SỔ TAY NGƯỜI HỌC TIẾNG ANH PHÁP LÝ Chương VII: Thành ngữ (Idiomatic expressions) trong lĩnh vực tiếng Anh Pháp lý (in legal English)


Chương VII: Thành ngữ (Idiomatic expressions) trong lĩnh vực tiếng Anh Pháp lý (in legal English)

Nguyễn Phước Vĩnh Cố
Tôn Nữ Thanh Thảo
Tôn Nữ Hải Anh
Bảo Nguyên

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Thành ngữ trong lĩnh vực tiếng Anh pháp lý


Above board: Chân thật, cởi mở, phù hợp với pháp luật (if a situation/business is described as “above board”, it is open, honest and legal)

– The deal was completely above board (chân thật) .
– Don’t worry about the contract; it’s all completely above board (hợp pháp).
– There are not secret negotiations. Our dealings have always been above board (cởi mở).

Accessory after the fact: Đồng phạm sau khi thực hiện tội phạm (a person who helps someone to commit a crime or who knows about it and protects the person from the police after the crime was committed)

– Anyone who knowingly harbours a criminal is liable to be prosecuted as an accessory after the fact (đồng phạm sau khi thực hiện tội phạm).

Accessory before the fact: Đồng phạm trước khi thực hiện tội phạm (= before the crime was committed)

– The three accomplices who helped the prisoner plan the robbery were convicted as accessories before the fact (đồng phạm trước khi thực hiện tội phạm).

An accomplished fact: Việc đã rồi (something that has been done/completed; before those affected by it can intervene or change it, is called an accomplished fact)

An eye for an eye: Ăn miếng trả miếng (a person who treats someone else badly should be treated in the same way)

– The death penalty for murder works on the principle of an eye for an eye (ăn miếng trả miếng).

An act of God: Thiên tai (an event caused by natural forces which people cannot control or prevent, for example, a hurricane, earthquake, etc).

– The insurance company refused to pay the money they said the forest fire was an act of God (thiên tai).
– The insurance policy covers your house against all types of damage, excluding those caused by acts of God (thiên tai).

The Arm of the law: Quyền lực của luật pháp (the extent to which the authority/power of the law extends)

– He fled to South America hoping to escape the arm of the law (quyền lực luật pháp)

Assemble a case: Thu thập bằng chứng kiện ai (against someone): (gather the evidence needed to make a legal case against someone)

– The prosecution was unable to assemble a case (thu thập chứng cứ để kiện) against the man.

Assume liability: Thừa nhận trách nhiệm (accept the responsibility for paying the cost of something)

– The business refused to assume liability (thừa nhận trách nhiệm) for the dangerous products.

At arm’s length: vô tư, không vụ lợi (a transaction in which each person (who is not related to you) acts in their own self-interest)

– We purchased the property at arm’s length (không vụ lợi) and we were not involved in any management decisions


Bail (someone) out/bail out (someone): Nộp tiền bảo lãnh cho ai được tại ngoại hậu cứu (pay a sum of money that allows someone to get out of jail while waiting for a trial)

– The family of the accused criminal pay much money to bail him out (bảo lãnh cho hắn được tại ngoại hậu cứu)

Behind bars: Ở tù, trong tù (someone who is behind bars is in prison)

– If you hang around with that gang, you’ll find yourself behind bars (ở tù).

Beyond reasonable doubt: Chắc chắn, không nghi ngờ gì nữa (legal phrase meaning that something is almost certain)

– The judge sent the man to jail because he believed, beyond a reasonable doubt (không nghi ngờ gì nữa), that he had committed the crime.

in Black and white: Trên giấy tờ, có chứng cứ giấy trắng mực đen (to say that something is in black and white means that there is written proof of it)

– It’s an obligation. It’s in black and white (giấy trắng mực đen) in the contract.

Blow the whistle on: Tố cáo ai (if you report an illegal or socially-harmful activity to the authorities and give information about those responsible for it, you blow the whistle or you are a whistle-blower)

– He refused to blow the whistle on (tố cáo) his boss for fear of losing his job.

a Breach of promise: Vi phạm hợp đồng (the breaking of promise which may also be a breach of promise)

– The couple was accused of breach of promise (vi phạm hợp đồng) when they broke the contract to buy the condominium.

a Breach of peace: Tội phá rối trật tự công cộng (causing a disturbance, violent, disorderly behavior)

– The man was charged with a breach of the peace (tội phá rối trật tự công cộng) when he began fighting with the store clerk.

Breaking and entering: Tội đột nhập (entering a building/home illegally by breaking open a window, door etc.)

– The two men were found guilty of breaking and entering (tội đột nhập).

Break the law: Vi phạm pháp luật (to fail to obey the law)

– The woman was forced to quit her job after it was discovered that she had broken the law (vi phạm pháp luật)

Brush with the law: Chạm trán với luật pháp (when you have a brush with the law, you encounter or experience it briefly)

– Had a brush with the law (đã chạm trán với luật pháp) for speeding a few years ago, but he has had a clean record ever since.

