legal problem questions l.
Download
Skip this Video
Loading SlideShow in 5 Seconds..
LEGAL PROBLEM QUESTIONS - PowerPoint Presentation
Download Presentation
LEGAL PROBLEM QUESTIONS -

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 51

LEGAL PROBLEM QUESTIONS - - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • 117 Views
  • Uploaded on

LEGAL PROBLEM QUESTIONS -. 2. Picking the issues. The most important skill in answering a legal problem is to be able to ‘spot’ the relevant issue of law being raised. Picking the issues.

loader
I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
capcha
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'LEGAL PROBLEM QUESTIONS -' - oni


An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
legal problem questions

LEGAL PROBLEM QUESTIONS -

2. Picking the issues

slide2
The most important skill in answering a legal problem is to be able to ‘spot’ the relevant issue of law being raised
picking the issues
Picking the issues
  • Many exams frame “direct questions” – they identify the area and ask about it directly - e.g. Describe photosynthesis.
  • Legal exams however are typically problem questions, where the area of law to be tested is not clearly identified e.g. Advise John
  • You must work out what area of law to advise John about: i.e. you must pick the issue the question is raising
first step
First step
  • Problem questions require an extra level of analysis – first work out what the question is about before trying to answer it.
  • If you identify the correct legal issues raised in the question you will almost certainly pass – even if your discussion of them is poor.
wrong issues
Wrong issues?
  • If your answer is a brilliant, well supported, well written discussion of important legal issues – but not those raised by the question – you will fail.
  • Addressing the wrong issue, is demonstrating that you do not understand that area of the law well enough to understand the issues raised by the question.
the right issue
The right issue
  • David Beckham, using a soccer ball at Wimbledon, would be out first match
  • Roger Federer, using a tennis ball at the World Cup, would not get a game
  • Legal problems need the right issue – not a great discussion of the wrong issue.
knowledge first
Knowledge first
  • Direct questions – allow you to read the question and then read/research what the answer is. e.g “What is photosynthesis?” gives you a starting point for research.
  • Indirect (problem) questions – require you to know the relevant area well first. If you do not know the law you will not be able to spot the issues which are being asked by the question.
first
First
  • Read and prepare a summary of the relevant law before attempting a problem question.
  • Do not try and work backwards – unless you understand the law you will not be able to determine the issues.
slide9
Then?
  • Read the question very slowly and very carefully
  • Make sure you understand each word in the question – dictionaries are an important tool
  • Underline or highlight important words.
underlining
Underlining
  • Aim to underline at least one thing relevant to a consideration of the issues in eachparagraph of the question
  • If you can’t – reread the question as you will have missed issues
ask why
Ask why?
  • Ask yourself while reading, why is this information here?
  • What issue is this meant to make me think about?
  • Am I given information which is quirky or out of the ordinary? What issue does this direct my attention to?
  • Are the words used similar to those in a case or statute?
examples
Examples

In a Contracts exam you read:

  • John is grumbling because he has so much homework
    • What issue does this raise?
  • Capacity?
    • Does the information given in the question that John has homework raise the possibility that John is at school?
    • Does this mean that he will be a minor?
    • We don’t have complete information – but the question gives us enough to raise this as an issue.
in a contracts question you read
In a Contracts question you read:
  • While organising appointments for facials for herself and her mother, Mary chatted with the beautician about her audition for a major television part, and told her that she needed the facial to look her best for what could be her breakthrough role. Her mother was also her agent and would be negotiating any contract for her. What issue(s) does this raise?
ask why you are given the information
Ask why you are given the information?

