You just got ushered into the examination hall and you take your seat. After all students have sat down, invigilators share the exam questions and you promptly get yours. As you look through the questions, you suddenly panic. The exam questions look like passages from a novel. You know what this means — problem questions. Luckily, they are also the easiest questions to answer — if you know your onions. The general technique that you can use to deal with any problem question is the simple formula: IRAC.
If you understand how to use IRAC, dealing with problem questions will seem less problematic. IRAC is a formula that is used throughout the broad sphere of legal writing. IRAC or slight variations is used by judges in delivering judgements, by lawyers in writing their briefs, by lawyers when giving legal opinions, and numerous other areas of law.Plc based sorting system using metal detector
In essence, understanding IRAC will not only be useful for your exams, it would help you throughout your career as a lawyer. Now that we understand what IRAC is, we get to the most important part — actually using it. Just like we did in the guide to answering law essay questionsI am going to give you a sample question that we will use IRAC for. Mr Daniel Kiss is a seasoned Fuji musician, he heard of the 10th year wedding anniversary of his long-time friend, Mr Starboy, who wanted to celebrate it in a big way.
Mr Daniel Kiss was actually at the ceremony and was delighted to have been called by Mr Starboy to perform at the ceremony. After the performance, Mr Owolabi, who was highly impressed, promised to pay Mr Daniel Kiss a sum ofnaira as a reward for his performance. When you want to determine the issue in a problem question, you have to look for the area of conflict. The conflict in a problem is where the interest of the characters clash and there is a disagreement. Looking at the scenario above, I have emphasized the area of conflict:.
From the part I have emphasized here, the conflict involves a promise to pay for an action that has already occurred in the past. In essence, the conflict involves past consideration.
There are some things you should notice in the structure of the issue. The perfect issue is a unique combination of facts and law. The rule is the section of your answer where you resort to authority. This can either be by stating statutory provisions or case law relevant to the issue. The appeal to authority is something that is important to all law students. It is the provision of case law and statute that separates the writing of a lawyer from a sociologist, political scientist, or any other field of social science.
You should also try to define the legal concept that the question deals with. If the definition is something contained in statute, case law, or any other source of lawyou should do well to quote it. Past consideration is not consideration for the new promise because it has not been given in exchange for this promise. The plaintiff was able to successfully prevail on the African Timber and Plywood company to do this.It functions as a methodology for legal analysis.
In the IRAC method of legal analysis, the "issue" is simply a legal question that must be answered. An issue arises when the facts of a case present a legal ambiguity that must be resolved in a case, and legal researchers whether paralegals, law students, lawyers, or judges typically resolve the issue by consulting legal precedent existing statutes, past cases, court rules, etc. For example, suppose the law required that a lawsuit had to be filed within one year of an allegedly negligent act.
If the th day falls on a Sunday, then the issue would be whether or not the law counts weekends as part of its computation of the one-year time limit. Would the plaintiff have to file by the preceding Friday? Would the law excuse the weekend and consider a Monday filing to be timely, even though that would technically be the th day?
In order to answer the legal question issueone would move to the next letter in the IRAC acronym: "R" - which stands for Rule. The rule section of an IRAC is the statement of the rules pertinent in deciding the issue stated.
Rules in a common law jurisdiction derive from court case precedent and statute. The information included in the rules section depends heavily on the specificity of the question at hand. If the question states a specific jurisdiction then it is proper to include rules specific to that jurisdiction.Dci formats in lte
Another distinction often made in the rule section is a clear delineation of rules that are in holdingand binding based on the authority of the hierarchy of the court, being ratio decidendiand being the majority ruling, or simply persuasive. There are occasions when rules are adopted on the basis they are the only clearly articulated rules on the issue, in spite of being minority decisions, obiter dictaand from lower courts, in other jurisdictions, which have never been contradicted.
The rules help make a correct legal analysis of the issue at hand using the facts of the case. The rules section needs to be a legal summary of all the rules used in the analysis and is often written in a manner which paraphrases or otherwise analytically condenses information into applicable rules.
