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earliest known legal text was written by Ur-Nammu, a king of the Mesopotamian city of Ur, in about 2,100 B.C. It dealt with compensation for bodily injuries, and with the penalties for witchcraft and runaway slaves.

2.One of the most detailed ancient legal codes was drawn up in about 1758 BC by Hammurabi, a king of Babylonia. The entire code, consisting

of 282 paragraphs, was carved into a great stone pillar. The pillar, lost for centuries after the fall of Babylon in the 16th century BC, was rediscovered by a French archaeologist in 1901 amid the ruins of the Persian city of Susa. Hammurabi’s words were still legible. The pillar is now in the Louvre museum in Paris.

3.The laws laid down by Hammurabi were more extensive than any that had gone before. They covered crime, divorce and marriage, the rights of slave owners and slaves, the settlement of debts, inheritance and property contracts; there were even regulations about taxes and the prices of goods. Punishments under the code were often harsh, not only murderers but also thieves and false accusers facing the death penalty. And a child who hit his father could expect to lose the hand that struck the blow.

4.Nevertheless, Hammurabi’s laws represented an advance on earlier tribal customs. The code outlawed private blood feuds and banned the tradition by which a man could kidnap and keep the woman he wanted for his bride. In addition, the new laws took account of the circumstances of the offender as well as of the offence. So a lower-ranking citizen who lost a civil case also would be fined less than an aristocrat in the same position

though he would also be awarded less if he won.


1. The British Parliament is known to be the eldest parliament in the world. The word “Parliament”, used to describe the new body set up in 1265, is usually supposed to have come from the French word “parlement”, a discussion or conference. By the end of the thirteenth century the new rule was firmly established, and the right of Parliament to share in taxation decisions was accepted. This was a vital change. From that time the king summoned Parliament and representatives of counties and cities together with the King’s advisers from the clergy. The differences between the representatives and aristocracy were reflected in the composition of the two Houses of Parliament, meeting separately, a division that has continued throughout the seven hundred years of Parliamentary history.


2.In theory, the constitution has three branches: Parliament, which makes laws, the government, which “executes” laws, that is puts them into effect, and the law courts, which interpret laws.

3.The British Parliament has two Houses, or chambers: the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The House of Commons is the most powerful and decides national policy, but the House of Lords can ask the House of Commons to rewrite certain parts of a bill before it becomes a new law.

4.The House of Commons consists of Members of Parliament, MPs. Each MP is elected by voters in one constituency (region). There are 651 MPs, or seats, in the House of Commons (524 for England, 72 for Scotland, 38 for Wales and 17 for Northern Ireland). The 1203 members of the House of Lords are not elected. Some are life peers: they are members of the House of Lords, but their sons and daughters cannot be members. Life peers are usually former members of the House of Commons. There are also a number of judges or bishops. The majority (774), however, are hereditary peers, the heads of aristocratic families. This means that most members of the House of Lords are there because of something their ancestors did. The head of both Houses of Parliament is the Queen, but she has very little power. She acts only on the advice of the ministers and Parliament.

5.There is no written constitution in Great Britain. The main principles of British legislation are expressed in other documents, like “Magna Carta”, “Habeas Corpus Act”, “Bill of Rights”, the Parliamentary Act which decided the position of the House of Lords, the Judicature Act and so on. The British Legislation does not provide written guarantees of individual political rights.

6.The party with most MPs forms the government. The leader of the winning party automatically becomes Prime Minister and appoints the Cabinet. The members of the Cabinet are the leading government ministers. The Prime Minister is the most important person in Parliament. The party who comes second is the Opposition and forms its own Shadow Cabinet. British Prime Ministers are known to have lived at 10 Downing Street since 1731. People often talk about “Downing Street” when they mean the Prime Minister and his or her Cabinet.

Notes: Habeas Corpus Act – Хабеас Корпус (английский закон 1679 года о неприкосновенности личности).

Bill of Rights – ист. Билль о правах (в Англии).



1.Every five years, British people over the age of 18 can vote in a general election. People vote for the candidate they want in their constituency (region). The candidate who wins becomes the MP in the House of Commons, even if he or she gets only one vote more than the candidate who is second. This system promotes the two most powerful parties at the expense of the smaller parties Since 1920s, the two main parties have been the left-wing Labor Party and the right-wing Conservative Party.

2.The Liberal Democrats, a center party, are certain not to be hay with the current electoral system. This is because it is a party which does not win any seats in parliament but comes second in many constituencies. It would prefer a system of proportional representation, in which the number of MPs is based on the number of people who vote for a party in the whole country.