This is a conversation at the time of contract formation

  • Is it irrelevant? Merely there to add ‘colour’ or interest to the question?
  • Does it ask you to think about damages and the 2nd limb in Hadley v Baxendale?
  • If damages are available – what sort?
  • Does it ask you to consider to whom the promise was made? Coulls v Bagot’s ?
slide15

Every word in a question is important – make sure you read and understand every word and consider why it has been included in the question

slide16
A problem question is like a set of clues – if you identify

all the clues,

you will be able

to spot the issue

common mistakes
Common mistakes
  • Skimming: you may quickly pick one issue, but you will certainly miss many others raised by the question
  • Reading carefully, picking the first issue, and then skimming the rest of the question: again, you will have picked some of the issues, but not all the issues you need to discuss.
  • Fast, but ineffective.
how many issues
How many issues?
  • Isn’t finding one issue enough? How many issues are in each question?
  • The only time finding one issue is enough is when it is a one issue question
  • Questions are often drafted with “pass” and “distinction” issues. The more carefully you read the whole question, the more likely you will spot all the issues – including the harder issues
words legal or common usage
Words: legal or common usage?
  • Look carefully at the words used in the question
  • Many legal terms also have common meanings – and they may be different
  • E.g. If the question uses “offer” or “accept” are they being used in a legal or everyday sense?
  • You must think of the legal meaning and see if it is satisfied
words
Words

The words used provide important guides to the relevant issues, for example:

  • “offer” doesn’t necessarily mean offer in a legal sense, but will often indicate that offer/invitation to treat is an issue for discussion
  • “promise” may have a legal meaning – consider estoppel or collateral contract
answering the question asked
Answering the question asked
  • The last words of the problem are generally the “question words”
  • Consider these very carefully and draft your answer to address these questions, and only these questions
examples22
Examples
  • A question asks you to “advise Mary what damages (if any) she may claim in respect of the breach of contract”
  • Which of the following issues does the question require you to discuss?
  • Existence/formation of a contract?
  • The terms of the contract?
  • Breach of any of those terms?
  • Damages in contract?
  • Damages in tort?
  • Damages in equity?
  • Statutory damages?
examples23
Examples
  • The only issue you would need to discuss is damages for breach of contract – much of the rest (such as the existence of the contract) could be presumed from the facts given, and is not in issue – so doesn’t have to be discussed.
  • Of course every question is different –there are no hard and fast rules, they must all be read carefully.
contentious issues
Contentious issues
  • What if the issue you spot in the question is contentious, and there is no settled legal answer? Does this mean you have spotted the wrong issue and should keep looking?
  • Issues in exam questions are usually based on contentious areas of law.
  • If you have a choice between a settled area of law and a contentious one, the issue will usually be contentious
contentious issues25
Contentious issues
  • Remember – contentious issues are unsettled and there are two (or sometimes even more) views as to what the relevant law is in a given situation.
  • To discuss these issues properly, you need to discuss both views.
  • This is one example of ‘arguing in the alternative’
summary
Summary
  • The first step in a problem question is to pick the issues raised – and address only these
  • Read the question slowly and carefully
  • Make sure you understand all words used
  • Underline important issues as you go through
summary27
Summary

5. Think carefully about the words and the information in the question – what issues is it asking you to think about

Problem questions are full of clues, but you must read carefully to discover them

6. Review your highlighted question. If you have spotted all the issues, this will be your essay plan.

summary28
Summary

7. If you have not underlined, on average, something in every paragraph, then re-read the question, as you will have missed some issues.

8. Aim to spot all the issues, not just the first issue

exercises
Exercises

Consider the following problem. Do not try to answer it – simply try and isolate the legal issues which the facts of the problem are raising.

slide30
Alice runs a small stationery business specialising in wedding invitations. Her husband John owns a large printing business, and because he buys such a large volume of paper, he is able to purchase his paper much more cheaply than Alice. On Thursday night, after cooking John’s favourite meal, Alice asked John if he would supply her business with paper at his cost price. John said, “Of course honey. Whatever would make you happy.”

Alice then decides to invest in specialist inks. On Friday she rings her supplier at Mary’s Inks Pty Ltd and talks to Mary. She discusses her plans to expand her wedding invitation business into programmes and place cards, which means she will need to order additional ink colours, and ink which is suitable for printing photos and graphics. Mary tells Alice that all the ink they supply is of the highest quality. Alice orders 2 dozen black ink cartridges at the list price of $30.00 each, to be delivered next Friday. She also inquires about gold and silver inks, and is told that gold cartridges are available for $80.00 each, and silver for $75.00. Alice is unhappy with these prices, and considers that as a long standing customer, she should receive a better price. She tells Mary that she is prepared to pay $60.00 for the gold cartridges and $50.00 for the silver. Mary is unsure whether or not these prices are acceptable.

slide31
Alice tells her to think about, and that if she doesn’t hear to the contrary, she will take 5 gold and 5 silver cartridges, to be delivered with the black ink cartridges on Friday.

