell you the first part is a hearing. “Hearing” because the judge needs to hear what you have to say, because the police have said you’re bad, and you get to say: “Hey, look, it wasn’t me”, or: “It’s not what… That’s not what happened.” So you go for a hearing.

Now, after the hearing, the judge will decide, and they will decide if you have a “trial”. There are two people you must know will be at the trial. One is… Okay. The first is the “judge”. The “judge” is the person with this thing. Oh, not exactly the best drawing in the world, looks like Thor’s hammer, but it’s called a “gavel”. Bang. That’s when they tell you the decision, they hit the gavel. So that will be the judge.

The other person that will be at your trial will be a “lawyer”. Your lawyer. You’re going to need one. Make sure if you ever get in this situation, you get a lawyer. In America, it’s called an “attorney”. They can use both terms, “lawyer” or “attorney”. “Lawyer” is commonly used through English-speaking countries. Okay? So, there’s also a lawyer for the other side, because there’s you, and you’re called the “defense”, and on the other side, depending who they’re representing, the government or another person. Okay?