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How to write a case law?

Writing a case is obviously a tedious task. Especially if you are new to it and do not exactly know how it is?

I remember that in my first year of law school, I had interned at a reputed place and I was bombarded with loads and loads of files, which obviously, I never really understood. I was unaware of the fact on how to read the judgements of the case, or how do I even begin with something?

Then, of course, I was briefly explained.

Here's how to make your writing, a bit easy! (even if it is a 1000 page judgement.)

So let us start with the basic stuff first.

Read the name of the case with the citation.

Yes! It may seem like a very basic step, but a lot of us actually skip the second part of the step- the citation.

As much as it is important to know the case name, it is also important to know what year was that case decided in and who decided that case. This is something that we generally skip because, "why bother with the year when everyone knows the name of such a famous case?" Also, remember to underline the case when you're writing the case in your notebook or italicise the case when you are writing it digitally.

Your knowledge should never be limited to law school only. It should go beyond that, you are to-be lawyers and what do lawyers do? They prepare even the tiniest of details to convince the Judge.

Case: Donoghue v Stevenson, 1932, UKHL 100, SC (HL) 31, AC 562, All ER Rep 1 (even if you miss out the part after the year, it would not matter much. However, never miss out the year.)

Facts of the case

This is important, because you can never really mention what happened in a case without actually reading the facts. Even if you write down the facts, in brief, it would give the reader a sense of direction of the case. The reader would know exactly what this case was based on. Write very brief facts while summing up what exactly happened.

Eg: In this case, a woman had accidentally drunk a ginger beer which had a snail at the bottom of the beer bottle which made her sick.

Pretty basic right?

Issues of the case

The issues of the case are- what the legal points of the case, being argued upon. They will tell you, based on the facts, on what exactly is the point of dispute between the parties or the question on which they decided to approach the court.

Eg: Whether the manufacturer (Stevenson) owed Ms Donoghue a duty of care in the absence of contractual relations contrary to established case law.

The court which delivered the opinion and the judgement delivered.

This is important. Whenever you write a case, you would have to state, which Judge or which court stated this judgement. Then you proceed to write the main points of the judgement or highlight the key points on what exactly was the judgement based on and then followed by the law which was applied along with the reasoning given by the Judge.

For example, if it was a Supreme Court decision, you must always mention that the decision was given by the Supreme Court.

Eg: Supreme Court held that the person would no longer be liable to any compensation based on the law of........

But, if it is a single judge bench or even multiple judge bench, but the author of the judgement is a single Judge, mention the name of that particular Judge.

There are two ways to write the name of the Judge.

The first way to write completely - "Justice" and then followed by the name of the Judge.

Eg: Justice Holmes stated that, "..."

The second way is to write the initial "J." after the name of the Judge.

Eg: Holmes, J. held that, "..."

But if it was a judgement delivered by the House of Lords, or Privy Council, you need to mention, "House of Lords held that..." or "Privy Council held that..."

Then, if one of the Lords, had given a decision, you may write the name of the Lord, who had given the decision.

Eg: Lord Atkin, in his judgement state that.....

And then write the rest of the judgement.

Hope these points helped you to understand, in an easy way, on how to write a case law. Feel free to let me know more steps that you follow while writing a case law.


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