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Sudoku for Beginners: How to Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills

Are you a beginner when it comes to solving Sudoku puzzles? Do you find yourself frustrated and unsure of where to start? Fear not, as we have compiled a comprehensive guide on how to improve your problem-solving skills through Sudoku.

Understanding the Basics of Sudoku

Before we dive into the strategies and techniques, let’s first understand the basics of Sudoku. A Sudoku puzzle is a 9×9 grid that is divided into nine smaller 3×3 grids. The objective is to fill in each row, column, and smaller grid with numbers 1-9 without repeating any numbers.

Starting Strategies for Beginners

As a beginner, it can be overwhelming to look at an empty Sudoku grid. But don’t worry. There are simple starting strategies that can help you get started. First, look for any rows or columns that only have one missing number. Fill in that number and move on to the next row or column with only one missing number. Another strategy is looking for any smaller grids with only one missing number and filling in that number.

Advanced Strategies for Beginner/Intermediate Level

Once you’ve mastered the starting strategies, it’s time to move on to more advanced techniques. One technique is called “pencil marking.” This involves writing down all possible numbers in each empty square before making any moves. Then use logic and elimination techniques to cross off impossible numbers until you are left with the correct answer.

Another advanced technique is “hidden pairs.” Look for two squares within a row or column that only have two possible numbers left. If those two possible numbers exist in both squares, then those two squares must contain those specific numbers.

Benefits of Solving Sudoku Puzzles

Not only is solving Sudoku puzzles fun and challenging, but it also has many benefits for your brain health. It helps improve your problem-solving skills, enhances memory and concentration, and reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

In conclusion, Sudoku is a great way to improve your problem-solving skills while also providing entertainment. With these starting and advanced strategies, you’ll be able to solve even the toughest Sudoku puzzles. So grab a pencil and paper and start sharpening those brain muscles.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


irac legal problem solving

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Law: Legal problem solving (IRAC)

Legal problem solving is a common format of assessments in law. It involves reading a fact scenario (‘the problem’) and explaining the possible legal outcomes of the issues in the fact scenario. Legal problem solving is an essential skill for the study and practice of law. To do this, you’ll need to:

  • identify the legal issues in the fact scenario i.e. what laws may have been breached, who is potentially liable and for what offence
  • identify and explain the law/rules that apply to those legal issues you’ve identified, including case law and/or legislation
  • apply the law to the facts in the scenario
  • provide a conclusion on each legal issue.

You will do legal problem solving in a range of assessments including problem questions for in-semester assessments, legal memos and often in final assessments. The format and audience will differ slightly between assessments, so check the instructions carefully.

What is IRAC?

There are a number of legal problem solving models, with the most popular being:

  • IRAC (Issue, Rule, Application, Conclusion) and
  • MIRAT (Material facts, Issue, Rule/Resources, Arguments, Tentative conclusion).

Read more about MIRAT in this article Meet MIRAT: Legal Reasoning Fragmented into Learnable chunks

We will focus on the IRAC model in this resource, but note that there can be flexibility in the use of the models.

The IRAC methodology is useful to help you organise your legal analysis so that the reader can follow your argument. It is particularly helpful in writing answers to legal problem questions and legal memos.

The first step, before you begin the IRAC process, is to determine the material facts. This is in fact the first step of the MIRAT model.

  • Before you state the legal issues, it is important to identify the facts you have been provided with, determining which ones are relevant, which are clearly not relevant, and which ones may become relevant once the rules are identified.
  • It is from the facts that the issues can be identified.
  • The facts and issues lead to the identification of the most appropriate rules, and the rules then determine the most useful way of construing the facts.

Do not write a long summary of the facts. Mention important facts when applying the law, but simply rephrasing the fact scenario at the start of your answer will not demonstrate your understanding.

Let's take the example of Matthew, a 50-year old independent contractor from Victoria who has been engaged for some work by X Pty Ltd (a company). Matthew attends a number of staff meetings as well as a training course provided by the company. Do the terms of the contract referring to an 'employee' apply to him even as a contractor?

Identify the facts

Relevant facts here are:

  • Matthew is an independent contractor.
  • He has an employment contract with company X Pty Ltd.
  • He has attended some company staff meetings and a training course.
  • The jurisdiction of Victoria may also be relevant.
  • It is unlikely that Matthew's age would be a relevant fact.

Navigating this resource

You can navigate the pages in this resource by either clicking on the page links here or by clicking the navigation buttons below.

Issue: Identify and state the issues

Rule: identify and state the rules, apply: apply the rules to the problem.

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Legal problem solving: IRAC

  • Application
  • Example 1 (Contract)
  • Example 2 (Negligence)
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  • Back to Law research and writing guide

Advice on writing and study skills is provided by the Student Academic Success division; if you need further advice you can book a consultation with a Language and Learning Adviser .

What is IRAC?

