Providing a description or summary of the case is not enough to do well in a case note assignment, unless your assignment instructions specifically state that you should only summarise the case. Therefore markers will look for evidence of your ability to analyse the case. 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.
Consider the following excerpt from the case note on Getachew. Does it contain a good analysis of the case? How do you know?
Case reading strategies
The student’s position in the example above could have been supported by a deeper level of analysis, going into more depth regarding why, or how, the decision was made, and the legal impact of the case. For a case note assignment, using effective case reading strategies will help you to better understand and analyse the case. Complete the following activity for some handy tips on reading a case. The relevant case is Getachew v R  VSCA 164.
Synthesising the case with your research
In the case analysis 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.
Consider the case judgment, compare it with other judgments on the same legal issues (i.e. in the above example rape and unconscious victims), and previous legal stances.
Does it contradict or support them?
This student could have considered, for example, the High Court appeal for this case (if they were writing this essay after the High Court judgment had been handed down).
Was the reasoning relied on by the judges logically consistent?
Consider the differences in reasoning. Here, Lasry AJ used similar reasoning but came to a different conclusion. Why would this be? Was he justified? Was there any real difference in reasoning?
Has there been any legislative amendment since the case?
You should consider whether there have been any legislative amendments since the judgment. For example, the student could have considered the legislative amendment on rape and consent which was passed in 2014. There have also been 2015 and 2016 amendments on the same topic.
You may also consider looking at the associated Second Reading Speeches and Explanatory Memoranda to better understand the intent of these amendments.
What about the legal issue? Do they agree/disagree or are they neutral? Do they suggest any changes to the law? Do you agree?
Use the journal articles or books that you have found in your research and consider whether academics agree or disagree, and why.
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