The Application or Analysis section of an IRAC applies the rules developed in the rules section to the specific facts of the issue at hand. This section uses only the rules stated in the rules section of the IRAC and usually utilizes all the rules stated including exceptions as is required by the analysis.
It is important in this section to apply the rules to the facts of the case and explain or argue why a particular rule applies or does not apply in the case presented. It is useful to think like a lawyer, arguing the facts of the matter from both sides while sticking to the rules before coming to a decision. This section restates the issue and provides the final answer. Conclusion is a vital process where the final calls are distributed upon the previous cases and are redefined by the judge.
The facts of a case are central to every step in the IRAC. It is from the facts that the issues are identified. It is the facts that lead to the identification of the most appropriate rules, and the rules which lead to the most useful way of construing the facts.In the weeks before the bar exam, your study regime should be winding down in order to give your… more Research Extensively Before Writing Any form of legal writing will typically have the primary goal of describing the current laws… more Example Outline of an IRAC The IRAC is a four part writing method consisting of an Issue section, Rule Section, Application… more Essay Writing Basics Getting good scores on law school exams, and the bar exam itself, is easier than you may think.
If all of these elements are provided, the logical conclusion should be self-evident. An IRAC provides such a self-evident conclusion by leading the reader through the logical analysis of an argument: highlighting the legal I ssues at hand, presenting the applicable legal R ules, A pplying those rules to the pertinent facts at hand; and finally, yielding the logical C onclusion of the argument in question.
The IRAC method will help you structure your exams and essays, so forget everything you currently know about answering questions and take a read! It looks pretty simple, right? An easy way to explain the IRAC method is to talk about the things that are most likely to trip you up when using it.
We are taught during high school and most university courses to rehash the facts or situation as part of an introduction for any answer we give. Instead, just write down the issue as a question or a statement.
I remember writing a short introduction in a problem based assignment which I thought was different to an exam, for some unknown reason even when the lecturer told us not to! In my defence it was early on in my first year fine — second half of my first year. A problem that many law students face is failing to adapt to the academic environment of law school. It takes time to reverse old habits and realise that an introduction is no longer necessary.
Answers in law school should be concise and relevant — the IRAC method will assist, but you still need to consider everything you write down and query whether its relevant. Save the extra words for those 7, and 10, word essays!
Being concise is particularly important in exams when you have time limits to separate students into into credit, distinction and high distinction categories. This is enforced by lecturers by imposing low word limits. A 3, word assignment might sound like a lot before you start but most people will find themselves scrambling to delete words at the end. Word limits are also used to identify students who understand the most important concepts and reward them for it.
You will always get the most marks if you:. This might mean you need remove any discussion of minor ancillary issues, even if what you wrote is correct. For example, a 30 mark essay capped at words might in fact have 40 marks available, depending on what your response is.
This generally gives the lecturers some scope when marking papers.Philosophy writing sample
However, you would need to write far more than words to discuss all the issues to get all those marks, which is obviously not allowed. Similar to the issue section, limit it to one sentence and spend your effort on the far more important analysis section — this is where all the marks lie. The ideal question to answer is one where the various issues you need to discuss and explain are entirely separate from one another and your structure is literally: issue; rule; analysis; and conclusion perhaps repeated three or four times.Eps bearer 7
You might get a few of these in an exam, but unfortunately, they are not in abundance!William H. Putman describes IRAC as "a structured approach to problem-solving. The IRAC format, when followed in the preparation of a legal memorandumhelps ensure the clear communication of the complex subject matter of legal issue analysis. Legal Research and Analysis Writing.
Before a student can analyze a legal issue, of course, they have to know what the issue is. Step two is to state the relevant rule s of law that will apply in resolving the issue R. Step three is to apply those rules to the facts of the question—that is, to 'analyze' the issue A. Step four is to offer a conclusion as to the most likely result C. West Academic Publishing, What is the relationship between IRAC or its variations Judges certainly provide legal analysis in their opinions.
Do the judges follow IRAC? Yes, they do, although often in highly stylized formats. In almost every court opinion, judges:.Qemu raspi3
Each issue in the opinion goes through this process. Yet IRAC is the heart of the opinion.