On Friday morning, Alice receives a delivery from Mary – of 24 black ink cartridges but no colour cartridges. Alice rings Mary, thanks her for the delivery of the black cartridges, but notes there are no gold or silver cartridges. Mary advises that she has decided not to supply them at Alice’s price – Alice protests that they had an agreement about the coloured inks. Alice then rings John and asks him to send over some paper she needs – at cost price as agreed. John replies that he will certainly provide her with paper, but that he needs to do so at market price. She protests and reminds him of last Thursday evening. He replies “Ah yes. That was dinner, this is business.”

After Alice gets off the ‘phone her assistant Peter shows her an order for wedding programmes on which he has been working, using the black ink supplied by Mary that day. The text was fine, but the photo of the bride and groom has printed blotchy and streaky. He tells Alice there is a problem with the ink – it will not print photos properly. Advise Alice.

spotting issues
Spotting issues
  • How many issues did you spot?
  • Do you have a starting point for research, or do you have to understand the legal issues first?
  • Could you answer the question now – or do you need more?
first step33
First step?
  • You need to know the law which the problem is seeking to test
  • Assume the following legal propositions:
    • A valid contract requires an intention to create legal relations. This is not always present between close family members.
    • Even if a contract is silent, legislation such as the Sale of Goods Act and the Trade Practices Act will imply terms into certain contracts to protect consumers and ensure that goods are fit for their purpose, and are of merchantable quality.
legal principles
Legal Principles
  • In order for the fitness for purpose term to become part of the contract, the purchaser must tell the seller what their purpose is.
  • A valid contract requires an offer which has been accepted. If there is anything left to negotiate, a contract will not have been formed.
  • Acceptance requires something to happen. Not responding to an offer, or silence, cannot be a valid acceptance.
slide35
Having considered these legal principles, read the question again. What legal issues can you spot now?
underline as you read
Underline as you read

What will you underline/highlight? What clues will you find to help you spot the issues?

slide37
Alice runs a small stationery business specialising in wedding invitations. Her husband John owns a large printing business, and because he buys such a large volume of paper, he is able to purchase his paper much more cheaply than Alice. On Thursday night, after cooking John’s favourite meal, Alice asked John if he would supply her business with paper at his cost price. John said, “Of course honey. Whatever would make you happy.”

Alice then decides to invest in specialist inks. On Friday she rings her supplier at Mary’s Inks Pty Ltd and talks to Mary. She discusses her plans to expand her wedding invitation business into programmes and place cards, which means she will need to order additional ink colours, and ink which is suitable forprinting photos and graphics. Mary tells Alice that all the ink they supply is of the highest quality. Alice orders 2 dozen blackink cartridges at the list price of $30.00 each, to be deliverednext Friday. She alsoinquires about gold and silver inks, and is told that gold cartridges are available for $80.00 each, and silver for $75.00. Alice is unhappy with these prices, and considers that as a long standing customer, she should receive a better price. She tells Mary that she is prepared to pay $60.00 for the gold cartridges and $50.00 for the silver. Mary is unsure whether or not these prices are acceptable.

slide38
Alice tells her to think about, and that if she doesn’t hear to thecontrary,she will take 5 gold and 5 silver cartridges, to be delivered with the black ink cartridges on Friday.

On Friday morning, Alice receives a delivery from Mary – of 24 black ink cartridges but no colour cartridges. Alice rings Mary, thanks her for the delivery of the black cartridges, but notes there are no gold or silver cartridges. Mary advises that she has decided not to supply them at Alice’s price – Alice protests that they had an agreement about the coloured inks. Alice then rings John and asks him to send over some paper she needs – at cost price as agreed. John replies that he will certainly provide her with paper, but that he needs to do so at market price. She protests and reminds him of last Thursday evening. He replies “Ah yes. That was dinner, this is business.”

