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Class 1 - Basics of Writing a Case-Brief: US Example

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Thiago Amparo

on 9 January 2014

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Transcript of Class 1 - Basics of Writing a Case-Brief: US Example

STEP 3: Procedural History
1) Who originally initiated claims against whom
2) Legal claims + defense + relief asked
3) Procedure in lower courts
4) Appellate court decision (affirmed/reversed)

Class 1 - Intro to HR II (2013/14)
Basics of Case-Brief Writing

What is a Case-Brief?
“written, analytic summaries of appellate opinions” (Calleros, p. 90):

Analytical Tool (check list)
It helps to read and compare cases
Step 1: Identification
CASE-BRIEF
ELEMENTS
Step 2:
Facts
Step 4:
Issue and Holding
Step 5:
Reasoning
Course Objectives (Skill-Building):
1. How to Write Case Briefs
2. How to Recognize and Understand Case Law
3. How to Use Key Legal Databases
STEP 1: IDENTIFICATION
1) Name of the case
2) Jurisdiction
3) Level of the Court
4) Type / Date of Decision
5) Citation to Reports
6) First page
STEP 2: FACTS
1) Principal Parties / Legal Classification
2) Relation between parties
3) Events that led to the dispute
STEP 4.1: ISSUE
1) Question
2) of Law/Fact (usually both)
3) Sufficiently narrow
4) Basis for precedent
STEP 5: REASONING
1) Which sources of law?
2) Precedents?
3) Significance of particular facts?
4) General rule or only the case at stake?
Step 3:
Procedural History
Example:
Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973)
STEP 4.2: HOLDING
1) Yes/No to the Issue but with a full sentence
3) Important to be able to work as precedent
4) Idea of "central holding" (Roe)
Example: p. 8 (reader)

Difference Terms!:

1) Holding: court's resolution of an issue before it - attached to facts

2) Legal rule of general application: attached to the facts, but general rule.

3) Dictum: does NOT have force of precedent - legal question beyond the facts of the case.

Example: mention to same-sex marriage in a sodomy case (Lawrence v. Texas, 2003)
Legal Terms (for next class):

1) concurring/dissenting/plurality/majority opinion

2) police powers
Full transcript