Legal problem solving is an essential skill for the study and practice of law. There are a number of legal problem solving models, with the most popular being  IRAC  (Issue, Rule, Application, Conclusion) and   MIRAT (Material facts, Issue, Rule/Resources, Arguments, Tentative conclusion).

Read more about MIRAT in this article  Meet MIRAT: Legal Reasoning Fragmented into Learnable chunks

We will focus on the IRAC model in this guide, but note that there can be flexibility in the use of the models.

The IRAC methodology is useful to help you organise your legal analysis so that the reader can follow your argument. It is particularly helpful in writing exam answers and legal memos . 

The MIRAT model starts with Material facts. This is an essential first step in the process and is a precursor to following the IRAC model.

  • Before you state the legal issues, it is important to identify the facts you have been provided with, determining which ones are relevant, which are clearly not relevant, and which ones may become relevant once the rules are identified.
  • It is from the facts that the issues can be identified.
  • The facts and issues lead to the identification of the most appropriate rules, and the rules then determine the most useful way of construing the facts. 

Let's take the example of Matthew, a 50-year old independent contractor from Victoria who has been engaged for some work by X Pty Ltd (a company). Matthew attends a number of staff meetings as well as a training course provided by the company. Do the terms of the contract referring to an 'employee' apply to him even as a contractor? 

Relevant facts here are:

  • Matthew is an independent contractor.
  • He has an employment contract with company X Pty Ltd.
  • He has attended some company staff meetings and a training course.
  • The jurisdiction of Victoria may also be relevant.
  • It is unlikely that Matthew's age would be a relevant fact.
  • Think about questions that involve: Who, What, How, Where, and When.
  • Is there any missing information?
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  • Answering a legal problem - IRAC

Proper planning is vital to successfully answering a legal problem. Below are some hints and tools using a problem from Company Law.  When answering a legal problem, it is useful to apply the IRAC structure so that you address all areas required.

  • IRAC structure

The IRAC method has four steps:

  • Identify the issue
  • Relevant law - Here you need to explain the law not just state it. This could be sections/s of the Corporations Act or case law
  • Application to the facts - the law is applied to the facts of the problem

Use the following IRAC structure as a guide to answer case study questions.

The IRAC method with four steps

  • Issue: Define the legal relevant issue.
  • Relevant law: Identify legal principles from cases and statutes. Explain the law, don't just state it.
  • Apply to the facts: Develop legal arguments by applying the law to the facts.
  • Conclusion: Arrive at a considered conclusion.

Note: Students gain the most marks by explaining the relevant law and then applying it to the facts.

Example question and answer

Bingo Ltd is a manufacturer of electrical goods. It entered into a contract with Melvin Ltd, a large discount retailer. Under this contract, Bingo Ltd was to supply its goods exclusively to Melvin Ltd. The directors of Melvin Ltd subsequently discover that a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bingo Ltd is selling identical electrical goods to competitors at cheaper prices. It appears that the subsidiary was incorporated to enable Bingo Ltd to avoid the effects of the contract with Melvin Ltd. Advise the directors.

(This a five-mark question)

Please note: This is a simple low mark answer (5 marks) to illustrate the use of IRAC only. Many Company Law problems will involve multiple issues. In these scenarios each issue would need to be addressed. For example: The first issue is... The second issue is whether...

1. Read the following question.

2. Now read the following text and try to identify the IRAC structure.  Check your understanding by clicking on the buttons to reveal the IRAC structure.

Read the following question, then identify which part of the IRAC structure best fits each text excerpt by selecting from the drop down menu.

  • Writing case notes
  • Writing a legal memo

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Learning to Work With IRAC

What is IRAC?

IRAC stands for the “Issue, Rule, Application, Conclusion” structure of legal analysis. An effective essay follows some form of the IRAC structure where it is organized around an “issue”, a “rule”, an “application”, and a “conclusion” for each and every issue and sub-issue identified as a legal problem.

While using IRAC doesn’t guarantee an “A” from the professor, it’s extremely useful in organizing an answer. And even though it’s not the only way to structure an answer, it helps to make sure that all the bases are covered. So until you achieve the level of mental and written fluency where you can weave together rule and fact in a seamless web and transition between thoughts without loss of either the substance or your reader, I strongly recommend that you rely on some form of IRAC to keep focused. While IRAC will never cover for a lack of knowledge nor substitute for a lack of analysis, you can use it as tool for organizing your thinking and your writing. Think of it as a supporting scaffold (or training wheels) to ensure that the necessary steps are followed. Once the process becomes instinctive, then the props can be discarded and you can weave together rule and fact. But until then, you have something you can rely on to guide you through the process.

How to IRAC

  • Articulate the issue by formulating the legal question presented by the facts. To find the issue, ask yourself: “what is in controversy in these facts.” (Of course you need to know the law to find a legal question in the facts.)
  • Use the “whether, when” structure to help you isolate and write an issue statement.

