Analysing materials

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 [2011] 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.

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