We have put together the parts of a story in the following hypothetical example.

The fictional facts concern a Member of Parliament who, in the 1990s, had lost her seat to an opponent with dual citizenship. Like many Constitutions, the Laptopian Constitution disqualified from Parliament anyone who 'is under an acknowledgment of allegiance to a foreign power'.


The Petitioner's lawyer wrote …

Our commentary

[This case is about returning to the Laptopian people their constitutional rights.] [1]

[1] The lawyer states her theme upfront. The lawyer would have found this theme naturally from the way she structured her plot, below.

[When the voters in the Laptopian District of Ryde took part in last week's federal election, the Constitution guaranteed them that no-one with split loyalties, or appearing to have split loyalties, would represent the Laptopian people. The voters in Ryde expected and deserved their representative to owe their undivided loyalty to Laptopia. And for the past 12 years, the voters have had in Petitioner Julie Streep a Member who has served her constituents with undivided loyalty—a Laptopian citizen from birth, she has lived and worked here all her life, and has never taken foreign citizenship.] [2]

[2] The lawyer establishes the 'steady state' or 'status quo'. She broadens the story's point-of-view from just the Petitioner to the people of Laptopia. She also provides facts about the Petitioner's character—her long service and loyalty.

[But in last week's election when Mrs Streep lost to the only other candidate, Respondent Jared Grieves, the voters lost their constitutional right. Mr Grieves became a Desktopian citizen in 1989 … He could have renounced his Desktopian citizenship before standing in last week's election but chose not to do so. As a result, he has accepted a duty of loyalty to Desktopia. And if the court lets him, Mr Grieves will bring that loyalty inside the Laptopian Parliament.] [3]

[3] Here, the lawyer introduces the conflict or 'chaos'—the Laptopian people have lost their constitutional right.

[… Of the two candidates for Ryde, only Mrs Streep owes her undivided loyalty to Laptopia. Of the two candidates, the Constitution allows only Mrs Streep to be the Member for Ryde. The court ought to replace Mr Grieves with Mrs Streep or order a fresh election.] [4]

[4] Now the lawyer proposes the resolution, which seems natural and inevitable: return to the anterior steady state by replacing the Respondent with the Petitioner or give the voters a fresh choice of qualified candidates.

[These submissions follow an interpretation of the Laptopian Constitution and electoral laws that rest on this court's own decisions, which in turn rely on the constitutional text and statutory text, intent, and policy. The Petitioner will establish these contentions as follows …] [5]

[5] Having cued the judge to want to find in the Petitioner's favor, the lawyer now introduces the legal arguments that will permit, even require, the judge to find for the Petitioner. The lawyer presents a 'cable-like' argument, combining text, intent, policy, and precedent (see the next step, Step 9).

Table 65: Example of a legal 'story'

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