Explanation: Case law is written by a judge. A judge, writing a case, has specific goals in every reported case. It is important that the reader of any case understand the following:
Who are the parties?
What happened in the lower court(s) – if the case is an appeal?
What happened to bring these parties into the court in the first place?
What is the LEGAL QUESTION before this court?
What rules (primary law) did the court rely on in reaching its decision?
How did the court analyze the facts in light of the legal question and the rules?
How did the court resolve the dispute?
These questions lay the foundation for the elements of a case brief. A case brief is a short summary of a reported case. The purpose is to concisely summarize the components of a case. Four elements that are essential to any useful brief are the following:
Facts (name of the case and its parties, what happened factually and procedurally, and the judgment)
Issues (what is in dispute)
Holding (the applied rule of law)
Rationale (reasons for the holding)
Instructions: Draft a case brief on the following case: Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954)Preview the documentView in a new window. It must include the four elements that are essential to any useful brief.
The following document can be used as references to help you with the assignment:
Case Brief Strategy – IRAC.pdfPreview the documentView in a new window
How to Brief a Case (general helps).pdfPreview the documentView in a new window
Sample Case Brief 1.pdfPreview the documentView in a new window
Sample Case Brief 2.pdfPreview the documentView in a new window