A GUIDE TO LEGAL CASE BRIEFS
From what specific source is the case taken?
For example, was the case reported in the U.S. Supreme Court Reports?
II. THE FACTS
- What materially happened?
- Was there, for example, a collision on the high seas? A dispute over territory?
- From what legal circumstances did the case originate?
- Did two states agree, for example, to submit their dispute to an arbitral tribunal? Was an opinion sought from the I.C.J.?
III. LEGAL ISSUES
- What specific legal questions does this case raise?
- For example, does the proximity of Ruritania to Zombie Island give Ruritania a legal basis for making a territorial claim for Zombie Island?
- What more general legal questions does this case raise?
- For example, is "proximity" a legitimate basis under international law for making a territorial claim for an island?
IV. THE HOLDING
- What decision was made? That is, in support of which side did the court hold?
V. LEGAL RATIONALE
- What legal reasoning informed the court's decision?
- What rules of law, for example, did it apply?
- How did it interpret legal principles, documents?
- How did it construe the facts?
- What existing legal questions, if any, are unresolved by this case?
- What new questions, if any, does it raise?
Updated: January 19, 1999
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