After Alice gets off the ‘phone her assistant Peter shows her an order for wedding programmes on which he has been working, using the black ink supplied by Mary that day. The text was fine, but the photo of the bride and groom has printed blotchyand streaky. He tells Alice there is a problem with the ink – it will not print photos properly. Advise Alice.

why have we highlighted these words what clues do they give us
Why have we highlighted these words? What clues do they give us?
  • Her husband John
    • Alice and John are married. Does this mean that the necessary intention to make a contract was present in their negotiations? Consider the other information highlighted about dinner, and John’s words to Alice.
    • These are clues that an important issue to discuss is intention to create legal relations.
slide40
Note: the question does not say anywhere, ‘Advise Alice whether or not she has an enforceable contract with John’, or ‘Advise Alice whether the fact that she is married to John may create a presumption that she did not intend to form a contract with John for the supply of paper.’
  • This is in fact what the question is asking – but in an indirect problem question you must work this out from the clues given. So read carefully.
more issues
More issues
  • ink which is suitable forprinting photos and graphics.
    • In certain circumstances, legislation will imply a term into a contract that the goods be fit for the purpose for which they have been bought. Here, Alice is telling Mary what her purpose is in buying the ink. This is a clue that ‘fitness for purpose’ is an issue to consider
more issues42
More issues
  • Alice orders 2 dozen blackink cartridges at the list price of $30.00 each, to be deliverednext Friday.
    • This is a contract for black ink between Alice and Mary – there is nothing left to be negotiated and they have both agreed. Provided the contract is not breached there will be no issues to talk about here.
pay attention to little words
Pay attention to ‘little’ words
  • Also
    • We have a contract for black ink. Now, Alice “also” inquires about gold and silver inks. This is a clue that there will be two issues – one about the black ink (is it fit for the purpose for which it was supplied?) and coloured ink (was a contract ever formed?) The existence of two issues could easily be missed by anyone skimming the question and the ‘also’ clue.
consider the words carefully
Consider the words carefully
  • Inquires
    • It is often important to look at the word chosen. “inquires” suggests negotiation, or requesting information – a legal step which comes before an offer which may be accepted to form a contract.
legal issues
Legal issues
  • gold cartridges are available for $80.00 each, and silver for $75.00.
    • Is this an offer?
  • She tells Mary that she is prepared to pay $60.00 for the gold cartridges and $50.00 for the silver
    • Has the offer been accepted? Or has Alice made a ‘counter offer’?
  • Unsure
    • Has Mary accepted?
more issues46
More issues
  • if she doesn’t hear to thecontrary,she will take 5 gold and 5 silver cartridges, to be delivered with the black ink cartridges on Friday.
    • Consider carefully what is happening here – Alice is providing a way in which her offer for the gold and silver cartridges can be accepted. What does she suggest?
    • Is silence a valid method of consent?
linking issues
Linking issues
  • “Ah yes. That was dinner, this is business.”
    • Is this a new issue, or does it link in to a previous issue?
    • It is giving us information about whether or not husband and wife, John and Alice,intended to create legal relations.
    • Information about issues is not always grouped together. Often you have to pick up the clues throughout the question in order to determine the relevant issues.
more issues48
More issues
  • but the photo of the bride and groom has printed blotchyand streaky.
    • Ask why this information has been given?
    • It raises the issue of whether or not the black ink was fit for the purpose for which it was bought.
    • Does it raise this issue directly?
    • Or do you have to work out the issue by a careful consideration of the facts of the problem, utilising your legal knowledge.
advise
Advise
  • Advise Alice.
    • This is typical of the way in which problem questions phrase the actual question.
  • “Advise” should be treated as a technical legal term – not in its everyday sense.
  • “Advise” does not mean give practical advice to Alice, counselling, general business advice, or advice based on your personal experience.
advise50
Advise
  • “Advise” is not asking you to help Alice.
  • It is not an instruction to show Alice how she can ‘win’, and to consider only arguments which will help her to win.
  • Sometimes, in a legal problem, as in life, your client has no legal case. Sometimes the advice is that there is no cause of action, or no defence.
advise51
Advise
  • Advise means:
    • Consider all the legal issues (not factual issues) raised by the problem question;
    • Consider the law which will help you address those legal issues; and
    • Apply that law to the issues
    • To provide a conclusion – or advice or answer – to the legal issues raised.