Unit 1

The practice of law


  • Bodies of law
  • Types of law
  • Legal education
  • A lawyer’s CV


  • Documents in court
  • Lawyers
  • Law firm structure
  • Practise areas
  • Law firm culture

Writing and speaking

  • Explaining what a law said
  • Civil court systems
  • Describing a law firm


  • Types of courts
  • Persons in court
  • Legal Latin


The practice of law


Review Your Knowledge

Listen to the presentation below and decide whether these statements are true or false.

  1. The Supreme Court of the UK is the highest court in the United Kingdom for both civil and criminal cases.
  2. The separation of power principle was the most important reason for establishing the Supreme Court of the UK, thus detaching it from the House of Lords.
  3. The Supreme Court of the UK was opened in October 2009.
  4. When the highest court in the UK was a part of the House of Lords, it used to be much more approachable to the general public than it is today.
  5. Scotland has its own supreme court in criminal matters.
  6. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is the same organization as the Supreme Court of the UK.
  7. Only a handful of cases can reach the Supreme Court of the UK.
  8. The Supreme Court of the UK decides whether the facts are well established by lower courts.
  9. The Supreme Court of the UK doesn’t have a separate place for witnesses.
  10. Lady Hale believes that women are not adept for being supreme court justices.
  11. There are twelve judicial assistants working in the Supreme Court of the UK.
  12. The Supreme Court of the UK is open for general public.

Serving documents in Northern Ireland

The writ, or other originating document, as well as pleadings, affidavits and other documents in the case must be served on all the other parties. Service simply means that they are sent to the parties in a way required by court rules, so that it can be proved that the person to whom the document is addressed actually received it.

The main methods of service are postal service and personal service, but some specified documents must be served personally. For example, a court document requiring someone to attend the court hearing as a witness (a subpoena) cannot be served by post. Service by fax or e-mail is not permitted for any type of documents.

If serving documents by post, you don’t need to use recorded delivery. First class post
is acceptable, but it is sensible to get a certificate of posting from your Post Office rather than just putting it in a letter box. A legal document sworn before a solicitor (an affidavit
) by the person who posted the documents is usually enough to prove service, but where that person is not a solicitor and so is unused to court procedures, it is sensible to have some extra evidence of exactly when and where the document was posted.

Personal service is carried out by handing the document to the person, at their home or some other place where they are known to be. Again, it is proved by an affidavit made by the person who served the documents. Personal service may be by a process server (a professional who serves documents), who can be contacted through your local county court office, and may charge a fee.

If you do not know how to get in touch with the person to be served with the document, and cannot find out by making reasonable inquiries, you can apply to the Master (a civil procedure judge who deals with certain types of cases in the High Court) for an order
for substituted service (a method of serving documents which the court directs where service by ordinary means is impossible e.g. where a party cannot be found or is evading service) or for service to be deemed good where it is impossible to serve the documents. You will need to provide evidence in an affidavit of the steps you have taken to find the person’s addr

Read the text and decide whether these statements are true or false:

  1. Service of documents is a way of their delivery to the parties and other procedure participants securing legal confirmation that they have obtained the written communication dispatched to them.
  2. A subpoena is a court summon that can be served only on the claimant or the defendant.
  3. Postal delivery of documents by registered mail is mandatory.
  4. Confirmation of personal delivery of documents is based on sworn written statements of the carrier.
  5. A process server is a qualified lawyer employed by the first-instance court.
  6. If the service of documents appears to be impossible, a party may ask a local police station superior to declare that a recipient’s whereabouts cannot be detected.