Law Tips: Basic Legal Analysis

To understand laws and policies, it helps to learn the language and process by which precedents function in litigation.

Legal analysis is the way in which cases are viewed and how they might pertain to other legal matters at hand. Your reason for analyzing legalities will determine how you approach your homework.

Identifying the issues presented in a client's facts and determining what law is relevant and how so, is the basis for legal analysis. It really is just the process by which the application of the law applies to a client's case. So many variables define a court case that analyzing the details sheds more light on the real issues underlying.

Four steps constitute the legal analysis process. The first is to identify the issue or legal question. If a case involves a hit-and-run accident, is the question about whether or not the accident really was hit-and-run or is the speculation on whether it was intentional or if manslaughter charges ought to apply instead.

Secondly, the rule or law which governs the previous question of law, is sought after. Enacted law, case or common law or a combination of either might be necessary to properly analyze the case. Together the laws can provide a more thorough understanding of what exactly applies to the case at hand. Suppose a law states that no dog can run at large in the city limits while a court case has challenged the terminology of "at large." The statute and the case law together could provide the best analysis and argument for your case.

Next, the analysis part arises. This part involves deciding how the law applies to the legal question or issues asked in the first place. Breaking down the elements of the rule of law is essential to the analysis. Once the individual parts of the law are outlined, apply the facts of your case to those components to see if there is any relation between the two. Then consider counter arguments to your point of view to be certain you have looked at both sides so your defense of your case will be strongest. Finally, drawing a conclusion will let you know if you are analyzing properly.

Last, there must be a conclusion or a summary which arises to a legal analysis. Retracing your steps in your analysis will help you see if you have gone in the right direction. If you started out considering if the hit-and-run was intentional and ended up with the illegalities of hit-and-run, you have veered off in the wrong direction. Because there can be so many aspects to a case it can be easy to get sidetracked and lose sight of your goal. Thus the reason for reviewing and being certain you have achieved your goal.

Keep focused on what is crucial in your analysis so you can find the most pertinent law, case or statutory. Stay clear about what your case involves and what specific differences there might be in another's case or interpretation of the law. Look at everything from an objective point of view as well and it will help you see clearly where you need to go with your analysis.

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