Determine the Legal Issue

Conducting the Legal Analysis3
The key to writing a good legal research paper lies in conducting sound legal analysis of the issue
that you are writing about. The format laid out below supports a methodical approach to
analyzing legal issues. The initial “thinking time” that it takes to move through the steps is crucial
to good legal research; it will help you to identify the primary legal issues and relevant facts. In
doing so, you will be able to focus your attention on the legal question.
The following procedure for legal analysis is recommended:
1. Determine the Legal Issue
▪ What happened?
2. Identify the Applicable Law
 Identify convention, treaty, domestic legislation or item of customary law applicable to the
3. Identify the Relevant Facts
▪ Who is involved?
▪ Where did the incident occur?
▪ How did it happen?
▪ Why did it happen?
4. Apply the Law to the Facts
▪ Does the conduct complained of breach a law?
o What does the law say?
o What do the courts say?
o Is there a defence or a reasonable explanation?
5. Conduct your Legal Analysis
 Discuss the fundamental nature of the legal conflict and the context in which the matter at
issue occurred
Comment on the law, how the event at issue relates to that law, any loopholes or lack of
6. State your Leg