Publication details

Case Briefs in Legal English Classes

Authors

BILOVÁ Štěpánka

Year of publication 2015
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Language Centre

Citation
Attached files
Description A case brief can be described as a succinct summary of a case which specifies the facts, procedural history, legal issue(s), court decision and legal reasoning supporting the judgment, even though exact formats may vary. Case briefing is a complex and demanding activity which is often required from students in their mother tongue during their law studies. The goal is to teach the students to focus on the essential parts of the case and to obtain a thorough understanding of the case and the reasoning, which means the students need to employ their critical thinking skills. The lesson of English for legal purposes can also benefit from implementing case briefs. They bring practical, real life examples of the law, which can increase the students' interest and motivation; the students are exposed to a lot of useful legal vocabulary, they practice reading strategies and comprehension and they need to present a comprehensive output. In the paper I share several activities involving case briefs. My experience shows that it is important to provide students with sufficient scaffolding for completing the task successfully. Even though the students feel they are easily and quickly acquainted with the format and the language used, they encounter problems when preparing particular cases. The activities shown combine both individual and collaborative work, oral and written outputs and peer reviewing. Case briefing is a valuable learning activity; nevertheless, some students may find it difficult as they need not only language skills, but also general critical thinking skills. The teacher should therefore facilitate their work, help them practice the ability to find relevant information, identify the issue and comprehend the reasoning behind.
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