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Writing a legal argument

 

To successfully write a legal case study you need to:

  • identify relevant legal issues
  • apply the law to the facts
  • structure your answer clearly and logically (use the model plan)
  • use appropriate language for a legal argument.

Identify relevant legal issues & apply the law to the facts

These model paragraphs show how a student has successfully identified the legal issues and applied those issues to the facts of the law.

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Example 1

In this model, the first sentence identifies the relevant legal argument while the second applies the law to the facts of the case.

Lord Atkin's 'neighbour test suggested that person A owes a duty of care if B is sufficiently proximate to A. In other words, the test will hold if A'’'s actions or omissions may affect B in a reasonably foreseeable manner and consequently cause damage or suffering or damage to B. In this case, GCS owes Bert a duty of care because Bert was in their premises and such duty of care is non-delegable (and hence could not be discharged) to GCS's contractor who was hired to renovate the premises. According to the 'neighbour' test, occupiers of land owe a duty of care to their entrants (neighbours) in respect of premises because of their control over the premise. Australian Safeway Stores v Zaluzna. Since Bert's presence in the store was organised and controlled by the store, and it is reasonably foreseeable that GCS's actions and omissions could cause damage to Bert and other shoppers, it is hence sufficient for GCS to owe Betts duty of care.


Example 2

Here the application of the law to the facts and the identification of legal issues have been interwoven together in one sentence.

Although a shopper entering a shop like GCS would not assume voluntarily (volenti non fit injuria) the risk of falling down a collapsed staircase, in defence a its breaching duty of care, GCS could probably claim that Bert was partly liable for his injury due to his failure to take reasonable care of himself (contributory negligence) on the grounds that an ordinary, reasonable and prudent person would not force him or herself up the stairs at the same time with so many people because of the foreseeability a an accident (Cook v Cook). If this is the case, then not all the losses and damages Bert suffered would be recoverable.