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LEGAL RESEARCH STEP BY STEP

Updated: Sep 13, 2022

LEGAL RESEARCH STEP BY STEP


Fact Analysis
FACT ANALYSIS STEPS INVOLVED

To note all the factual details in an in-depth manner

STEP-1: Talk to the parties concerned & prepare detailed notes and NOT miss any information

STEP-2: Go through the relevant documentation, eg – a copy of FIR, seizure report, or any other

STEP-3: Preparing the time-line of facts to refer to at a later stage in the case by reading the interview notes (Step-1) & relevant documents (Step-2) a number of times till you have complete clarity of the facts

STEP-4: Separate the relevant or material facts from irrelevant facts in the case






Beginning Legal Research
IRAC- Issue-Rule-Application-Conclusion

STEP-5: Issue means identification of the problem that is giving rise to a legal claim.

Identifying the main dispute and other disputes, if any


STEP-6: Rule means the rule of law or rules that are applicable in this case.

Research & Identify the legal provisions applicable to the facts of the case


STEP-7: Application is the stage at which you apply the issue to the rule, and assess where you stand.

  • Read the legal provisions very carefully

  • Apply the legal provisions to the issue/s in question


STEP-8: Conclusion is the stage where you determine the result of the application of the rule to the particular issue.

  • Clarity on facts and legal provisions, both, in support of your client and against your client

Material Sources of Law
PRIMARY & SECONDARY SOURCES OF LAW

Difference: impact upon the binding nature and value of the source of law to the court

The primary source has mandatory or binding authority


The secondary source is not of mandatory authority, holds persuasive value, used in order to interpret and analyze the primary sources of law & to advance an argument more forcefully

Hierarchy in the use of sources – If unable to find a primary source, then ascertain secondary sources



What are Primary Sources of Law?

The Constitution

Statutes

Central legislations in Official Gazette of the GOI

State legislations in State Gazettes

Government websites

Bare Acts, Manuals

Judgments decided by courts

(Stare Decisis and Precedent Value)


What are Secondary Sources of Law?

Commentaries on specific laws

International Treaties

Academic Journals – Indian & Foreign

Digests, Treatises, Books

Reports - Law Commission Reports; Committee/Commission Reports; Annual Reports; Parliamentary Committee Reports - Joint Committee, Select Committee & Standing Committee

Parliamentary Debates - Constituent Assembly Debates; Lok Sabha Debates; Rajya Sabha Debates

Parliamentary Bills - Lok Sabha Bills; Rajya Sabha Bills; State Legislature Bills

Legal Dictionaries/Law Lexicons

Legal encyclopedic works – eg. American jurisprudence, corpus juris secundum, Halsbury law of England, and Halsbury laws of India


LIBRARY RESEARCH

STEPS TO LIBRARY RESEARCH

STEP-1: Locate the index of books / catalogue to find out the exact books & location of those books in library

STEP-2: Proceed to read and assimilate the information in the books by preparing notes

STEP-3: More research questions could be identified & Refine your questions and the issues


By following all the above steps, prepare issue-wise detailed notes of arguments and supporting case laws


What do you need to research & Where?

Case laws on a specific topic

  • Digests

  • Commentaries

Any particular case law

  • Law Reporters

Legislative intent & legislative history of any act

  • Objects and Reasons of the Act (published in the bill)

  • Parliamentary debates

  • Law Commission Reports

  • Standing Committee/ Joint/Select Committee Reports

  • Reports of the Committee appointed by the ministries for enacting/ reviewing any existing enactments

Corresponding foreign law to any statutory provision in India

  • Academic Journals – Indian & Foreign

  • Comparative Law Journals

Meaning of any particular “word” or “phrase”

  • Law Lexicons / Legal Dictionaries

LEGAL SOURCES


COMMENTARIES ON CONSTITUTIONAL LAW

COMMENTARIES ON CONSTITUTIONAL LAW

COMMENTARIES ON INDIAN PENAL CODE

COMMENTARIES ON INDIAN PENAL CODE

COMMENTARIES ON EVIDENCE

COMMENTARIES ON EVIDENCE

IMPORTANT DIGESTS


ACADEMIC LAW JOURNALS

Annual Survey of Indian Law (New Delhi: ILI)

Journal Indian Law Institute

Journal of Constitutional & Parliamentary Studies

Indian Journal of International Law

Indian Bar Review

National Law School of Indian Review

Journal of Human Rights (NHRC)

LAW LEXICONS


Advanced Law Lexicon: Encyclopedia Law Dictionary with Legal Maxims, Latin Terms and Words & Phrases(Nagpur: Wadhwa & Co.)


