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Assignment: Write a case-note essay on one of the following Supreme Court cases:

Assignment: Write a case-note essay on one of the following Supreme Court cases:
1) AM (Zimbabwe) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Respondent) [2020] UKSC 17, [2020] 2 WLR 1152.
2) Sutherland (Appellant) v Her Majesty’s Advocate (Respondent) (Scotland) [2020] UKSC 32, [2020] 3 WLR 327.
3) R v Copeland (Appellant) [2020] UKSC 8, [2020] 2 WLR 681.
4) Darnley (Appellant) v Croydon Health Services NHS Trust (Respondent) [2018] UKSC 50, [2019] AC 831.
General reading on legal writing/Writing a case-note essay:
Steve Foster, Legal Writing Skills (5th ed, Pearson, 2019), Chapter 9: 331-338.
Emily Finch and Stefan Fafinski, Legal Skills (7th ed, Oxford University Press, 2019), Chapters 11, 12 and 14.
James Holland and Julian Webb, Learning Legal Rules (10th ed, Oxford University Press, 2019), Chapter 7: How Precedent Operates: Ratio Decidendi and Obiter Dictum
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Guidance on writing a case-note essay
What is a case note?
As noted by Foster, ‘the case-note assessment tests your ability to understand cases, what was actually decided and why’. It also tests your understanding of the impact of the case in a given legal area. How well you analyse the decision in the context of academic opinion and any fundamental legal principles (such as the rule of law, justice, human rights and international law) is key to achieving a good mark.
PROPOSED STRUCTURE/TEMPLATE FOR WRITING A CASE-NOTE
For your case-note essay, we suggest you use the following structure:
• Introduction
• Facts
• Legal Issue/s, reasoning and judgment/s
• Impact/critical discussion
• Conclusion
Introduction
Your introduction should provide a concise introduction to the case being discussed.
• What is the main legal issue?
• What court heard the case?
• You might also like to briefly mention the broader legal/social/political context.
Make your introduction original and interesting, but relevant! Avoid being overly dramatic or journalistic!
Facts
• Identify and summarise the material (the important!) facts.
• Keep this section short and to the point. Avoid getting lost in the material facts of the case. (The reader is more concerned with the legal issues, judgments and impact.)
• If you are dealing with an appeal case, you may wish to summarise the procedural history, but you can also consider this under another section. (Avoid repetition.)
Issues and Judgment/s
• Set out the main LEGAL issue/s (or questions of law) that were discussed in the case.
• This may be presented as a question
• Remember there is a big difference between questions of law and questions of fact.
Judgment/s
• Explain the decision of the court but MOST IMPORTANTLY how the judges reached their decision, analysing the use of precedent, statute or policy considerations. You will need to identify the reasoning for the decision.
• Explain in sufficient depth and detail the reasons why and how the majority reached their decision. This will require a careful reading of the judgments (provide page/para. numbers) and thoughtful analysis.
• Were there any dissenting judgments or difference of opinions amongst the judges?
In this section you can also draw on secondary sources and commentary to enrich your analysis and discussion.
Impact/Critical discussion
• This is your chance to evaluate the judgment and to consider the legal and social impact it has had/could have.
• Does the decision leave unanswered questions or create vagueness?
• Would adopting a different perspective (e.g. feminist, critical theory, intersectional) have led to a better decision? We want to see critical engagement.
• Have there been any important subsequent developments? (Legislation, policy and/or later cases).
• This is section is a good place to show that you have undertaken independent research and engaged with critical reading BUT a word of caution – do think about what sources you are using and how you present your critical discussion and analysis. Avoid ‘I think that….’
• Use peer reviewed sources such as journal articles.
Conclusion
• End your case-note essay with a brief conclusion, bringing together your discussion and analysis.
Some more general guidance on writing a case-note
Structure
As with any piece of written academic work, structure is crucial:
• The case-note needs to be well structured and organised so that your discussion and analysis flows.
• Each section of your case-note (facts, issues etc.) needs to be well proportioned and balanced. You may find it useful to use the sub-headings suggested in order to structure your work.
• Use paragraphs. As a general guide – new topic = new paragraph
Punctuation, grammar and readability:
• Please proof-read your work carefully.
• Pay attention to punctuation and grammar.
• Ensure that your work is well presented.
REFERENCING, TABLE OF AUTHORITIES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY
• SEMINAR 6 (WEEK 9) AND SEMINAR 7 (WEEK 10) WILL FOCUS ON USING OSCOLA REFERENCING – MAKE SURE YOU ATTEND THOSE SEMINARS!
• Your case-note essay MUST be referenced! You are unlikely to receive a pass grade if the case-note essay is not referenced. You will also lose marks for poor referencing.
• Adhere to the OSCOLA referencing guidelines. OSCOLA uses footnotes.
• The footnote should be inserted at the end of the reference to the authority or at the end of the sentence which needs to be referenced. i.e.
• The footnote mark should be inserted after any punctuation e.g. after the full stop.
• As well as footnotes, the case-note essay must include a table of primary sources (authorities) and a bibliography. The bibliography must contain all secondary sources consulted.
PRESENTATION
1. All assessed coursework must be word-processed using Word for Windows or Rich Text Format.
2. The font should be Times New Roman, Arial or Calibri (an appropriate and professional font style!) and the font size should be 11 or 12.
3. Line spacing should be 1.5 or double spacing.
*WORD COUNT:
• The word count for the case-note essay is 1500 (without references). This 1500 limit does not include the table of primary sources and bibliography.
(ii) Failure to observe limits of length
The maximum length for each assessment is publicised to students. The limits as stated include quotations in the text, but do not include the bibliography, footnotes/endnotes, appendices, abstracts, maps, illustrations, transcriptions of linguistic data, or tabulations of numerical or linguistic data and their captions. Any excess in length should not confer an advantage over other students who have adhered to the guidance. Students are requested to state the word count on submission. Where a student has marginally (within 10%) exceeded the word length the Marker should penalise the work where the student would gain an unfair advantage by exceeding the word limit. In excessive cases (>10%) the Marker need only consider work up to the designated word count, and discount any excessive word length beyond that to ensure equity across the cohort. Where an assessment is submitted and falls significantly short (>10%) of the word length, the Marker must consider in assigning a mark, if the argument has been sufficiently developed and is sufficiently supported and not assign the full marks allocation where this is not the case.

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