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CoLPS: Legal Resources

This guide contains legal resources available in NU Library which supports curriculum and teaching for NU specializations.

IRAC Method

Briefing Cases - The IRAC Method

When briefing a case, it is important to condense the information from the case opinion into a one-page case brief. This can be accomplished using the IRAC method:


Outline of Steps

Facts  - Write a brief synopsis of the case facts.

Procedural History - Outline the history of the case. Which court authored the opinion? What was the decision? If the opinion was written by a higher court, did the lower court issue the decision following a court trial, jury trial, or motion for summary judgment? 

Issue -  Identify the issue(s) of the case. 

  • Do not assume there is only issue. For example, if you are reviewing a case about a party who has been injured, the issues reviewed may include: 
    • Issues of liability
    • Theories of recovery - a claim or cause of action
    • Burden of proof to establish liability
    • Defenses to liability
    • Measure of recoverable damages
    • Statute of limitations. 

Rule -  List the relevant rule(s) of law that the court identifies. Each case will give a discussion of the relevant laws. 

  • These rules come from primary sources: Federal & State Constitutions; Statutes; Regulations; Case Law. 

Application -  This section discusses how the facts interplay with the relevant rule(s) of law. The deciding court typically spends time explaining how it applied each law to the facts to reach its final decision(s). 

Conclusion - What was the final outcome? This discusses the result of the application/analysis of the law to the facts used to resolve the issue(s). The conclusion is known as the court's holding or decision.