The case note should outline the following matters:
What was the nature of the case and what was the central legal issue? Include formal particular such as:
the name and citation of the case (eg: Mabo v Queensland (No 2) (1992) 175 CLR 1)
name of the court and judges;
name and status of each party;
date of the judgement;
state concisely the essential legal issue that was to be decided;
does the decision create legal precedent or uphold legal precedent.
What were the facts? Identify the important, relevant facts of the case and, if appropriate, its background. Significant conflicting evidence should be briefly noted. In this section you are reporting, not judging or evaluation. Clarify clearly the parties to the case (eg: plaintiff, defendant, contractor, etc).This should not be a long section.
What was the decision? Outline:
the facts that were considered material or relevant;
the ratio decidendi;
the arguments considered by the court in support of, or against, the decision;
any obiter dicta or significant observations by the court. Indicate whether there was any dissenting judgement.
What is your analysis of the decision? This is the most significant section of your case note. This is where you demonstrate your critical analysis and evaluation of the case:
Was the court’s decision appropriate?
Does this decision change/conform with existing law?
Was the reasoning consistent with previous reasoning in similar cases?
Did the decision, or is it likely that the decision will, significant influence existing law?
Did the court adequately justify its reasoning?
Was its interpretation of the law appropriate?
Was the reasoning logical and consistent?
Did the court consider all, or omit some, issues and arguments?
If there was some omission, does this weaken the merit of the decision?
What are the policy implications of the decision?
Are there alternative approaches which could lead to more appropriate public policy in the area?
What do you conclude? If your finding is that the decision creates legal precedent, or conversely, upholds legal precedent, what does that means? What are the implications for the legal and public policy contexts in which this decision sits?