WRITING A LEGAL CASE SUMMARY & ANALYSIS
Reading a legal case can be a very demanding exercise. Merely skimming over the words will not suffice. It is important to have some idea of what to look for in the case and to acquire the skill of reading “between the lines” of the opinions. Legal case summaries and analyses will be valuable aids in highlighting the importance of assigned cases and will provide a ready reference to them. In the long run,no one else’s case analysis will be as valuable to you as your own. Every legal case summary and analysis should contain the following elements, be organized in the order indicated, and have each section of the assignment clearly labeled:
Identification of the Case
l. Name of Case: (The official name, and, if different, the popular name).2. Citation: (For possible later reference to complete official text).3. Date decided: (The year is sufficient.)
Analysis of the Case
4. Background and Facts:
Focus on what happened and who was involved. You may also need to report what lower courts decided. Try to avoid disputable descriptions and the temptation to recount some of the arguments from either or both sides. The arguments can usually be presented under the “Reasons for the Decision” or the “Dissenting and/or Concurring Opinions.”
5. Constitutional provisions, statutes, regulations, & governmental agencies involved:
If a constitutional legal issue is involved, what part of the Constitution? If a statute is involved, what statute? If a regulation is involved, what regulation? If a governmental agency is attempting to exercise authority over someone else, which government agency (or agencies)? [Do not include the courts in this.]
6. Issues & Holdings: (Issue = a question; holding = a simple yes or no answer.)
* The key question (or questions) in dispute
– written in a form allowing for yes or no answers
* And the answers (yes or no) given by the majority opinion of the court. For the purposes of this class the key issues may be limited to ones relating to the chapter topic under which the case is being discussed.
7. Reasons for the Holdings and the Decision:
* As explained in the majority or lead opinion. – Give the name of the author, if possible.* Put it into your own words as much as possible.- Do not rely upon quoting the decision.
8. Reasons for Concurring and/or Dissenting Opinions:
[only required if included in edited version provided]*As explained in the concurring and/or dissenting opinions
*Give author names.* Put it into your own words as much as possible.- Do not rely upon quoting the decision.
9. Reflections/Analysis/Implications for Public Administrators:
What do you think about this case?What lesson(s) does this case contain for public administrators?What does it demonstrate about the topic of the chapter we are discussing?Do you agree with the decision? Why or why not?Do you agree with the reasons for the decision? Why or why not?
1. Keep the case summary (1.- 8.) to 2 pages. Your analysis (“9. Implications for Public Administration”) may be another 1-2 pages. 2. The paper should be double spaced, using 12 point font.3. Provide 1-inch margins. That leaves me space for my comments.4. The paper should be the original work of the student submitting it and should not depend heavily on quoting the words of the authors of the opinions.5. Source citations should be provided in the formats described in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, latest edition.
The case: Vermont Yankee.docx
Please do not use out sources…. Only the attached file.