Notes: House of Commons – Палата Общин. House of Lords –

Палата Лордов.


1.There are three separate systems of law in the United Kingdom: the legal systems and law courts of England and Wales; Scotland; Northern Ireland. However, there are some common features to all systems in the United Kingdom: the sources of law, the distinction between civil law and criminal law. The sources of law include: 1. Written law (i.e. statutes or Acts of Parliament); 2. “Unwritten” law (i.e. Common law and Equity) based on judicial precedent We also call the Common law as “case law” or “judge-made” law. It means that when one judge had decided a point of law, any judge who has the similar set of facts must decide case in the same way as in the earlier judgement. In other words, the judge uses the process of analogy.

2.Statutes comprise Acts of Parliament and subordinate legislation made under powers conferred by parliament (e.g. Order in Council, orders and regulations made by a minister with the authority of Parliament, laws

made by local government). Statute law is more modern than Common law. Common law began to develop in the 12th century, and law making by Parliament in the 13th century. However, most statutes have been enacted only during the past century. Parliament being the supreme lawmaking body in the United Kingdom, Acts of Parliament take precedence over all other sources of law.


3. In the Middle Ages a supplementary system of law, known as Equity came into being to provide and enforce more effective protection for existing legal rights. People sent petitions to the King asking him to exercise his power of justice. The King’s chief minister, the Lord Chancellor dealt with these petitions himself and the decisions depended upon what the Chancellor thought was ‘equitable” or ‘fair’. In the 15th century a system of rules called “rules of Equity” developed as distinguished from “rules of Common law”. In 1873 Equity and Common Law jurisdictions were merged. Today English law consists of the rules of common law and Equity, embodied in precedents; changed or supplemented in part by Acts of Parliament.


Order in Council – правительственный декрет. Equity – право справедливости (система права, действующая наряду с общим правом, дополняет обычное право).


1.The courts of criminal jurisdiction include: the Magistrates’ Courts, which try the less serious offences and Crown Courts including the Central Criminal Court in London, known as “Old Bailey” (some important cases from the provinces are tried there).

2.It is the Magistrates’ Courts (sometimes called police courts) that try the majority of all criminal cases and some civil cases. The office of magistrate dates back to the year 1360, when they were designed to be a kind of policeman, whose duty was to search out and arrest offenders, as

well as to give evidence against the at their trials. In the course of tie they acquired such a wide range of duties that by the middle of the 19th century

they were almost entirely responsible for the government of counties. However towards the end of the 19th century the establishment of County Councils (in 1888) relieved the county magistrates of their governmental responsibilities, leaving them judicial functions.

3.Nowadays the Magistrates’ Court is believed to be the most common type of law court in England and Wales. There are 700 magistrates’ courts and about 30,000 magistrates. Magistrates’ Courts are presided over by law magistrates (also called justices of the peace – JPs) who work


part-time and are unpaid. The courts consist of between 2 and 7 magistrates. In a few cities there are also stipendiary magistrates who sit alone and have legal training.

4.The Crown Court is responsible for trials of the more serious cases and the appeals from Magistrates’ Courts are often heard here. Today it has 90 branches in different towns and cities. Civil cases (divorce or bankruptcy cases) are dealt with in County Courts. All those civil cases that cannot be decided by County Courts are heard by the High Court. The Court of Appeal hears both criminal and civil appeals and the House of Lords is the final appellate tribunal.

5.Certain cases may be referred to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. In addition, individuals have made the British Government change its practices in a number of areas as a result of petitions to the European Court of Human Rights.

6.The legal system also includes juvenile courts (which deal with offenders under 17) and coroners’ courts (which investigate violent, sudden or unnatural deaths). There are also administrative tribunals, which deal with disputes between individuals, and disputes between individuals and government departments (for example, over taxation).


Old Bailey – Оулд Бейли – Центральный уголовный суд в Лондоне).

Court of Appeal – Аппеляционный суд.


1. In their role as consumers, ordinary EU citizens are sure to be key players in the Union’s new frontier-free single market. The Union has in fact incorporated as the basis of its consumer policy, the protection of the five fundamental rights, which lie at the heart of national policies. These are:

a)The protection of consumers’ health and safety.

Only products, which will not endanger health or safety, may be put on the market. This means setting safety requirements, providing full information about potential risks, protecting consumers against physical injury.


b)The protection of consumers’ economic interests.