Build a case (against someone): Thu thập chứng cứ để kiện ai (to gather the evidence needed to make legal case against someone)

– The legal team was working hard to build a case (thu thập chứng cứ để kiện) against the suspected car thief.

Burden of proof: Nghĩa vụ phải chứng minh, đưa ra chứng cớ (the burden of proof is the necessity imposed by the law to prove that what one says is true)

– The burden of proof (nghĩa vụ phải chứng minh) lies with the claimant.

By the book: Chặt chẽ theo đúng điều lệ (following rules and instructions in a very strict way)

– She always does everything by the book (theo đúng điều lệ).
– Our lawyer is very good and he does everything by the book.


Case of mistaken identity: Trường hợp nhận lầm người (a case where you incorrectly identify someone)

– The young man was arrested in a case of mistaken identity (do trường hợp nhận lầm người).
– He was shot in what seems to have been a case of mistaken identity (nhận lầm người).

Caught in the act (of doing something): Bị bắt khi (bạn) đang làm gì (if a person is caught in the act (of doing something), they are caught while they are doing something wrong)

– He was caught in the act of (bị bắt khi) stealing a car.

Caught red-handed: Bị bắt quả tang (if a person is caught red-handed, they are caught while they are doing something wrong)

– The police arrived as the burglar was leaving the house. He was caught red-handed (bị bắt quả tang).

Causing a disturbance: Tội phá rối trật tự công cộng (an offence committed by fighting/screaming/shouting/swearing or being drunk in public)

– Several fans were arrested for causing a disturbance (tội phá rối trật tự công cộng) after the football game.

Cease and desist: Ngừng/chấm dứt một hành động theo lệnh tòa án (a legal phrase which means to stop doing something and not start again – often used in the form of a cease and desist order)

– The woman’s husband was given a cease and desist order (lệnh chấm dứt) to stop bothering her.

Consecutive sentences: Án chồng án (sentences that are given to someone with one sentences following immediately after the other sentence)

– The criminal was given 3 consecutive sentences for the murder of the young girls.

Crack down on: Trừng trị thẳng tay (enforce a rule/law more strictly)

– To reduce road accidents, it was decided to crack down on (trừng trị thẳng tay) speeding.
– Police are cracking down on (trừng trị thẳng tay) drug dealers.

Cut someone slack: Bớt nghiêm khắc, dễ dãi hơn

– Our parents are strict; I wish they’d cut us some slack (bớt nghiêm khắc hơn).


Daylight robbery: Giá cắt cổ (the term daylight robbery is used when the price of something is thought to be much too high)

– $10 for an orange juice? That’s daylight robbery (giá cắt cổ).

Draw up an agreement: Dự thảo hợp đồng (to prepare a written statement to put something into writing)

– My lawyer is helping me to draw up an agreement (dự thảo hợp đồng) to buy the small business.

Due process (of law): Quyền công dân được pháp luật bảo vệ (the rights that each person has to be protected by the law)

– The man was accused of theft by his employer but he knew that he was entitled to due process of law (quyền công dân được được pháp luật bảo vệ) and would be found to be innocent.

– Everyone is entitled to due process of law.

Extenuating circumstances: Các tình tiết làm nhẹ tội (special circumstances that explain an irregular or improper way of doing things)

– The man was able to avoid going to jail for the money because of extenuating circumstances (do có các tình tiết giảm nhẹ tội).
– Because of extenuating circumstances (do có các tình tiết giảm nhẹ tội), he was acquitted of charges.


Fair hearing: Xét xử công bằng

– I can guarantee that you will get a fair hearing (xét xử công bằng).

False pretences: Lừa đảo (if you obtain something under false pretenses, you deceive others by lying about identity, qualifications, financial/social position in order to get what you want)

– The woman was acting under false pretenses (lừa đảo) when she went to the bank and asked for a loan.
– The journalists obtained the interview under false pretenses (lừa gạt).


Get out of hand: Khó/không thể kiểm soát (difficult/impossible to control)

– Unemployment is getting out of control (khó kiểm soát).
– During the student demonstration, things got out of hand (khó kiểm soát) and several shop windows were broken.


Hit and run accident/driver: Gây tai nạn rồi bỏ chạy/lái xe gây tại nạn rồi bỏ trốn (when the driver of a vehicle hit another vehicle without stopping to provide help, identification/insurance, and fails to report the accident to the police, the collision is called a hit and run accident)

– A hit and run accident (gây tại nạn rồi bỏ trốn) deserves serious punishment.

In trouble with the law: Gây rắc rối với luật pháp (if someone is in trouble with the law, they are being questioned by the police in connection with something illegal or criminal)

– The suspect has often been in trouble with the law (gây rắc rối với pháp luật).


Kangaroo court: Tòa án trò hề (a kangaroo court is an illegal tribunal set up by a group of people who taken the law into their own hands and conduct trials which deny fundamental justice)

– Calm down please! Is this a meeting or a kangaroo court (tòa án trò hề)?


a Law unto themselves: Coi thường luật lệ (someone who makes his/her own laws/rules)

– The manager was a law unto herself (coi thường luật lệ) and she thought that she could do whatever she wanted.

