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missmaven

help with case commentary

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Hi everyone! I'm starting my first actual writing assignment that is worth marks and it is a case commentary on a case of my choice we've covered in class. I'm not sure where to begin or what is expected in a case commentary (my prof has explained this poorly, despite asking them for clarification and help). They told the class to 'just google an example', and even them I'm not sure what's expected.

Can anyone give tips on what to do or what a case commentary looks like? If anyone has any examples of previous ones they've done they're willing to share, I would appreciate the help.

Thanks!

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I know this probably isn't what you want to hear but googling an example is probably the best approach. Case comments generally start with a *brief* outline of the facts, and then any decisions of the courts below if it's an appeal. Next, the decision of the court and their reasoning. finally, you'll want a paragraph or two of your own commentary. The content of this will vary from case to case but some examples of what you could write about include: does this overturn previous law? did the judge get something wrong? does this have policy implications? did this reasoning come from another common law jurisdiction? 

Since its a case of your choosing, you're going to want to pick something that is worthy of commentary, not something that just applies the law and changes nothing. 

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The simple answer is to outline the facts, issues, holding, and reasons for judgment in an objective manner, and then provide your subjective commentary about whether you agree with the decision and why.

Your prof may have hinted at certain important points they will give marks for, such as having slides on policy rationales. Also, every case on your list of options probably has wide-reaching implications that you can talk about.

 

Edited by Trew
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1 hour ago, CoffeeandLaw said:

I know this probably isn't what you want to hear but googling an example is probably the best approach. Case comments generally start with a *brief* outline of the facts, and then any decisions of the courts below if it's an appeal. Next, the decision of the court and their reasoning. finally, you'll want a paragraph or two of your own commentary. The content of this will vary from case to case but some examples of what you could write about include: does this overturn previous law? did the judge get something wrong? does this have policy implications? did this reasoning come from another common law jurisdiction? 

Since its a case of your choosing, you're going to want to pick something that is worthy of commentary, not something that just applies the law and changes nothing. 

 

19 minutes ago, Trew said:

The simple answer is to outline the facts, issues, holding, and reasons for judgment in an objective manner, and then provide your subjective commentary about whether you agree with the decision and why.

Your prof may have hinted at certain important points they will give marks for, such as having slides on policy rationales. Also, every case on your list of options probably has wide-reaching implications that you can talk about.

 

Thank you both for the help! It's a lot clearer now what I'm supposed to do. I thought everything I was writing was supposed to be my own words, I didn't realize it involved summarizing the case itself, so I think I understand it better now. 

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On 11/3/2019 at 5:13 PM, missmaven said:

Hi everyone! I'm starting my first actual writing assignment that is worth marks and it is a case commentary on a case of my choice we've covered in class. I'm not sure where to begin or what is expected in a case commentary (my prof has explained this poorly, despite asking them for clarification and help). They told the class to 'just google an example', and even them I'm not sure what's expected.

Can anyone give tips on what to do or what a case commentary looks like? If anyone has any examples of previous ones they've done they're willing to share, I would appreciate the help.

Thanks!

1.  Factual overview.  Try to keep this as simple as possible to set up the background for part 2.

2.  Issues in dispute.  Make sure you are precise in stating these.

3.  Argument.  Explain what position each side is taking.  Be as generous as possible to each party's position.

4.  Ruling.  Say what the judge decided, and summarize the judge's reasoning.  (Often I would just give a brief summary of the key quote from the ruling, and then literally embed the quote from the decision.)

5.  Comment on the case.  Commentary can take a lot of forms.  Some examples:

- Point out flaws or confusing arguments in the judge's reasoning. 

- Talk about how this case interacts with other leading cases in the area.  

- Say how the decision might be good because it clears up a certain issue.  Or perhaps alternatively, why the decision might have poor precedential value because the judge decided the case on an extremely narrow point.  

- Is the decision good or bad from a policy perspective?  Does the decision accord with the policy objectives that the law being applied is intended to have, or does it feel like it goes against those objectives?

And countless more.

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