International Legal English  (Goulden)

The course will develop your competence to work confidently in English in a legal context by improving skills in the four language areas – reading and writing, speaking and listening.

Core of the course is Cambridge University’s syllabus in international legal English; the main (obligatory*) textbook is Cambridge’s “International Legal English” with additional material drawn from online sources such as The Guardian law pages, law reports, professional websites etc. Video and audio are also used.

Although based on Common Law and Commercial law, the concepts are found in many legal systems. Texts and topics include: company law, contract, sale of goods, employment, real and intellectual property, and competition law. However, it should be emphasised that this is not a course in substantive law – simply that these subject areas provide a realistic context for language training.

Teaching is in a participative, tutorial format offering opportunities to use the skills that you have learned in teaching sessions. Many classes begin with a small group discussion of a current legal issue. Weekly preparation and exercises, lasting 90 mins. are an integral part of the course. Programme leader is David Goulden, a Cambridge-qualified barrister, and an experienced English Legal Language Teacher.


The learning objectives are summarised as:

Reading: improving your ability to read and understand legal texts such as legal journals, legislation, correspondence etc

Writing: to improve your ability to write common legal texts like letters and memoranda

Listening: to increase your understanding of spoken English when it is used to speak about legal topics in meetings, conferences, seminars etc

At conclusion, participants must take a written assessment based as follows: Reading (40mins)         Listening (35 mins). There will also be an in-course writing exercise.


The areas to be tested are described as:

Reading: semantic precision, grammatical and lexical knowledge, awareness of text structure and understanding gist, detail, opinion and information

Listening: understanding gist, detail, function, opinion and inference; also retrieving specific information, identifying speakers and topics; recognising attitude.

Writing: concise expression, accuracy of language, organisation of content and relevance.

* We have bought bulk copies of the textbook and they will be available at the first lesson for 32.50€ (saving €10 /12€ compared with online prices).