For most law students, much of law school is spent learning how to evaluate specific cases. This is a skill that you absolutely cannot ignore if you want to see yourself flourish as a successful lawyer in the near future. However, learning to analyse the different legal cases can get a little overwhelming at times, considering there are many layers to preparing an analysis. But that doesn’t mean the whole process can’t be simplified.
Now, in order to simplify the process of preparing a legal case study analysis, we will explain how to put it together perfectly with pertinent examples from the Masters V Cameron case.
But before delving into the process further, let’s give you a brief idea about the case we are going to use as an example. The case of Masters V Cameron (1954) has emerged as an influential authority in the area of contract law. It was instrumental in establishing the key principles to determine whether or not an intention to be legally bound exists in connection to preliminary agreements. The case involved a dispute on the sale of a farming property between the purchasers Norman James Masters and Mavis Ella Iris Masters and the vendor Violet Christina Cameron.
Let’s explore how to evaluate this case through this quick guide.
It’s imperative that you read through the case at least once from beginning to end until you figure out which facts are significant to analyse the court's holding. It's tough to accurately determine what the point behind court's reasoning is, unless you've read it all the way through.
The first time you go through a case, don't think too much about trying to decipher it. Just read to get the sense of what's happening, who are the involved parties, and what they want from the court.
You must remember that legal opinions aren't presented for laypeople, or even for law students or attorneys – they are written for other judges. So, if you don't understand something at one go – there's nothing wrong with that.
Many legal cases have summaries that are presented before the case and provide basic knowledge on what really happened, the issue before the court, and how the court dealt with that issue. Although the summary is helpful, you can't use it as an alternative for an initial read-through of the case.
2. Gather Insights on the Procedural History of the Case
You need to learn as much as you can about what the court decided, which party appealed the ruling, etc. In case of Masters V Cameron, the appeal was made to the High Court of Australia. According to the case, the purchaser of the farming property appealed since the vendor refused to return the money after they chose not to go ahead with the sale. The purchaser demanded that the money paid should be returned.
Now, you don't have to go into too much detail here. You just need to understand who filed the original lawsuit (which will help you understand the facts of the case), the decision at trial, and who appealed it and why.
3. Sum up the Facts Accurately
The first section is typically known as the "Facts of the Case." Describe the incident which led to the parties being in Court. In order to be concise, you will have to decide which facts are relevant and which are not.
In many cases, the initial facts that explained the dispute may be summarised in a sentence or two. Often, what's really significant is what happened as the court proceedings moved forward.
At this point, you must re-read the case. This time you should look for any facts the Court particularly mentions or refers to in any way. If the Court mentions it, it is vital and should be added in your summary of the facts. Also, while writing the summary, it’s best if you leave out insignificant dates and disputed evidence.
Here’s a summary of the Masters V Cameron case, as an example.
The case of Masters V Cameron  91 CLR 353 was a High Court of Australia decision. The High Court evaluated the pre-contract conduct of the parties and the form of agreement. The evaluation was carried out in order to determine if the 'agreement' was legally binding or not.
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Your analysis must avoid simply repeating the observations of the court, except in cases where the exact language is necessary. In those cases, employ quotation marks to make it clear that you are quoting the Court.
Also, don’t forget to use citations. Your analysis must have all the relevant citations to other cases, statutes, and rules the Court considered when arriving at a decision.
Presenting an appealing law case study may not be easy, but you can definitely simplify it by following the steps mentioned in this post. We have also attempted to use the Masters Vs Cameron case to help you understand how to prepare an analysis.
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