‘IRAC’ is a method used for legal analysis, which stands for Issue, Rule, Application/ Analysis and Conclusion. Paralegals utilize this method in order to learn and apply rules to the case they’ve been assigned in order to serve their client and assist their supervising attorney.
This method is used to evaluate the merits and demerits of a prospective client’s case; it helps us review the entire case in a concise format, gather the necessary evidence to prosecute or defend the client, and is extremely diverse in nature, thus assisting us in various aspects of legal writing such as case briefing, debriefings, and legal memoranda;. While briefing, the utmost goal is to reduce the information of the case into a format which is helpful for review .
Some IRAC’S do include Facts and Procedural history. The factual matrix is a brief summary of the facts of the case as the court found it to be. Procedural history explains how the case got to the particular court.
The first step includes stating all the issues regarding the case .The most important skill needed to acquire for legal analysis is to spot the issue . The issue is the main problem that needs to be resolved with the help of the applying of legal rules. We cannot assume that the case will only have one issue involved. One issue can have several sub issues or one case itself might have several issues . Sometimes we are provided with the issue beforehand, but if not, we need to read the court decision and need to determine which particular legal problem needs to be solved.
For example, if a client is involved in an accident, we can identify issues such as liability, the burden of proof to establish liability, defences to liability, and all viable theories of recovery. The key to separating issues is to pay attention to the factual matrix of the case and figure out which fact raises which concern. The problem must be stated in a very particular and concise manner; it cannot be stated in a generalized fashion.
The next step is to list out all the legal principles that apply to each issue. Rules should always be stated as a general principle and not a conclusion to the case. There are usually 4 primary sources for legal rules such as : The constitution, statues, case laws and regulations. One has to engage in deep legal research in order to find the rules applicable to the case. When you are reading a court decision the court usually identifies all the applied legal rules and you spend time explaining how each is applicable to the factual matrix.
The analysis is the most important, and the longest, part of your answer. It involves applying the Rule to the facts of the problem or question. The facts should be used to explain how the rule leads to the conclusion. The arguments of both the lawyers should be explained and analysed. For example a client comes to stating he was injured four years ago. You believe that client has a viable claim but if we apply the statute of limitation , which states the deadline to file a claim is 3 years, hence the claim is barred.
The conclusion is the final stage, it is the result of the application of the rules to the facts to resolve the issue of the case. According to the courts, the conclusion is usually the court’s decision or holding. The conclusion should be crisp and precise as it is the result of your analysis for example, “ The claim is barred due to the statute of limitations”.
In conclusion, it is extremely important to note that the facts should be crisp and precise and if it’s not clarified in the case it’s best to leave it out. In the issue section, specifics should never be mentioned. The rules should not be more than a few sentences as it’s not a place where you explain the law but is a place where you provide a legal outcome .In the analysis use the most supporting statutes and case laws to make your case stronger and in the conclusion you should address the legal question asked and offer a legal ruling.
Bethany Marston, Learning Services Coordinator, https://rasmussen.libanswers.com/faq/263798
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