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Getting started

 

Proper planning is vital to successfully answering a negligence legal problem. Below are some hints and tools to get you started.

Read the question and identify the key negligence issues. In reading the question you must answer the following questions. This is the basis of your plan for your answer.

  • Was there a duty of care? (By who and to whom?)
  • What was the standard of that duty of care, and was it breached?
  • If there were a breach, were there damages associated with that breach?
  • Defences, i.e. did the plaintiff contribute to the breach?

Planning an answer to a fact-based legal problem is important. Use the following four step process to structure your answer. In each paragraph, for every legal issue identified from reading the question, you must:

  1. Identify the legal issues relevant to the case study / problem.
  2. Outline the relevant legal principles, citing applicable cases and / or statutory provisions.
  3. Apply the law to the facts
  4. Conclude issue

Use the model plan (PDF) to structure your plan.

To write a successful answer to a negligence case study, use your plan. Look at the issues identified, the relating laws and apply those laws to the facts. This must be done for each issue. There should be one paragraph for each main legal issue. After all issues are addressed, write the conclusion in the following structure:

Paragraph Argument
Paragraph 1 (Introduction) Establishes negligence as area relevant to the case
Paragraph 2 Duty of care - establishes whether a duty of care is owed. Must contain relevant case citations and applications of law to the facts.
Paragaph 3 Breach in standard of duty of care. Must contain relevant case citations and applications of law to the facts.
Paragraph 4 Defences - outlines defences, relevant case citations and applications of law to the facts.
Paragraph 5 (Conclusion) Summary of negligence liability and predicted outcomes.