C1/C2 Legal English 60
(+18 min video!!!)

Can you trust your brain? Can our brains come up with memories of things that haven’t really happened? You will find answers to these questions as well as their serious consequences in the TED Talk by Scott Fraser titled “Why eyewitnesses get it wrong“. This lesson looks into the world of crime and justice, how legal system works in the USA and why some witnesses lie even if they don’t realize it! Moreover, your students will learn some Legal English vocabulary and practise using it.

This lesson is based on a long (over 18 mins) TED Talk. We recommend asking your students to watch it before the lesson!


The lesson kicks off with a short warm-up discussion to introduce students to the concept of eyewitness testimony. You can do it in pairs, 3-4 people groups or one-on-one depending on your setup. Some of the questions require a bit of legal background but your students should manage even if they have little to do with the law.


Inside, you will find two different vocabulary activities focused on some advanced legal vocabulary. There is a classic word-odd-out activity where you can find the toughest words from the TED Talk plus a word-building activity connected with crime & justice vocabulary. There are also a few discussion points and exercises to orally practice new words. 


If you hadn’t asked your students to watch the video at home, watch it together after doing the Vocabulary section. This way they already know some of the most difficult vocabulary from the TED Talk and it should make it easier to comprehend the speech. Once again as the video is very long we recommend asking the students watch it at home not to use up too much of the lesson time. Whichever way to choose, divide the class into 3-4 person groups and ask them to consider the question in exercise 6. All of them are tied to what Scott Fraser said in the TED Talk so doing this lesson plan without the video might not be a good idea.

Let me know how you and your students liked this lesson! Is there anything there you would change? Was this lesson too difficult for your students? Would like more materials with Legal English vocabulary? Just leave a comment and we’ll get back to you.

Word formation / odd-word-out task
Listening for gist
Law-related talking points




See our other advanced ESL lesson plans here.

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