Reading and writing strategies

In the first part of your assignment, the case summary or case note, you are required to discuss and analyse the legal reasoning of the case, as well as outline the facts and procedural history. To analyse a case is to ask what the case means, or how the judges decide, or why the decision has been made in that way. In the context of the case note, analysis requires breaking down the judgment and considering how some or all of its parts are related to each other, and the larger legal and/or social context.

Case reading strategies

For a case note assignment, using effective case reading strategies will help you to better understand and analyse the case.

Synthesising the case with your research

In the case analysis or research assignment part of your case note assessment, you will need to use the case and your research to analyse the importance and implications of the decision. The following questions may help you to analyse the impact of your case.

  • How does this case sit with prior cases?
  • How does this case sit with subsequent cases? Does it contradict or support them?What is the difference between the minority and majority opinion? Was the reasoning relied on by the judges logically consistent?
  • How does this case sit with the legislation? Has there been any legislative amendment since the case?
  • What do academics say about the case? What about the legal issue? Do they agree/disagree or are they neutral? Do they suggest any changes to the law? Do you agree?
  • Has there been any policy change since the case was handed down?
  • What effect does the case have on social phenomena?

You could use the reports of law reform inquiries such as those of the Australian Law Reform Commission and the Victorian Law Reform Commission.

Scholarly journal articles are often good resources for considering the wider social impact of the case.

Argument and structure

The case analysis or research assignment part of your assessment requires you to write an analytical essay. Usually you are required to discuss the legal implications and wider consequences of the case. You will need to research the case and area of law to find journal articles, other case law, law reform commission reports, and other sources.

The best papers are distinguished by high quality writing that communicates in-depth analysis. Your case note assessment should have a clear argument articulated in a thesis statement, headings to communicate the structure of your assignment, and clear, direct writing.

For more tips and strategies see our Legal Essays page.


  • To further improve clarity in your writing, have a look at the Write clearly resource.
  • Look at the AGLC rules themselves, see some examples of the rules applied.

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