Understand, Interpret and Use Legal Language

The law can be hard to understand for anyone. It has a language all of its own. If you want to work in a legal office; or with people who are frequently using legal language, you need to understand and be able to communicate with them.

Having the ability to communicate with legal terminology is a great asset for anyone seeking to work in the law; or even to study law.

There are differences between different countries and legal systems; but also similarities. This course lays a sound foundation and is an excellent stepping stone for anyone needing a better grasp of law and legal communications.

Legal Terminology -Study the Language of Law 

This course is valuable for anyone who needs to understand and communicate better with legal language, from people who write about business and politics, to Paralegals, Legal Assistants, Solicitors, Law Professors, Legal Receptionists/Secretaries, Private Investigators, Authorised Government Inspectors and Officers, Law Enforcement Officers and many others.

  • Learn the systematic way in which legal terms are constructed -decipher and understand terms you have not previously encountered
  • Improve your employability in the legal industry
  • Develop a foundation for further studies in law, or related subjects


There are 8 lessons in this module as follows:


1. Scope and Nature of Legal Terminology

2. The Legal Workplace

3. Legal systems

4. Contract & Business Law

5. Property Law  

6. Wills, Probate, Estate Law

7. Criminal Law  

8. Other Categories


Duration: 100 hours



  • 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

Scope of of Law

There are many other types of law that you will encounter as you research this topic. You should make a note of these for your personal reference and decide which broad category (above) they would come under.

Administrative Law
This is the branch of public law that is concerned with the legal control of decisions and actions of government agencies and non-government agencies that affect the public. Administrative law is used to review the decisions of government agencies. It consists of rules, regulations, orders, opinions, or reports containing findings of fact and administrative hearing decisions.

Adversarial (Accusatorial Law)
Adversarial Law is also known as Common Law or English law (see below). Basically, in the accusatorial or adversarial system the judge acts as an impartial umpire; prosecution and defense each put their case; and the jury decides.

Civil Law
Civil law is the most prevalent legal system in the modern world and the oldest in human history. It is based on a coded law. It is also referred to as Roman or Continental law (see below)

Constitutional Law
Constitutional law is that part of the law that deals with the constitution. It provides a framework for the creation of law. Constitutional Law sets out the rules defining the powers, limits, and rights of government.

Continental Law
Also known as Roman or Civil law (see below)

Contract Law
Laws with specific terms pertaining to an agreement between two or more parties that creates in each party a duty to do or not do something in return for a valuable benefit known as consideration. It entails a right to performance of the other's duty or a remedy for the breach of the other's duty.

Common Law (English Law)
Common law legal systems are in widespread use, particularly in England and in those nations which trace their legal heritage to England, as former colonies of the British Empire including most parts of the United States, Pakistan, India, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong. The term Common Law refers to law and legal systems that have developed through the decisions of courts and similar tribunals as opposed to legislative statutes or executive motions.

Criminal or Penal Law
Criminal law typically is enforced by the government, unlike the civil law, which may be enforced by private parties. It is the body of law that defines criminal offences or crimes against the state, and regulates the apprehension, charging, and trial of suspected persons, and fixes penalties and modes of treatment applicable to convicted offenders. The state is the plaintiff.

Intellectual Property Law
Intellectual Property law pertains to property that derives from the work of the mind or intellect. For example, an idea, inventions, trade secrets, processes, programs, data, formula, patents, copyrights, or trademarks or applications, rights, or registrations.

International Law
International law is the body of law that deals with legal relations between states or nation-states. To qualify as a subject under the traditional definition of international law, a state has to be sovereign: It needs a territory, a population, a government, and the ability to engage in diplomatic or foreign relations. This term now includes a more contemporary definition that expands the traditional notions of international law to confer rights and obligations on intergovernmental international organizations and even on individuals.

Inquisitorial Law
Inquisitorial Law is the system operating in some European countries, for example, France. In the inquisitorial system the inquiry into the facts is conducted by the judge, who also examines the evidence and interrogates witnesses.

Islamic Law
Sharia is the body of Islamic Law. Along with English Common Law and Civil Law it is the one of the largest law systems in the world. The word Sharia means “way” or “path to the water-source”. Islamic law regulates both public and private aspects of Islamic life.

Property Law
Property law is the area of law that governs the various forms of ownership in real property (land as distinct from personal or movable possessions) and in personal property, within the common law legal system. In the civil law system, there is a division between movable and immovable property. Movable property roughly corresponds to personal property, while immovable property corresponds to real estate or real property, and the associated rights and obligations thereon.

Public Law
Public law is a theory of law governing the relationship between individuals and companies, and the state. Under this theory, Constitutional law, Administrative law and Criminal law are sub-divisions of public law.

Roman Law
The legal system of ancient Rome is now the basis of civil law, one of the main European legal systems. First codified 450 BC, and finalized under Justinian AD 528–534, it advanced to a system of international law (jus gentium) applied in disputes between Romans and foreigners or provincials, or between provincials of different states. Church influence led to the adoption of Roman law throughout western continental Europe, and it was spread to Eastern Europe and parts of Asia by the French Code Napoléon in the 19th century. Scotland and Québec (because of their French links) and South Africa (because of its link with the Netherlands) also have it as the basis of their legal systems.

Socialist Law
Socialist law is the official name of the legal system used in Communist states and is based on the civil law system, with major modifications and additions from Marxist-Leninist ideology.

Statute Law
A legal system based on fixed rules and statutes (Statute Law), rather than on the courts interpretation of broad principles. Statutory Law is made by executive action, through a legislature or sovereign body that exists for the sole purpose of making law, for example, through an Act of Parliament. An act is binding on all courts and judges. In Australia, Judges cannot rule or challenge the validity of an Act, except in the High Court.

Tort Law
Tort law is a body of law that addresses, and provides remedies for, civil wrongs not arising out of contractual obligations. Tort law defines what constitutes a legal injury and establishes the circumstances under which one person may be held liable for another's injury. Tort law covers intentional acts and accidents. The offence is against the person and that person is the plaintiff.

Trust Law
In common law legal systems, a trust is an arrangement whereby property (including real, tangible and intangible) is managed by one person (or persons, or organizations) for the benefit of another.