Judicial Dictionary (New Delhi: Butterworths India)


Judicial Dictionary (Jaipur: Bharat Law Publications)


Legal Glossary published by Ministry of Law, Justice & Co. Affairs

ENCYCLOPEDIC REFERENCE SOURCE

Halsbury’s Laws of India, Approx 30 Vols. (New Delhi: Butterworths)

LAW LEXICONS


CASE LAW RESEARCH

Ratio Decidendi and Obiter Dictum

Ratio Decidendi – BINDING – reasoning that is used in the judgment that correlates the facts and the law, and upon analysis determines the outcome of the dispute

Obiter Dictum – NOT BINDING – an observation, reference or discussion and is not central to the decision or determination of the dispute

A lawyer must be able to separate the obiter from the ratio decidendi and reliance must be placed on the ratio

Distinguished Cases: In case Court finds that the ratio has been on the basis of different facts or situation, then that case is distinguished from the present case before the court and will thus not have to follow the prior decision.



LAW REPORTERS

¨Most widely used and easily available:

Supreme Court Reporter - SCR

All India Reporter - AIR

Supreme Court Cases - SCC

Scale (Supreme Court judgments) SCALE

Criminal Law Journal CrLJ

LABOUR/MATRIMONIAL

Numerous reporters are specific to each state. All India Reporter publishes volumes for the states. For example, A.I.R (A.P) refers to Andhra Pradesh High Court judgements.

How to read a citation?

​Example 1: 1997 A.I.R (SC) 3011

¨Year of the Case: 1997

¨Name of the law reporter: A.I.R. (All India Reporter)

¨Name of the Court: SC (Supreme Court)

¨Page Number: 3011

​Example 2: 1979 SCR (3) 532

¨Year of the Case: 1979

¨Name of the law reporter: SCR (Supreme Court Reader)

¨Name of the Court: SC (Supreme Court)

¨Volume Number: 3

¨Page Number: 532


How to read a case?

¨Head Notes: Highlights of the judgment, good reference to find out in short what the judgment deals with but at times erroneous

¨Must always refer to the original case, and not place reliance only upon the interpretation of the case by the author of the article or book

​INTERNET RESEARCH

SOURCES OF INTERNET RESEARCH

1.India Code: This provides access to all the Central legislations as provided by Legislative Department of Ministry of Law.

2.Court Web Sites: This provides links to the websites of the high court and some district courts.

a.Causelists: Contains information regarding causelists, including weekly lists, advance lists, daily lists and supplementary lists of the Supreme Court and high courts.

b.Daily Orders: It provides the latest daily orders of the Supreme Court and high courts.

c.Courtnic: The current status of any case, i.e. information of all pending and disposed cases including next date of listing, date of disposal, etc, is easily available on this site. It also provides the text of latest orders.

3.Judgement Information System: This website contains the cases that are decided by the Supreme Court of India but may not find all the cases. (http://www.judis.nic.in/)

SUPLIS (Database of Case Laws)

1.SUPLIS is an indexing database of case laws decided by the honorable Supreme Court. This database consists of more than 42,000 case laws since 1950.

2.Besides retrieval of case laws by subject and case title, it also provides search capability by a “famous case name” (if any) assigned at the time of the entry – for example: “Bhopal Gas Case”, “Rajiv Gandhi assassination case,” “Mandal Commission Case,” etc.

3.Provides “equivalent citations” of case laws

SUPLIB (Database of Legal Articles)

  1. SUPLIB is a database of legal articles published in about 200 foreign and Indian law reports

  2. After receipt of a journal in the library, important articles are identified, indexed, and entered in this database under all possible subject headings.

LEGISLATION INFORMATION SYSTEM

¨The Legislative Database is a database for central government acts including amendments, rules, bills, and all subordinate legislations relating to central as well as state acts.







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