Basic Tips on How to Write a Case Brief

May 22, 2020

In this article, we are going to provide overall info about the case brief. Please, note that you should study this topic further in detail as well as specify all the requirements by asking your teacher, as this short guide does not comply with all the requirements according to your particular assignment.

So, what is a case brief? The word “brief” may serve various purposes in law. In the present case, it is a case brief that is generally prepared by the law paralegal students as well as other people who study law. It is considered to be a summary of the main points in the court decision. 

Typically, it concerns the appellate court decision. This paper should be quite short- mainly a page or even less. What are the key reasons for the briefing? It is supposed to help understand several guiding and basic principles of law as well as how it can be applied to a specific number of facts. Another reason to learn how to do a case brief is for the students` finals. Thus, the students prepare for the final exam and use this experience of writing a case brief for the finals. 

Here below, you may find the approximate standard structure of a case brief. Please, be sure to pursue studying this topic thoroughly, as the requirements can vary depending on a particular assignment. This structure is only for the general overview. The next list does not include any formatting features, so that it is a basic model. 

Please, note that all the examples in this guide are not presented according to the particular requirements of writing a case brief; they are only possible and approximate examples for general understanding. So, you should check everything in detail and follow all the necessary rules and requirements. 

How to Structure a Case Brief?

  • Title;
  • Reporter Publisher;
  • Court and Year;
  • The procedural posture (how it got to an appeal court);
  • The statement of facts (a narrative story);
  • The issues of appeal (the issues that have been decided on appeal);
  • The arguments (on each side);
  • The policy implications (diverse ways that the judged might have gone);
  • Black letter law (the rule of law);
  • The rationale (the appeal that the judges have utilized to make a decision);
  • The dissents (any certain dissenting or concurring opinions)

You should attentively study all the requirements regarding the necessary structure. You ought to clarify all the points by asking your professor. 

Basic Steps for Writing a Case Brief

Of course, please, note that it can be really helpful to see a case brief example and analyze it attentively. Now let us briefly present some key steps for writing. Keep in mind that you should study this topic further, as multiple points are not fully discovered and not mentioned here. 

According to the standard recommendation, you ought to start such work with the help of the case citation. So, include the names of both parties- usually, it may look like, for example, “Brown versus Jones.” You should write the publisher as well as the source in the opening lines. So, it is required to include the related court, which had made a decision as well as the year when the final opinion was published. 

The Statement Facts

The first part is mostly aimed at the presentation of each fact. You should look for as well as distinguish and identify really important facts for the decision of the court. It is usually considered that here the information that has not got any relevance of the court decision is not taken into account. Thus, getting familiar with the facts that the case is dealing with assists much in avoiding the elements which are irrelevant to the decision of the court. Define the facts that were established at trial. 

The Procedural History

Answering the following basic questions may come in handy when developing this section. So, consider the next aspects:

  • What court issued this opinion?
  • How did this case get there?

You should specify whether this case comes from the trial court on appeal or from another appellate court. 

The Issue

This is the core legal question that should be decided by the court in the field of law. You should determine the issue. Fortunately, the courts usually help and start the case by identifying words according to a specific issue. For instance, “the business issue we face today is whether…”. So, the court can often state the legal issue. It is an individual problem provided to the trial, and the court will be dealing with it. The answer is to identify who is the winner of the case. You can include the holding in some briefs. This part is concise; it contains one-two words to answer the important underlying question. 

The Rules

The judges utilize the set of law when deciding a certain case. Depending on the complexity as well as multiplicity (the number of problems) of the issue, this set might consist of more than 1 rule. Mainly, the judges should take into account and follow various rules- following the facts. The judges will discuss these rules. Notice that you should add all the significant points, as it is essential when writing a case brief. 

The Application

It is also called reasoning or analysis. Here you ought to explain the judges` choice. Remember the facts as well as put them together, integrate with the law that was applied. Each part`s contentions will be stated by the court. You should meticulously read the parts. This helps to understand how the law is applied to the issue by the court. 

The Conclusion

It is a brief statement that says whether the court affirmed or reversed the case. It is held for the appellant, appellee, or defendant. Nevertheless, the parties are appointed. Now it is being said who has won and who has lost. 

Please, note that the above-mentioned basic steps are not exhaustive; they only present several general aspects on how to brief a case. The requirements can differ, so that be sure to check every single point in detail. 

General Tips for Creating a Case Brief

Here below, there are several crucial steps and recommendations for creating a case brief. 

  • Attentively read the case several times.
  • Determine the facts, make notes. 
  • You should follow the necessary format for the case brief. You can find several examples and an appropriate form. Remember to check all the requirements by asking your teacher. There may be some nuances for the required format, as well as many other aspects. 
  • You ought to create an outline. Planning helps organize ideas, requirements, etc.
  • Carefully develop every part of the paper. The rationale should be described; the disposition ought to be explained with your own words.
  • Discover another opinion to present in your casebook. 
  • Keep in mind that the paper should comply with a specific style format, so thoroughly check all the particular requirements and strictly follow them. 
  • Check spelling, grammar, punctuation as well as all other aspects in detail. There should be no mistakes of any kind. Proofread and edit when necessary. 
  • Re-read and review your paper in some days. Looking at the work with a fresh eye can significantly help assess the quality of the paper as well as identify some inappropriate or weak points in the case brief. 
  • Discover the relationship between this case and other similar ones. 
  • Provide your answer, whether you agree or disagree with the court. And how may it have been decided?

Please, note that this list above does not include all the information about the case brief complete writing. It only presents basic tips for general understanding, so that you should study this topic further. 

Conclusion

The case brief can help you better understand the law principles. When you write a case brief, you gain valuable skills and learn how to think like a lawyer. As it is known, start practicing, and you will become a master and create a perfect paper. All this practice is useful and beneficial. Please, keep in mind that you should study the topic of writing a case brief further, look at the examples, read the credible information sources (it can be both printed and online ones) and thoroughly clarify all the peculiarities and aspects of writing.

Find out all the necessary aspects of the style, format, structure, content, instructions, and many other points for creating a case brief properly. The requirements can vary, so that check everything in detail by asking your professor. In case you need any assistance with your paper, feel free to contact us. Good luck to you! 

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