Law is learnt primarily by reading cases. Each case containing the decision of the Court as expressed is a ruling and supporting discussion.
Elements of Case
Before you analyse a case intelligently separate its component parts, though it seems mechanical, it is the only way to get a firm grasp. Sorting out the different pieces helps to cut through confusion. You can’t acquire the skill overnight. This skill you can achieve only after you have read enough number of cases. By extra effort in the beginning, consciously identifying the various elements you can reduce the time it takes to analyse the case.
Facts are of two types:
1. Procedural facts; 2. Substantive facts.
You should be able to separate pertinent information from irrelevant rubbish. The object is to discern the important features of a case. It is only through practice that you can do this.
Apart from uncovering the important facts of a case, the following aspects are also important.
(1) Parties; (2) Places ; (3) Events
You can’t go further until you have a reasonably precise idea of the issues involved. Often it can be boiled down to a single question of law. Some facts are more important than others in determining the outcome of a case. Identification of facts that bear on the operation of a legal rule is significant. This exercise requires a certain amount of discipline. Unimportant facts always lurk in the background, tempting the reader to stay away from the analytical path. You must resist such blandishments; consideration of such irrelevant facts only hampers understanding and application of the rule.
Facts are not neatly divided into significant & insignificant. They are all over the places & distributed. Then the question is how do you separate. The key is to keep your eye on the legal rule that is involved.