Online Companion: Legal Research

QUIZ ANSWERS

  1. Case law analysis is the analytical process you engage in to determine whether and how the decision in a court opinion either governs or affects the outcome of a client’s case.
  2. A case is on point if the similarity between the key facts and the rule of law or legal principle of the court opinion and those of the client’s case is sufficient for the court opinion to govern or provide guidance to a later court in deciding the outcome of the client’s case.
  3. Precedent is an earlier court decision on an issue that governs or guides a subsequent court in its determination of an identical or similar issue based on identical or similar key facts.
  4. Mandatory precedent is precedent from a higher court in a jurisdiction.
  5. Persuasive precedent is precedent that a court may look to for guidance when reaching a decision but is not bound to follow.
  6. The doctrine of stare decisis is a basic principle of the common law system that requires a court to follow a previous decision of that court or a higher court in the jurisdiction when the current decision involves issues and key facts similar to those involved in the previous decision.
  7. The two requirements for a case to be on point and apply as precedent are the following:
    1. The significant or key facts of the court opinion must be sufficiently similar to the key facts of the client’s case; or if the facts are not similar, the rule of law or legal principle applied in the court opinion must be so broad that it applies to many diverse fact situations.
    2. The rule of law or legal principle applied in the court opinion must be the same or sufficiently similar to the rule of law or legal principle that applies in the client’s case.
  8. The phrase “on all fours” is often used to describe opinions where the facts of the opinion and those of the client’s case and the rule of law that applies are identical or so similar that the court opinion is clearly on point.
  9. When some of the key facts of a court opinion are different from those of the client’s case, the three-part process recommended for determining whether the court opinion is usable as precedent is the following:
    Part 1: Identify the similarities between the key facts.
    Part 2: Identify the differences between the key facts.
    Part 3: Determine whether the differences are of such a significant degree that the opinion cannot apply as precedent.
  10. A court opinion interpreting one legislative act may be used as precedent for a client’s case that involves the application of a different legislative act when
    1. There is a similarity in language between the legislative acts.
    2. There is a similarity in function between the legislative acts.
  11. A court opinion interpreting one common law rule or principle may be used as precedent for a client’s case that involves the application of a different common law rule or principle when
    1. There is a similarity in language between the common law rules or principles.
    2. There is a similarity in function between the common law rules or principles.