Restate the issues and refine your strategy

Restate the issues

Often you will need to restate the issues after finding some relevant cases and reviewing secondary sources. You will also be in a position to flesh out the issues, by adding sub-issues, and determining which issues are straightforward and which are problematic.

Initially your statement of issues may be as broad as negligence, or breach of contract. Expand it as you go to determine the relevant sub-issues such as elements of the cause of action, applicable remedies, defences available, onus of proof, policy considerations, limitations issues, evidentiary issues, contractual or statutory interpretation.

You may find that your problem can be approached under various legal subject areas or causes of action. Depending on how you characterize the problem, there may be advantages or disadvantages in terms of what must be proved, the remedies available, and the limitation period imposed.

Refine your strategy

The next step is to refine your research strategy for the various issues you have identified.

  • Some may be dealt with quickly using leading authorities and trite law.
  • Others will require careful analysis of conflicting case law.
  • Others may not have been judicially considered and may require a creative approach based on analogous legal doctrines and first principles.

This means you will require a different research strategy for each issue. Use a research checklist to help you develop your strategy.