IRAC for law school essays and exams (with examples)
It is what opinions do: they apply rules to facts to resolve legal issues. Statsky, Essentials of Paralegalism5th ed. Delmar, So the coveted IRAC mantra Because if you were to write a one-issue memo using the IRAC organization, you wouldn't reach the conclusion—the answer to the issue—until the end They call it CREACwhich stands for conclusion-rule-elaboration-application of the rule to the facts -conclusion restated.
Although you'd probably be penalized for that organizational strategy on most law exams, it's actually superior to IRAC for other types of writing. But it, too, has a serious shortcoming: Because it doesn't really pose an issue, it presents a conclusion to an unknown problem. Garner, Garner on Language and Writing. American Bar Association, Share Flipboard Email.
English and Rhetoric Professor. Richard Nordquist is professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Georgia Southern University and the author of several university-level grammar and composition textbooks. Updated August 12, It works like this: you have an issue. Whatever your issue, certain rules — certain laws — will apply. For the lemon tree neighbour: law of trespass or nuisance. Add a little negligence for good measure. Perhaps the offending tree might even trigger some obscure part of Real Property Law, like Old System Title, the bane of property lawyers everywhere.
Allow me to take a moment just to repeat that, Issue-Rule-Application-Conclusion. Thanks, I needed that. For the misunderstood half-country Communist dictatorship, its foray into spreading its purported communications mini-industry might contravene a UN Security Council Resolution or two, as well as a whole host of other related international law instruments.
This is not unusual. Multiple areas of law are often triggered within one issue. Multiple forms of legal recourse may also be available. With such a range of laws to possibly cover, the neat IRAC model starts to look rather wishful.
Or rather, the solution is obvious, but tedious. It involves hard work and few shortcuts.
Solving a legal problem — for an assessment, in an exam, for a client — is not about fitting the issues into a legal box. Drafting solutions to legal problems is determined by your individual writing style and approach. Our Suggested Structure. Your legal assessment may involve advising said litigious neighbour on her rights and possible courses of action.
Of course, as a broad-minded ethical lawyer, you will also advise of less costly alternatives to legal action, such as mediation. Introduction This is a 1 — 3 line overview of the problem, legal issues raised and potential conclusions. This comes right at the beginning of the response.
These will be considered in turn below and a conclusion reached as to the likelihood of success for each action.Brand new super 8 projector
Additionally, alternative dispute resolution processes may also be an option, such as mediation and negotiation. Legal Issue.
Give a case or statutory citation for each element wherever possible. Often, this is posed as a question. If you are under exam conditions, it is also a good idea to highlight the legal issues you are addressing with a highlighter or red pen, or underline it to make it clearly visible to the person who is marking your response.
IRAC Method of Legal Writing
The elements of the tort of negligence are:. Breach of the Duty - Reasonable Foreseeability. Damages - Causation - Remoteness. Note: With regard to legal citations, the tort of negligence is primarily built upon common law — so it involves cases. The foundational case is Donoghue v Stevenson  ACwhen one bad snail and a nasty case of gastroenteritis forged a brave new area of law.In the weeks before the bar exam, your study regime should be winding down in order to give your… more Research Extensively Before Writing Any form of legal writing will typically have the primary goal of describing the current laws… more Example Outline of an IRAC The IRAC is a four part writing method consisting of an Issue section, Rule Section, Application… more Essay Writing Basics Getting good scores on law school exams, and the bar exam itself, is easier than you may think.Problem question answers (7): Application
While you could write multiple IRACs for multiple issues, the result will often be more readable and efficient ie good for timed exams if you combine intertwined issues into one mega-IRAC.
Note: You will see that I use the Issue section as an Umbrella section in the example below. I believe this helps the reader digest the subsequent information, but some disagree with me on that point and simply state the legal issues alone.
Under Public Act 9. Public Act 9. Another case, Jones v. Lucy was driving a car down a rural road and impacted another vehicle which was exiting a driveway. Lucy suffered a sprained wrist that developed severe swelling. A passerby drove Lucy to the nearest hospital before any police arrived on scene.
Although Lucy meets all elements of PA9. If the court does not accept her argument, that she reasonably believed medical treatment was immediately necessary, she will be found guilty.
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