Legal Systems and Terminology

Course CodeBWR108
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Want to understand the law better?

An understanding of legal terminology is valuable in many different situations. This course is therefore valuable to a lot of people, including:

  • Anyone working, or wanting to work, in a law office
  • Business people who need to understand legalities around contracts, leases, employment
  • Those working in any role where contracts are in place e.g. real estate agent, accountant, public servant
  • People who have a personal interest in the law, and need to have the background to start their own research

The language of law differs from most other role-specific languages in that legal language is culture-bound and intertwined with each particular society and its legal system. Legal language is not a universal language such as is the case of the language of natural science, which is an almost universal language utilised by scientists worldwide. It is developed in laws or sentences, in administrative acts or in private negotiations, and it is always based in the dialectical relationship between being and having to be, between legal prescription and concrete case. While retaining its fundamental characteristics, it has diversity of styles and of environments.

This course will be suitable for those working in business, or those who aspire to and want to ensure they have relevant background information. Sign up today!

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Scope and Nature of Legal Terminology
    • Codification
    • Origin of legal words
    • Development of Legal Language
    • The Role of Latin in the Development of Legal Language and Law
    • Common legal language
    • Sources of law
    • Broad Categories of Law
    • Substantive Vs Procedural Law
    • Private vs. Public Law
    • Civil vs. Common Law
    • Types of Law
    • Administrative Law
    • Adversarial (Accusatorial Law)
    • Civil Law
    • Constitutional Law
    • Continental Law
    • Contract Law
    • Common Law (English Law)
    • Criminal or Penal Law
    • Intellectual Property Law
    • International Law
    • Inquisitorial Law
    • Islamic Law
    • Property Law
    • Public Law
    • Roman Law
    • Socialist Law
    • Statute Law
    • Tort Law
    • Trust Law
    • Separation of Powers (Judicial, Legislative, Executive)
    • Essential Features of the Westminster System
    • Common legal terms
  2. The Legal Workplace
    • People & Processes
    • Types of Lawyers
    • Attorney (or Advocate)
    • Barrister Vs Solicitor
    • Criminal Defence Lawyers
    • Corporate Lawyers
    • Bankruptcy Lawyers
    • Civil Lawyers
    • Other specialisations
    • Court Solicitors
    • Barristers
    • Court Agents
    • Paralegal Professionals
    • Law courts
    • Role of courts
    • Jurisdiction
    • Judicial Immunity
    • General jurisdiction
    • Limited (bounded or special) jurisdiction
    • Criminal jurisdiction
    • Monetary jurisdiction
    • Original jurisdiction
    • Intermediate Jurisdiction
    • Appellate jurisdiction
    • Ancillary jurisdiction
    • Concurrent jurisdiction
    • Exclusive jurisdiction
    • Pendent jurisdiction
    • Subject matter jurisdiction
    • Levels of Courts
    • Appellate Court
    • Civil Court
    • Constitutional Court
    • Article Courts
    • Circuit Courts
    • County Court
    • Court of Assize
    • Court of Equity
    • Court of Record
    • District Court
    • Family Court
    • Federal Court
    • Full Court (or full bench)
    • Privy Council
    • International Court of Justice
    • International Criminal Court
    • Juvenile Court
    • Magistrate’s Court
    • Open Court
    • Probate Court
    • Small Claims Court
    • Superior Court
    • Supreme Court
    • English Court Structure
    • Dispute Resolution
  3. Legal systems
    • Australia
    • UK
    • International Law etc.
    • Common law legal systems
    • Civil law
    • Codification of law
    • Separation of powers
    • Australian law system
    • International law, and more
  4. Contract & Business Law
    • Nature of Contract
    • Unilateral contracts
    • Bilateral contracts
    • Classes of contract
    • Formal Contracts
    • Simple contracts
    • Validity and enforceability
    • Agreement
    • Rules as to offer
    • Rules as to acceptance of an offer
    • Revocation of an offer
    • Rules as to rejection of an offer
    • Rules as to lapse of an offer
    • Intention to Create Legal Relations
    • Consideration
    • Rules relating to consideration
    • Lawful Object
    • Capacity to Contract
    • Discharge and Conclusion of Contract
    • Formation of Simple Contract
  5. Property Law
    • Real Property
    • Personal Property
    • Conveyancing
    • England and Wales
    • Scotland
    • USA
    • Australia
    • Intellectual Property
    • Patent
    • Trademarks
    • Copyright
    • Design patent
    • Confidential information (trade secrets)
    • Related terminology
  6. Wills, Probate, Estate Law
    • Estate
    • Wills
    • Heirs
    • Inheritance
    • Beneficiaries
    • Probate
    • Will Requirements (Testamentary intent, Testamentary capacity, Lack of duress, Absence of undue influence, Witnesses)
    • Trusts
    • Related terminology
  7. Criminal Law
    • Social construction
    • History of punishment
    • Reasons for Punishment (Rehabilitation, Deterrence/Prevention, Protection of Society/Incapacitation, Restoration, Retribution, Education)
    • USA - Criminal Law or Penal Law
    • Australian Criminal Law
    • Canadian Criminal Law
    • Tort Law
    • Classification of Torts (Intentional Tort, Unintentional Tort)
    • Purpose of Tort Law (Compensation for Damages, Financial Responsibility, Deterrence, Avoiding self-help)
    • Negligence
    • Statutory Torts
    • Nuisance
    • Defamation
    • Intentional Torts
    • Economic Torts
    • Duty of Care
    • Breach of Confidence
    • Causation
    • Related terms
  8. Other Categories
    • Family Law (Decree nisi, De facto marriage, Equitable adoption, Adoption by estoppels, Interlocutory decree, Judgement nisi)
    • Civil Actions
    • Bankruptcy
    • Insurance Law
    • Accidents Compensation and related terminology


