Step 6.3 Divide the law into its elements and ingredients

In this Step, you will identify the elements of the cause of action. 'Elements' comprise the necessary and sufficient conditions for a cause of action.201 For example, if a tort has 5 elements, then to maintain the cause of action you must prove all 5 elements.202 If you lack any one element, you cannot maintain the action.

Each element might contain several parts, called 'ingredients', which you must prove for each element. In turn, 'ingredients' might contain several more parts, which you must prove for each ingredient (called 'sub-ingredients'). The process may continue for several more levels.

First, list precisely the elements you must prove for the causes of action you identified.203 Second, divide these elements into their ingredients and sub-ingredients; continue until you cannot reasonably divide the parts further.204 Link the elements visually by using an argument map. Some people draw circles on large sheets or paper or a whiteboard and use different colors and shapes for different levels of information.205 You can also use software such as Rationale, bCisive, Inspiration, and MindManager. See the sample diagram below.

Figure7

201 HFM Crombag et al, 'On Solving Legal Problems' (1975) 27 Journal of Legal Education168, 188.

202 Christopher S Enright, Studying Law (3rd ed, 1989) 469.

203 Graeme Blank, 'Case Analysis—The "Circles Method"', paper presented at the Qld Bar Association Ethics and Advocacy Conference, Noosa, Queensland, Australia, 5–6 March 2005 (copy on file with author); Hugh Selby and Graeme Blank, Winning Advocacy: Preparation, Questions, Argument (2nd ed, 2004) 27.

204 Christopher S Enright, Studying Law (3rd ed, 1989) 471; Graeme Blank, 'Case Analysis—The "Circles Method"', paper presented at the Qld Bar Association Ethics and Advocacy Conference, Noosa, Queensland, Australia, 5–6 March 2005 (copy on file with author); Hugh Selby and Graeme Blank, Winning Advocacy: Preparation, Questions, Argument (2nd ed, 2004) 27.

205 Graeme Blank, 'Case Analysis—The "Circles Method"', paper presented at the Qld Bar Association Ethics and Advocacy Conference, Noosa, Queensland, Australia, 5–6 March 2005 (copy on file with author); Hugh Selby and Graeme Blank, Winning Advocacy: Preparation, Questions, Argument (2nd ed, 2004) 27.

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