Lay down the law: Ra lệnh, ra oai (to state firmly what the rules/laws are for something)

– We decided to lay down the law (ra lệnh) regarding the vacation schedule for our employees.

Law of the jungle: Luật rừng (a situation in which people are prepared to use
Unscrupulous methods in order to succeed/survive is called the law of jungle)

– Some businesses today seem to be governed by the law of the jungle (luật rừng).

Letter of the law: Lời văn của luật pháp (the literal interpretation of the words of a law but not necessarily the intent of those who wrote the law

– The lawyer always likes to follow the letter of the law (lời văn của luật pháp).

Licence to print money: Việc hái ra tiền dễ dàng (used to describe a business which makes a lot of money with little effort)

– The contract to supply computers to schools was a licence to print money (việc hái ra tiền dễ dàng).


Moot point/question: Một điều còn phải bàn, còn phải tranh luận (a matter about which there may be disagreement or confusion)

– It’s a moot point/question (điều còn phải tranh luận) whether men or women are better drivers.

Murphy’s law: Định luật bánh bơ, định luật Murphy, nếu có thể, sai trái luôn xảy ra (reffering to Murphy’s law express a sentiment of bad luck and the idea
that if anything can be wrong, it will)

– With any business, there are times when Murphy’s law takes over (nếu có thể, sai trái luôn xảy ra)
– We’ve tried to prepare for every possible incident, but remember Murphy’s law (định luật Murphy).


Open and shut case: Rõ rành rành (an open and shut case is one where the facts are so clear that the matter can be dealt with or solved easily)

– He’s obviously guilty – it’s an open and shut case (quá rõ ràng).

Out of court: Không nhờ đến tòa án phân xử (a decision was reached without a trial)

– The case was settled out of court (mà không nhờ đến tòa án phân xử).


Power of attorney: Quyền được ủy nhiệm (a legal document granting authority for one person to act as another’s representive)

– The woman was given power of attorney (quyền được ủy nhiệm) over her mother’s daily affairs.


Run afoul of the law: Phạm pháp (to get into trouble with the law)

– The young man ran afoul of the law (phạm pháp) and was taken into police custody.


Set someone free: Trả tự do cho ai (to release someone from prison/captivity)

– The police set the man free (trả tự do) when they decided there was not enough evidence to charge him with a crime.

Sign on dotted line: Ký vào một hợp đồng/giấy tờ quan trọng (to put your signature on a contract or other important document)

– We signed on the dotted line of the contract (ký vào một hợp đồng) to start the new business.

Spirit of the law: Tinh thần của luật pháp (something as it is meant to be and not as it is stated exactly, what the people who made the law wanted to achieve)

– The judge tried to follow the spirit of law (tinh thần của luật pháp) and not only as it was written.
– Obey the spirit (tinh thần), not the letter of the law.


Take precedence over (someone/something): Có quyền ưu tiên (với ai/cái gì) (to be more important than someone/something, to have the right to come before someone/something else)

– The laws about the safety of children take precedence over (có quyền ưu tiên hơn) many other laws.

Toe the line: Tuân thủ, phục tùng (if someone toes the line, they obey the rules and accept the principles laid down by a person, a group, an organization)

– If you want to stay in this school, you’ll have to learn to toe the line (tuân thủ).

Trumped-up: Vu cáo (false and exaggerated, invented by fraud/criminal deception)

– The business owner was arrested on trumped-up charges (tội vu cáo).

Turn a blind eye to: Giả vờ không biết, phớt lờ (to pretend not to see someone who is doing something wrong)

– The police often turn a blind eye to (giả vờ không biết) people who cross the street on a red light.
– The manager turned a bind eye (phớt lờ) when his staff were late.

Under age: Chưa đến tuổi trưởng thành (below the legal age to do something)

– The boy was under age (vị thành niên) and was not able to buy cigarettes.
– You shouldn’t sell cigarettes to teenagers who are under age (chưa đến tuổi trưởng thành)

Under arrest: Bị bắt (arrested by the police)

– The man was placed under arrest (bị bắt) for stealing a car. .
– You are under arrest (bị bắt).
– I am placing you under arrest (bắt anh) for attempted burglary.


With no strings attached/without strings: Không kèm theo điều kiện đặc biệt (with no obligations attached), không kèm theo trách nhiệm (without too much responsibility or commitment)

– The man was forced to agree to the terms of the agreement with no strings attached (không kèm theo điều kiện đặc biệt).

– It was a relationship without strings (không kèm theo trách nhiệm) which suited them both.

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3 bình luận »

  1. Cám ơn bạn rất nhiều vì bài viết có nhiều điều bổ ích, tuy nhiên theo ý kiến cá nhân có 2 chỗ này mình muốn góp ý:
    1. Burden of proof: đây là nghĩa vụ phải chứng minh/ đưa ra chứng cứ
    2. With no strings attached: không kèm theo trách nhiệm

  2. Kiến thức và thông tin bạn cung cấp rất bổ ích. Cảm ơn bạn nhiều.

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