Case Brief Assignment
Case Brief (Student Brief): A case brief is a short summary and analysis of the case. It is a set of notes,
presented in a systematic way, in order to sort out the parties, identify the issues, ascertain what was
decided, and analyze the reasoning behind decisions made by the courts. Essentially, a case brief is a
well structured summary of a case.
An Acceptable format for a Case Brief:
• Case Citation
• Facts of Case: Here you outline the essential facts of the case, particularly those facts
bearing upon or leading up to the issue.
• Statement of Issue(s): Here you, the student ,should outline the dispute to be resolved
by this particular court. For example, which rule of law should be applied? How should
a given element of a rule be defined? What general principle(s) of law are illustrated by
the case? What legal test(s) should be applied?
• Rationale (Racio Dicidendi): Here you outline the reasoning behind the court’s decision.
(was the court reasoning based on precedent, economics, politics, sociology, fairness
etc.?) The reasoning, or rationale, is the chain of argument which led the judges in
either a majority or a dissenting opinion to rule as they did. This should be outlined
point by point in numbered sentences or paragraphs.
• Court Holding: This is where you should indicate the decision of the court in the case.
• Analyses: This is where you evaluate the significance of the case, its relationship to
other cases, its place in history, and what it shows about the Court, its members, its
decision making processes, or the impact it has on litigants, government, or society. It is
here that the implicit assumptions and values of the Justices should be probed, the
‘rightness’ of the decision debated, and the logic of the reasoning considered – based on
the decision of the court in this case
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