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1.8.1: Discussion Board Feedback


  • Learn legal English vocabulary helpful to express your ideas from the 1.8 discussion posts


  • Read the excerpt from our discussion board
  • Review the vocabulary words
  • Complete the exercises

I. Excerpt from Discussion Board

A student wrote:

The news story talks about an appeal Trump tried to demand for the judge to step down from the case.

The sentence’s meaning is easy to understand: Trump asked for a judge to step down from a case. But we can improve on the word order and also we can substitute more precise legal English vocabulary.

II. Appeal, Motion, Recuse

1. Appeal: Appeal in its legal English meaning refers to a request to a higher court to correct a decision of a lower court. It is the verb form of the adjective appellate. The conventional meaning of appeal is to urgently ask for something. In the student’s sentence above, the student is probably trying to use the regular meaning of appeal, not the Legal English meaning of appeal. We know this is the regular meaning of appeal because Trump was not asking a higher court to change a decision of a trial court. Trump was making an urgent request to the trial court judge.

a. A more standard way of rewriting the student’s sentence would be:

The news story talks about how Trump appealed to the judge to step down from the case.

b. More examples of appeal using its regular meaning.

  • I appealed to my teacher to give me an extension but he refused so I had to work all weekend.
  • When his parents heard that he was going to quit school to join a band, they appealed to him to consider the consequences of his decision.

c. Examples of appeal using its legal English meaning.

  • The plaintiff appealed after the trial court dismissed her case.
  • The Supreme Court rejected defendant’s appeal because it was untimely.

2. Motion: You almost certainly know motion in its regular English meaning as a noun form of something that is not holding still. The legal English meaning of motion is a request to a judge for a decision or order. A motion can concern a request for an extension of time, to dismiss a case, to make a ruling on evidence, etc. – really almost anything.

Examples of motion/move in legal English:

  • The plaintiff moved to compel the defendant to produce all the emails between the defendant and defendant’s business partner.
  • The court denied my motion to change the trial date to allow me more time to prepare.

3. Recuse: When judges recuse themselves they withdraw from a case. The more common terms for recusal include “withdraw” from a case or to “step down” from a case.

Sample sentences:

  • The judge recused herself when she realized the defendant was her distant cousin.
  • Defendant moved to have the judge recuse himself based on a conflict of interest.

III. Try the Exercise Below

IV. Shared Notes

Write sentences with the following words. You can change the word for grammatical reasons (e.g., “Motion” could be changed to “Move”.)





Shared Notes: