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A case brief assignment is a common task for those who study law at colleges and universities. Still, to create this kind of paper one should have a good example and detailed instructions. This is because the structure of this document differs greatly from the standard essay or research paper. The purpose of this written text is also unique. Its main aim is to serve as a reference and a source of information for the one who has compiled it. Lawsuits often contain numerous details and it is important to single out the ones that really matter. So in this article, you will find a clear explanation of what a case brief is, what its main parts are and how to write this document correctly. Our writers have also prepared a case brief sample for your convenience. In case you lack time to complete this kind of assignment, feel free to outsource this task to our expert writers. They can write a great academic paper quickly and professionally.
A Case Brief Definition
This is a rundown of the court’s opinion on a particular lawsuit. It presents the main parts of the decision. The first section of the document always contains a citation of a lawsuit. The paper sums up the main facts and presents the court’s decision. It can also contain a dissenting opinion and the reasons behind it. The author of this document also explains why the litigation is considered noteworthy.
What Does a Case Brief Look Like?
While the way your case brief assignment is written depends on your professor’s instructions, there are certain features that all of them possess. Here is how you will typically structure this kind of document:
- You will start with titling the case brief with the parties of the lawsuit. Begin by stating the name of the plaintiff(s) first followed by the defendant if it is the original case. However, in appellate cases, you start with the person filing the appeal regardless of whether it is the plaintiff or defendant.
- Every notable court case involves a certain amount of controversy, which is why they are almost always appealed and make their way through the courts. Thus, you will provide a procedural history of the case starting with the original ruling all the way up to the appellate courts and state or federal Supreme Court.
- You will discuss the issue surrounding the lawsuit. There are main questions to ask:
- What was the purpose of the litigation?
- What did each of the parties hope to gain?
- What events/circumstances lead to the case going to court?
- What laws were applied in this case?
- What was the court’s decision and the reasons behind it?
- What issues lead to the case being tried in court? In other words, what questions did the court have to answer?
- What arguments did each of the parties present during the trial? Focus on how the arguments were framed and how each side argued against the other side’s points.
- Discuss the court’s ruling. What was the basis for the decision? It might be necessary to discuss the context, especially the cases the court cites.
- Discuss any dissenting opinions. Briefly explain the dissenting judge(s) arguments and rationale.
- Discuss the legal justification. Identify any laws, regulations, or legal principles related to the case. These will serve to determine how consistent you believe the court was as they interpreted the laws.
- Conclusions and implications. This is where you will discuss the importance of the case, especially if it is a landmark decision. Beyond the case itself, you might want to discuss how society has been affected as a result. Are there things that the court failed to take into consideration?
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Length of the Case Brief
As a rule, your litigation brief should be limited to around 2 pages (600 words), excluding any concurrent opinions or dissents. While you might find a case to be particularly interesting and feel tempted to include as much information as possible, the purpose of this assignment is to provide the details while remaining concise. Focus on the essential facts that had the biggest impact on the litigation.
Case Brief Format
The way your assignment is formatted depends on your professor’s instructions. However, most of them follow the format of IRAC: the issue, rule, application, and conclusion. The first step when examining any case is to identify the central legal issue that it is built around. Next, you will discuss how the court determined what rules were pertinent in this lawsuit, particularly as it relates to precedent and statute. Then you will evaluate how the rules were applied in the case. Finally, you will reach conclusions as to whether the decision was made on the basis of the tribunal of fact or as a matter of law.
As you are working on the litigation brief, it is also important that you cite any of the cases that you use in the paper so that others can easily access them and understand those cases better.
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Keys to Success
As a law student, you will be required to do a lot of reading. While it might feel like your professors are torturing you, the truth is that the legal field is highly complex and therefore merits a deep understanding of the mechanisms of law, the ability to think critically, and to be able to interpret laws and argue for or against particular points of view.
Case briefs might not be the most exciting assignments, but they are a key component of the learning process. This is why your professors assign them so often.
In addition, since a lot of your law courses are discussion-based, you will often be called on to inform your classmates about important cases. Therefore, it is important that you familiarize yourself with those lawsuits, evaluate the arguments made by the parties, and determine why the courts rendered their decision.
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