Legal English Lessons: Blog: Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal Verbs in Legal English

Phrasal Verbs can cause worry for Legal English and Business English learners. Native speakers use them all the time but as they have a non-literal meaning, many students struggle. A phrasal verb is made by placing a verb and a preposition or adverb together. We have listed some of the most well-known in Legal English below.

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Key Legal Phrasal Verbs

We have picked some of our key phrasal verbs here. You can read about phrasal verbs and much more in The Legal English Grammar Guide by Legal English UK's Michael Davies.


Draw Up: To compose or prepare a formal document

He drew up a contract for her to sign when she came to the office.


Enter Into: To begin an agreement or to start negotiations

We entered into the agreement in good faith.

The European Union and China have entered into discussions on an FTA.


Hand Down: A Judge delivers his or her verdict

The Judge handed down a sentence of 12 years imprisonment.


Sift Through: To look through many papers in order to find something important

We sifted through the evidence but could find no smoking gun.


Weigh Up: To balance all of the evidence

"We weighed up the pros and cons and decided that it was too difficult to pursue a conviction."


You can read more about phrasal verbs in The Legal English Grammar Guide. You can also take courses with the world's best Legal English teachers by contacting us directly.