There is for example a general ban on misleading advertising and unfair terms in contracts with consumers.

c) Consumers need to be put in a position where they can make an informed choice among goods and services offered. This includes objective information on the features and price of the items available. Consumers also require proper information about their efficient and safe use.

d)The right to redress.

Consumers have the right to receive advice and help when seeking redress for faulty products or for injury or damage resulting from the use of goods and services. There must be simple, affordable and rapid procedures for settling complaints and claims.

e)Consumer representation and participation.

Representatives of consumers need to be present in decision-taking procedures on issues of concern to them at local, national or EU level. At Union level, this covers not only specific consumer issues but also other relevant policy areas like food laws, transport, competition policy, financial services, environment, and the like.

2.When the Community (the former name of European Union) adopted its first consumer program in 1975, it focused on the practical application of the five principals. As a first result, a number of directives were adopted over the next 10 years covering among other things the safety of cosmetic products, the labeling of foodstuff, misleading advertising, consumer rights in door-step selling, product liability and the provision of consumer credit.

3.In addition to its program of legislation on consumer protection, the Union took steps to make sure the interests of consumers are taken into account at local and EU level. It has supported the development of national consumer organizations and of five major EU-wide organizations with consumer interests. These are: The European Consumer’s Organization (BEUC), The Confederation of Family Organizations in the European Union (Coface), the European Community of Consumer Cooperatives (Eurocoop), The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), The European Interregional Institute for Consumer Affairs (EIICA).



1.Interpol is an international corporation founded in 1923 as a service organization devoted to coordinating actions against international criminals. Its clients are 174 agencies throughout the world. This organization is not under the control or supervision of any government.

2.Interpol is a reorganized intergovernmental police force whose task is to hunt down the international criminal. A multinational force, much like the United Nations, Interpol is made up of police of the Free World and a bona fide law enforcement agency in its own right. Fighting international terrorism and sky-jackings, Interpol still leads the war on narcotics, assists a number of nations in the continuing search for wanted Nazi war criminals. One of the most highly respected groups in the world, Interpol, like any other police force is under governmental control to safeguard the basic rights of every citizen. It operates according to a strict code of behavior and adheres to the highest ethical standards.

3.Interpol has never been recognized or established by any international charter or treaty and has no police powers. Because of Interpol’s cooperation with the UN particularly in the area of drugs, Interpol was recognized as intergovernmental organization. Interpol members are police and not governmental representatives, although certain governments have sent observers from their military, intelligence, customs, post office, and immigration departments.

4.Interpol does not have powers of arrest or any investigative rights. Its function is to disseminate information. Today 80 per cent of the permanent staff is French. Interpol is like any large corporation with bureaus in various countries and with representatives from these offices also stationed at the main office. Information is exchanged between the many national bureaus, but the police forces themselves are subject to the laws and policies of their respective nations. Interpol is divided into four main bodies – the General Assembly, the Executive Committee, the General Secretariat and the National Central Bureaus.


5.The General Assembly is composed of the delegates from each member country. It is “the Supreme Authority”. The General Assembly controls the policy of the organization. The Executive Committee is a nine-member board made-up of the president, two vice-presidents, and six delegates chosen by the General Assembly.

6.The General Secretariat, the permanent body, located in Lion, is Interpol’s business division. It contains the “permanent departments”, four of which specialize in certain crimes: one handles murder, burglary, assault, larceny, car theft, and missing persons; another deals with bank frauds and other types of embezzlement; a third with drug traffic and moral offences; and a fourth deals with forgery and counterfeiting.

7.Other divisions are the general records department, where files are kept, and a special records department, where fingerprints and other methods of identification are used. The National Central Bureaus are the Interpol offices in various countries. Each NCB is empowered to communicate directly with and exchange information with any other NCB.


1.Historians suggest that the first modern police in the United States did not come into existence until 1833 in the city of New York.

2.The first municipal police agencies consisted of nightwatchmen whose responsibility was to protect property during the evening and early morning hours. Crime continued to increase, however, and gradually there were demands to hire men to provide similar protection during the daylight hours as well. Thus, by the 1830s and 1840s these two types of police were combined to form a unified, more effective municipal police agency. The modern police departments came into existence, especially in the years following World War I.

3.Since 1920 municipal police agencies have increasingly grown in personnel and responsibilities. Special training and more selective recruitment practices have been developed to go hand in hand with the use of such technological developments as automobile, the individual police