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The Swiss Knife of Legal English

The Swiss Knife of Legal English

Oxford Law Professor Adrian Briggs wrote in the preface to the book:


"In this astonishing work of reference and instruction, Szabó László has produced an account of the rules, principles, usages and understandings of legal English which has no equivalent, certainly in England, and in all probability anywhere else in the world. It will be of great use to people needing to express themselves (or their client’s instructions, intentions and agreements) in legal English and who wish to understand how these things are usually done."


Dear Colleague,

Thank you for your interest in my book. I have prepared this guide to help you effectively use this book in your pursuit to attain proficiency in legal English.


This book has seven useful features. By function, it is

  • A Dictionary of Synonyms of Legal Terms

The various chapters ((a) Effect, force and applicability, (b) Action and Nonaction, (c) Ranking. etc.) describe a set of legal English terms falling in these categories, for example: a) take effect, enter into force, (b) do and perform, engage in, (c) superior, pari passu, junior), thus these chapters cover various terms synonymous to one another.

How to benefit from this feature? In a number of ways: (i) to read the various chapters to learn all sysnonymous terms in a regular fashion, resulting in a rapid improvement of your legal English vocabulary in a relatively short period of time, (ii) if you are to write or translate a text relating to effect or force, some action or rank, you may quickly take a look at the particular chapter before you start to work, thus refreshing or improving your knowledge of grammar or terminology, thus, the text you write will be perfect in grammar terms.

  • A Dictionary of Antonyms of Legal Terms

Within a particular text, there may well emerge the need to use negation of the synonyms covered in the particular chapter, e.g. discontinuation or end of effect, nonaction (e.g. desist/refrain from), subordination in ranks (junior, secondary to). These antonyms are covered at the end of chapters.

How to benefit from this feature? As described above, for regular learning or proactive preparation for a writing (translation) job, or during work, as a source of reference.

  • A Dictionary of Collocations of Legal Terms

The book describes the range of verbs, adjectives and complements are to be used with 1550 terms in legal texts. The sentence patterns provided for each of these terms shows how native (U.K. and U.S.) professionals use these terms in a grammarically proper manner.

How to benefit from this feature: to learn/teach how to use particular legal terms, for example the term „evidence”, learning / teaching students what verbs, adjectives, etc. may be used with the particular term. The sentence patterns section provides further guidance. Or, once you have found the English term in your dictionary, you can check how to properly use it. Like a native professional. To this end, the index is useful in guiding you to the particular term. Where the text your are to write /translate is about a particular term (e.g. evidence), it is very useful to have a quick overview of the term before getting down to work, or during work as the term emerges.

  • A User-Friendy Description of Grammar of Legal Texts

The book described the grammar of legal texts in a user-friendly manner, without fancy grammar terms like past participle, subordinate clause, to infinitive. Topics include sentences in general, conditional sentences, likelihood, cause, reason and purpose, etc.

How to benefit from this feature: to learn / teach the grammar of legal English that is easy to graps, without fancy grammar terms, to native pro standard of legal English.

  • A Proactive Tool to Get Prepared to Write Texts in Particular Legal Topics

The fifty chapters and the subchapters provide a detailed and comprehensive description of legal topics. e.g. content of court decisions, encumbrances, statute of limitations, remedying, etc. in a total of 1000 pages. These topics are described by presenting the terms in use in these particular topics, together with overview tables and a detailed guide on how to use these terms (sentence patterns).

How to benefit from this feature: when you are about to write a text in a particular topic, like remedying and redress, sanctioning, indemnification, (etc.), you can use the overview tables at the beginning of the chapters to give students a quick overview of the particular topic. The table of contents provide a useful overview of these topics.

  • A Description of Seven Practice Areas

The book provides a detailed description of seven practice areas, with brief introductory texts, and the terminology in use in these practice areas.

How to benefit from this feature? You may decide to learn any (or all) of these practice areas, to have it as an area of specialisation for you. These chapters are particularly useful to learn terminology of these practice areas, and to learn how to properly use these terms. These chapters are particularly useful for interpreters to quickly familiarise themselves with these practice areas, in preparation for his/her next interpretation job.

  • A Source of Expertise for Regular Learning for an excellent Command of Legal English

The book describes in 50 chapters how to properly use 1550 terms in legal texts, with overview tables at the beginning of these chapters. The ”Key terms in action” part of the chapters describes the terms covered in the overview tables in detail, one by one.

How to benefit from this feature? You may resolve to learn, to cover a chapter every week or so, you may refresh, expand your legal English expertise, to develop it to the standard of U.S. or U.K. legal professionals.

In summary, the book provides a description of

  • 1550 terms in legal texts,
  • in more than 800 overview table, and
  • in more than 8000 sentence patterns,

to guide you to perfection in legal English, to native pro standard.

The book has been proofread by a U.S. attorney (Yale) with a degree in linguistics, she also wrote a preface to the book, acknowledging it as being a ”complete guide with exceptional specificity”.

The book has also been acknowledged by an Oxford Law Professor as being a ”masterly work”, in the preface he wrote to the book. These prefaces may be read at under menu item ”internationally acknowledged”.

You can buy the book at 10% discount until 19 December 2018. To get the discount, please enter the coupon code BF18 in the window that appears in the checkout process. The book is delivered to your address within 6 business all across Europe and worldwide.

Wishing you success in using the book:

Kind regards

       Szabó László