List words that describe the following legal concepts.121

brainstorm BRAINSTORM

List words that describe …

(a) the type of law involved

i. civil or criminal?

ii. public or private?

iii. substantive or procedural?

(b) the area of law involved

(c) possible causes of action

(d) possible defenses

(e) the appropriate relief

(f) jurisdiction

Table 22: Common legal concepts

Unless you know a lot of the law, you may find it much harder to generate words that describe the possible legal concepts your problem raises. So we have listed in the following sections some clues to look for when identifying legal concepts.

But even with these clues, you may still have trouble identifying legal concepts until you get fairly well into your research. Do not worry if you cannot immediately identify legal concepts. Skip to finding cases and other sources that discuss similar key facts you identified above and then return to listing possible legal concepts.

121 For a useful checklist for brainstorming legal issues, see Kate Lahey, 'Ace of Spades: Checklist for Brainstorming About a Legal Issue' (1997) 12(1) Second Draft: Bulletin of the Legal Writing Institute 6. Another important legal question concerns who the plaintiffs and defendants are. Hopefully, you will identify the appropriate plaintiff and defendant once you have identified the rights allegedly breached, who has a good defense, who can provide the right relief, and whether the court has jurisdiction over them. See further, Step 7.

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