IRAC Method to answering legal problem questions

The IRAC method provides a structure to answering legal problem questions.

Before you use the IRAC method you need to assess the entire legal problem to discover where IRAC needs to be applied.

Read the question carefully to determine

  • what broad area of law should be applied to the problem – eg contract law, criminal law etc
  • what cause/s of action within the broad area of law is relevant to base the client’s case upon – eg breach of contract, misrepresentation etc
  • what elements of each course of cacti need to be proved or disproved.

Once you have done this and identified the ‘issues’ that need resolution you apply IRAC to each of them.  Sub-issues may also arise and you can apply IRAC to these issues as well.

To read further detail on this method  UTS Law Guide to Written Communication

IRAC stands for

  • I     Identify the ISSUES
  • R   State the relevant RULES (legal authority)
  • A   Apply the rules to the facts of the case APPLY
  • C   The outcome of applying the law to the facts.CONCLUSION

Issues

  • Identify the problem: what has gone wrong and for whom?
  • Name each Plaintiff and Defendant and briefly describe their individual issues.
  • Work out what area of law may govern the resolution of the problem.
  • Identify any conflicting or troublesome facts.

Rules

  • Set out the legal principles that will be used to address the problem.
  • Source legal principles from cases and legislation.

Apply

  • Explain in detail why the Plaintiff’s claims are (or are not) justificed, based on the body of law pertaining to the case.
  • How will this law be used by each party to argue their case?
  • Use relevant precedent cases or legal principles to support your answer.
  • You may also choose to use Legislation when applicable.
  • There are often several Plaintiffs involved.  Take the time to examine each case individually and analyse why their claims are (or are not) valid.

Conclusion

  • Stand back and play ‘the judge’.
  • Choose the argument you think is the strongest and articulate what you believe to be the appropriate answer.
  • State who is liable for what and to what extent.
  • Consider how parties could have acted to better manage their risks in order to avoid this legal problem.
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