Understanding of the IRAC essay
The IRAC method, which otherwise stands for ‘Issue, Rule, Application, and Conclusion’ is a framework for organizing legal analysis. If you are a lawyer or a legal student, you have no choice but to comprehend how the IRAC works fully. Through this, you can simplify complex legal problems through identification of facts and applying governing laws to these facts.
Breaking down the acronym gives the following;
- Issue: What legal question is being asked? What facts led to the issue in question and what issues of law are brought about by some of these breaches? Usually, you will be provided with an entire legal case, and it is prevailed upon you to decide which facts are to be addressed. What circumstances surround these facts and what rights have been breached? What are the positions of the plaintiff and the defendant?
- Rules: This describes the relevant laws as to be applied to that situation, and will depend on the jurisdiction, legislation, past cases and the normal jurisprudence applied to such cases. However, these should be taken only as guidelines, and you should be as specific as possible when supporting your arguments with past cases. Mention those specific cases and how they apply to the current case under scrutiny.
- Application: This explores the arguments and the various laws pertaining to the plaintiff(s). The law has to be able to be applied to each plaintiff’s case specifically and individually. There might be exceptions to these rules, and these too need to be stated out clearly. As a clear reminder, justice should be served equally from both directions and shouldn’t be skewed.
- Conclusion: This section restates the case question or the issue and provides a clear answer to the same based on the rules and analysis. One should not introduce new rules in this section. If there multiple issues, provide a conclusion for those individually.
Maximizing the Effect of the IRAC Method
A legal question may not be as simple as a single plaintiff or a single case or idea to be solved. One needs to read through the case keenly and severally to know what kind of conclusion should be reached. One may think that reducing the complex legal analysis to a simple formula may be underwhelming the process. The reverse is true. In most cases, you will find that legal analysis involves a lot more than just a single case or problem. Thinking through all these complexities while still remaining fair headed might be quite difficult. Just cause always goes hand in hand with authority, and one cannot be applied without the other.
You should be able to justify all your arguments and consider all extents of liability. There might be intersecting portions of the law that you may need to apply when arguing out cases. These intersections should be made clear, and you should also consider any social implications that might arise as a consequence of the judgment. As mentioned, one common problem students will encounter when writing these papers is applying analysis to the issue especially when varied facts are involved. It may seem as simple as identifying an issue and applying the rule, but an analysis is the crucial part of these questions. You’ll often need to test and apply these rules to different situations. If you can’t check out all perspectives, you’ll miss out on the gist of the writing.
Other Notes to Keep When Doing an IRAC
IRACs do not leave you with any room for ambiguity. From your analysis, you should be able to come to a forthright conclusion without any room for doubt. At the same time, you should not form an opinion without having sufficient facts to back the conclusion up. A party’s liability or culpability should only be based on omission or commission of action in law. You should consider previous dicta based on past legal references and the precedence set by higher courts.
In complex cases, a dissent may have been previously issued, and you can choose to explore these dissents if they are applicable to your case. Understanding the reasoning behind past judgments and applying that to your case is of critical importance. Have the past rulings preceding the case been overturned?