Writing a legal case study is no easy feat. You need to maintain a formal vocabulary and make it easy to read. Many students assume that case briefing is assigned by professors to assess their legal knowledge and presence of mind. But, it is you who will gain deeper insights into this discipline. Simply put, you are the person that the brief will actually serve. The different topics will expose you to different legal cases that you may have to face in the future. Thus, it prepares you for a better career in this field.
Struggling to write a case brief for the semester? Don’t worry; this blog has got you covered. I have mentioned all the elements of a brief that will help you fetch good marks in the paper. Once you get all the elements right, it will be easier for you to craft the paper.
4 Main Elements of a Case Brief
Different universities have different rules. Do not get confused with all of that. The following elements are common in a case brief irrespective of your university. Read the elements and try to implement them in your paper. You can even take a look at the examples of Wyong Shire Council v Shirt to understand the tips even better. Now, let’s have a look at all the elements and how to use them.
The case briefing can be very boring if you do not inform the readers what the case is about. You must include the name of the case along with the parties involved. Discuss the events included in the case followed by the judgement at the courts. You can’t ignore the dissent’s opinion as well in the case study. There’s no need to include any personal comments in the paper. Let your readers know about the causes of the case and its possible outcomes.
This is where you need to discuss the disputes with the utmost precision. You can’t take any party’s side in this case. Thus, you need to talk about both sides of the case. Provide relevant evidence for both the defendants as well as the plaintiff. It is very important to consider both the party’s perspective before coming to a conclusion. Thus, research thoroughly and gather background information for both the parties carefully. Make sure the controversy is clear to you and to your readers. It is only when you can understand the controversy completely that you will be able to draw a valid conclusion in the end.
You need to mention the court proceedings in regards to your case in the paper. Most of the cases are conducted in courts on the basis of legal principles. Mention all the legal principles that have been used to judge the case. The holding also includes arguments from both the parties. Include each party’s opposing argument in terms of the ultimate issue. The procedural history is an integral part of any legal case study. It consists of all the events that took place within the court system leading to the present case.
This element is concerned with all the laws related to your case in the paper. You need to foreshadow or predict the developments in the law used in solving this case. You can even suggest necessary changes in the law that could bring fruitful results for similar cases. Professors may provide extra marks if you compare studies of case laws from different courts or jurisdictions. This will help you get familiar with divergent legal practises in different countries. After analysing the whole case, you can also make recommendations for actions on similar legal issues.
These are the four main elements that your professors usually look for in a legal case study. Organise these elements in a proper structure and you will be able to impress your professors in no time. Revise your paper thoroughly and weed out all the silly grammatical and spelling errors from your paper. Do not hesitate to get help if you get stuck while working on a legal case study. Given below is an example of Wyong Shire Council V Shirt. Give it a read.
Wyong Shire Council V Shirt: An Example
It is a case between plaintiff Shirt and defendant Wyong Shire council. In 1980, Shirt, who was an inexperienced water ski enthusiast, decided to ski in the deep waters since it is easier to ski in deep waters. However, it was quite difficult for him to determine if the water was deep or shallow. He was guided by a sign that read “Deep Water." He tried to ski in it, but the water was found to be shallow. Hence, he ended up falling down and was diagnosed with paralysis. The main motive of this case was to get justice for Shirt, who had to lose the functionality of his body due to the incident.
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The defendant’s duty was to offer standard care and align actions accordingly. He was supposed to be careful while performing his duties and wish the best for everyone. However, he put up the wrong signboard and failed to provide standard care criteria.
Calculus of negligence
This is all about the probability and gravity of the situation. The probability of the case is high if the consequences of negligence were repeated again and again. This meant a substantial increase in the risk of injury. The gravity of the case is considered high if it led to grave damages. In this case, gravity was most certainly high.
The defendant should be able to foresee the causes and effects of his actions. He should not have forfeited the duty of care and caused negligence in his work. The defendant must put his standard care at the top of his priority list. His negligence took a toll on someone’s health.
Shirt made a grave mistake by deciding to ski in the deepwater based on a sign that was built in the proximity. The sign was erected in that area to promote water sports in that water body. But, Shirt could prove his innocence and the defender’s negligence since the signs consisted of wrong information and was erected due to negligence. The defender claimed that the sign was meant only for the bathing purpose which was misunderstood by Shirt.
The case was dismissed with costs at the end.
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