Case law research involves the process of studying and analyzing legal cases and court decisions related to a specific legal issue or topic. This research can be conducted by lawyers, law students, scholars, or anyone else seeking to understand how courts have interpreted and applied the law in specific cases.
The process of case law research typically involves the following steps:
- Identifying the relevant legal issue or topic: The researcher first identifies the specific legal issue or topic they want to research, such as a particular statute or legal doctrine.
- Conducting a search for relevant cases: The researcher then searches legal databases, such as LexisNexis or Westlaw, to find relevant cases that have addressed the legal issue or topic.
- Reviewing and analyzing the cases: The researcher reads and analyzes the cases to understand how courts have interpreted and applied the law in similar situations. This analysis may involve identifying the key legal arguments, reasoning, and outcomes of each case.
- Synthesizing the research: Finally, the researcher synthesizes their research findings to develop a deeper understanding of the legal issue or topic. This may involve identifying patterns or trends in how courts have interpreted and applied the law, as well as identifying any areas of disagreement or uncertainty in the law.
Case law research is an important tool for understanding how the law is applied in specific situations and can be used to inform legal arguments, guide decision-making, and shape legal policy.