  • Explain the scope and nature of terminology used in law and allied professions.
  • Identify and describe legal occupations and roles
  • Compare and contrast different Legal Systems worldwide and discuss the role of International Law
  • Explain the meaning of Business Law and describe the processes involved in the formation of simple contracts
  • Explain the meaning of property law and its processes.
  • Research and explain common terms and processes related to wills, probate, estate law and Trusts.
  • Investigate and describe the meaning of terms and processes associated with Criminal Law and Torts (Civil Law)
  • Describe and investigate legal terminology associated with the areas of Family Law, Bankruptcy, Insurance, and Accident Compensation.

Different Countries have Different Legal Systems

This course not only teaches you to understand legal terms, but in doing so, you also learn to understand legal systems and the way different types of laws function in different countries.
This involves both common law or civil law; and is relevant across different jurisdictions.

With increasing globalisation, we are all living and working under multiple, different legal systems. This course recognises that fact in a way some other courses might not; and attempts to provide a generic understanding of law that can be translated anywhere.


The term ‘civil law’ as a legal tradition actually originated in English-speaking countries and was used to lump all non-English legal traditions together and contrast them to the English common law.

The original difference is that, historically, common law was law developed by custom, beginning before there were any written laws and continuing to be applied by courts after there were written (or codified) laws. Civil law developed out of the Roman law of Justinian's Corpus Juris Civilis (Body of Civil Law). Legislators and administrators in civil law countries use these doctrines to fashion a code by which all legal controversies are decided.

There are now several generally accepted sub-groups of civil law, although not all civil law legal systems neatly fit into these:

  • French civil law: applied in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, Spain and former colonies of those countries.

  • German civil law: applied in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Greece, Brazil, Portugal, Turkey, Japan, South Korea, and the Republic of China (Taiwan).

  • Scandinavian civil law: applied in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

  • Chinese law: includes a mixture of civil law and socialist law.


So-called ‘mixed systems’ combine aspects of both common and civil law systems, such as the laws of Scotland, Louisiana, Quebec, the Philippines, Namibia and South Africa.


From the term between groups, International law generally refers to the entire body of rights and responsibilities existing between sovereign nations, including treaties, agreements, and customs. Its application revolves around the notion of laws being common to all people. It differs from other legal systems in that it primarily concerns states rather than private citizens.

Traditionally, international Law is divided into two branches:

  • Law of Nations – jus gentium.

  • Agreements among nations – jus inter gentes.

The term “international law” is also used to refer to three broad fields of law:

  • Private International Law (Conflict of Laws) – determines questions of jurisdiction. It concerns the questions of which jurisdiction should be permitted to hear a legal dispute between private parties, and which jurisdiction's law should be applied, therefore raising issues of international law.

  • Public International Law – governs relationships between states or sovereign nations and international organisations. It deals with specific legal areas (i.e.) Law of the Sea, International Criminal Law, Law of Treaty, Humanitarian Law etc.

  • Supra-national Law (Law of Supranational Organisations) – this field is concerned with regional agreements where the special distinguishing feature is that the laws of nation-states are held inapplicable when they conflict with a supranational legal system (i.e. The European Union).

Most international law is based on negotiation. A treaty or international convention is a formal nation-binding agreement between two countries.

International organizations play increasingly important role in the relationships between nations. An international organization is one that created by international agreement or which has membership consisting primarily of nation-states.

The United Nations was created in 1945 and is the most influential international organisation. The stated purpose of United Nations member states are:

  • To maintain peace and security.
  • To develop friendly relations among nations.
  • To achieve international cooperation in solving international problems.
  • To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of the nations and attaining their common ends.

The Charter of the United Nations has been adhered to by virtually all states. Even the few remaining non-member states have acquiesced in the principles it established. The International Court of Justice is established by the UN Charter as its principal judicial organ.  

The International Law Commission was established in 1948. Its mandate is the progressive development and codification of international law, in accordance with article 13(1) (a) of the Charter of the United Nations. The International Law commission has 34 members, each elected for a five-year period. Annual sessions are held in Geneva, Switzerland.

Watch this short video to discover about defamation:


There are lots of reasons why you should sign up to do this course with us, including:

  • The information is comprehensive and will give you excellent depth to your knowledge about the world of legal terminology
  • Within each lesson you have the opportunity to apply your learning to activities in order to extend your knowledge and research specific areas of interest, enhancing your understanding
  • Knowledge of underlying legal terminology will enable you to stand out from others and give you greater confidence
  • Legal terminology is transferable, so can give you information which could take you in to many different industries and sectors, giving you flexibility now and in the future with the opportunities you seek
  • Our subject specialist tutors will be there to support you throughout your course, they are only too happy to share their industry knowledge and experience with you
  • When studying with us you set your own deadlines, meaning you study at your own pace enabling it to fit around other commitments


You can enrol on the course now, but if you have any questions about the content of the course or studying with ACS, then please get in touch with us today - use our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING SERVICE to get in touch with our expert tutors. They will be pleased to help you!


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