If your load of law school assignments is piling up, the best solution is to buy case briefs online from Essays-Leader.com You can find a good “how to brief a case” example, but you can't submit it as your own work. But if you buy case brief assignments online using our writing services, it will be customized based on your own instructions. We will provide you with more details about, but let us first discuss what goes into a case brief.
What is a student case brief? This involves preparing a short summary and analysis of a particular law case that will help guide a class discussion. Using notes, the case brief is presented in an organized way and highlights the parties to the case, the issues that spurred the case, the court's decision, and the justification and logic that the judges used when rendering their decision.
While student case briefs always include all of the same details, the way in which these details are presented in any given case brief sample can vary. For this reason, you should ask your professor or instructor for their guidelines.
Who Are the Parties to a Case?
If you want to understand how the court system works on a basic level, it is important to understand how to identify the various parties and, in particular, make a distinction between civil and criminal cases.
In civil matters (which involve settling disputes, usually revolving around money), the plaintiffs file a lawsuit in order to take defendants to court. On the other hand, in criminal matters (in which an illegal activity has allegedly taken place), the government (at the state or federal level) charges the defendant with a crime and its prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.
In civil cases, the losing party can appeal a case to a higher court (known as an appellate court) based on their contention that the trial court judge erred in their decision, although not all higher courts are required to hear an appeal. In civil matters, the party who files the appeal is known as the appellant. The opposing party is the appellee. It should be noted that in criminal cases only the defendant have the right to appeal a verdict. In other words, if the defendant is found not guilty, the decision is final and prosecutors cannot appeal to overturn the verdict. The name of the party that initiates the action in court - regardless of the court level - always appears first in the legal documents. For instance, if a bank (let us call it First National) is suing a business owner (Bob Johnson) over unpaid debts, the case is known as First National v. Johnson. Let us imagine Johnson loses the case and then appeals. As the appellant, Johnson is the one who initiates the action as the petitioner, and therefore in the Court of Appeals the case would be changed to Johnson v. First National, with First National acting as the respondent. With permission, interested parties (known as amicus curiae or “friends of the court”) are able to file briefs on behalf of either the petitioners or respondents.
Sections of the Case Brief
Case briefs can be long or short, depending on comprehensive the analysis has to be based on the assignment instructions. Here is a typical case brief format:
- Title and Citation
- Details about the Case
- Decisions (Holdings)
- Reasoning (Rationale)
- Concurring/Dissenting Opinions
- Title and Citation
The title consists of the two opposing groups, with the plaintiff (civil) or government (criminal) appearing first in the initial case. As noted, if the losing party appeals in a civil case (or the defendant in a criminal case), they will appear first in the appeal.
The citation indicates how to find the reporter of the case in the appropriate case reporter. If you do not know the citation, you can still find it by searching the title.
- Details about the Case
This section involves summarizing the case and providing essential facts and legal points. It will discuss the reasons behind the lawsuit or criminal proceedings, the parties, and if it is an appeals case, details about the outcomes in the lower courts, for instance a conviction of the defendant in the original court case, conviction upheld in the appellate court, and then overturned by the Supreme Court.
The legal questions or issues that are related to the case are usually explicitly noted by the court. Note that judges will sometimes misstate the issues as brought up by the parties, the lower court's opinion, or based on the nature of the case.
It is worth mentioning that constitutional cases often deal with a whole array of issues, some of which are only relevant to the parties and lawyers, with others having more of a direct effect on the broader public. Regardless, include both.
Except in rare cases, the outcome of an appellate case is determined by how the judge(s) interpret the constitution, laws that are on the books, or judicial doctrine. It is important that this be included and written in quotation marks or underlined. This will assist you when you are asked to examine conflicting cases.
When discussing the points, a helpful strategy is to phrase them as “yes” or “no” questions. This means taking the time to frame the question in a proper way and recognizing the heart of the case so that it leaves no room for ambiguity.
The decision is the outcome of the case. In particular, it is the court's response to the legal issues brought up in the case by the parties or even the court itself as it interprets the case. In some cases, the courts will offer a very brief holdings such as “case reversed and remanded,” while in others the response can be very comprehensive, especially if it involves interpreting a particular state's or U.S. Constitution, judicial doctrines or statues. If the questions or issues have been framed in a precise manner, the holding can be either expressed with a simple “yes” or “no” or at the very least be limited to very brief statements based on the language used by the court.
When the courts render a verdict, the majority must explain the reason for their decision. These points should be well organized in paragraphs or numbered sentences.
- Concurring/Dissenting Opinions
The judges can offer a majority opinion, but they can also state a concurring opinion (which agrees with the decision, but for different reasons), or a dissenting opinion, which often argues for why the majority opinion was incorrect. It is important to understand how each justice voted and if the decision is of a political nature, note whether the judges' votes were consistent with their ideology based on previous cases. This can help determine how they might vote in future cases where some of the same questions might come up.
In this final section, the student should provide some deeper perspective about the case. In particular, they should discuss its importance, how it relates to other cases, whether it was a landmark case, what the judges' decisions say about the composition of that court, the logical behind the decisions, and how the outcome has impacted society on a broader level. For instance, when it comes to Jim Crow laws, it would be important to discuss how the judges reached their decision within the contemporary context and how consequential decisions righted such a wrong.
Important Final Notes
If you want to do a thorough job with your case brief, reading it just once will not suffice. Really look it over. Just because the justices rendered a verdict, it does not mean you have to agree with it. In fact, very few cases in the Supreme Court end up 9-0. Do not be swayed by the judge's prose. Instead, look at where they misinterpreted the facts, their logical fallacies, or ignoring precedent. In what ways is this case similar to other cases? What does it say about how judges shape policy? Do you think the ruling was fair? State your opinions, but do so skillfully, using solid support from other cases.
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