The following is a guide to help you use the IRAC method to sort through a hypothetical legal problem.
Even if you are not required to submit a list of facts in your answer, it is a good idea to write one. This will help you sort through the facts you have been given and determine which facts are relevant and how you are going to use them. The following is a list of questions that may help you do this
- Who is involved? (identify parties specifically by name, if possible)
- Who suffered?
- Why? (was is avoidable?)
- What is the known (relevant) information?
- Is there any missing information?
- Include specific details like dates and monetary figures
Reread the question at the end of the case study. This will tell you what you are supposed to be doing and it will help you determine which facts are relevant.
- Set out the legal principles that will be used to address the problem.
- Source legal principles from cases and legislation.
Note: Make sure you are specific when stating the relevant law/rules that apply, and always make sure to support propositions with case authority.
- Explain in detail why the Plaintiff’s claims are (or are not) justified, based on the body of law pertaining to the case.
- How will this law be used by each party to argue their case?
- Use relevant precedent cases or Legal Principles to support each answer.
- You may also choose to use Legislation, when applicable.
- There are often several Plaintiffs involved. Take the time to examine each case individually and analyse why their claims are (or are not) valid.
- Legal Principals and precedent cases are used in each analysis, even if there is overlap among Plaintiffs (the same precedent can be applied to both parties, if appropriate. See example 2).
- It is acceptable to refer the reader to another point in the paper, rather than rewriting it word for word, if the situation calls for the same legal recommendation. (See example 1 and 2)
Note: Take time to discuss the contentious aspects of the case rather than the ones that are most comfortable or obvious.
- Stand back and play ‘the judge.’
- Choose the argument you think is the strongest and articulate what you believe to be the appropriate answer.
- State who is liable for what and to what extent.
- Consider how parties could have acted to better manage their risks in order to avoid this legal problem.
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