Some professors might not want to see this language – “the issue is whether.” You achieve the same result with other words – “Did” or “Can”, for example. Don’t get fixated on language. Follow your individual professor’s instruction and realize that either way, you achieve the same result: identification of the legal problem.

But you can always use the following language to guide your thought process.

Begin with,

“The issue is whether,”

identify and state the legal conclusion you want the court to reach,

Don committed a battery , (or an offer was made , or the court can assert personal jurisdiction )

then connect to the “relevant” facts ( the relevant facts being those facts which will determine the outcome),

when he pushed Pam even though he knew she was in no danger of being hit by the bicyclist (or when he said , “would you buy my watch for $500 in cash on next Tuesday?” or when the defendant conducted business in the forum state, had an office and a full-time staff, and paid state taxes.)

  • definitions
  • exceptions to the general rule
  • limitations to the rule
  • moving from the general to the specific
  • defining each legal term of art

“Because” is the single most important word to use when writing the analysis. Using the word “because” forces you to make the connection between rule and fact. You’ll find that you can also make use of the words “as” and “since” — they serve the same function as “because.”

Examples of how “because” works to change recitation to application:

What not to write: In this case, while Pete the police officer was giving Dan a sobriety test, he noticed that Dan fit the description of an eyewitness to the robbery, giving the police officer probable cause to arrest Dan.

What you should write: In this case, Pete the police officer realized that Dan fit the description of the suspect, providing probable cause for arrest, because Dan was extremely tall at 6'4", was wearing a green and tan sweater with purple patches and pointy-toed alligator cowboy boots, fitting the description provided by the eyewitness to the robbery.

What not to write: ABC Inc. engaged Dr. Jones to develop a drug that reduced hair loss. Dr. Jones worked in his own laboratory, hired and fired his own assistants and set their working hours as well as his own. He meets with the President of ABC every Friday morning to discuss progress on the project and at this time, Dr. Jones submits his timesheet for payment. The President pays Dr. Jones weekly.

What you should write: Here, Dr. Jones can be considered an independent consultant for ABC Inc. because he completes all the research and development work in his own laboratory, in a separate facility from that of ABC, where he has direct control over the employees because he hired his own assistants, setting their work hours. He also exercises direct control over his own work because he sets his own work hours and only meets with ABC once a week. Further, since he only meets with the President of ABC on a weekly basis to discuss progress on development of the hair loss product, the President does not supervise Dr. Jones on a daily basis as to the work which goes on in the laboratory.

  • Conclusion: Is something not clear to you? If the court’s reasoning seems off, question it. If you see a conflict or a result that doesn’t comport with the reasoning, note it. It is likely to show up in class discussion. State your conclusion with respect to each issue. There is no right or wrong answer. There is only logical analysis based on the rule and the facts which lead to a reasonable conclusion.

Note: Repeat the process for each issue you identify — each issue forms the basis for a separate IRAC analysis.

IRAC Method


What is the IRAC Method?


The IRAC method in law is a great way to answer problem-style law questions.  What does IRAC stand for? It stands for four components: Issue, Rule, Analysis and Conclusion.   By using this IRAC method in law, you can break down any scenario into these components which will help make your legal analysis and answers more organized than if they were not structured like that!


The IRAC method in law is the heart of legal analysis. It allows you to think about any problem as an equation with two sides - one side representing your observance or breach of contract and another representing their respective remedies (such as damages).

The beauty in this system lies not only within its simplicity but also because it forces lawyers into thinking critically by identifying areas where they may have overlooked something important before moving on too quickly! If you want learn how IRAC works then keep reading.


IRAC is an acronym that stands for “initials of genre-relevant aspects.” Though many scholars reference IRAC in legal writing literature, there is no clear record as to its genesis and underlying principles.

The IRAC Method was a military training exercise that was created to teach new recruits how they could use their ability in problem solving when on battlefields. This idea came about during World War II where there were many problems with raw soldiers being drafted into combat without any form of instruction for what would happen next - this led them having little sense towards tactics which ultimately resulted failure at times even though some did surprisingly well given these circumstances.

IRAC helped kick start a revolution in law school course design. The early 1960s saw only one bar-review course available for students at Michigan's Wayne State University, taught by Professor Melvyn Nord whose lectures covered every topic but did not spend much time on essay writing because that was how things were done then--and still are!

When Professor Josephson started teaching legal research and writing in 1969, the course had two major differences from other bar-review courses: Professors who were seasoned law professors did all of their lectures and he emphasized relying on IRAC analysis for assessment and legal writing.

Josephson's Bar Review Centre became dominant in Michigan within a few years, and by 1973 they were enrolling 14k students across America. By 1980 Josephson had moved his company to Los Angeles where he took on the growing California bar-review market that was worth an estimated $4 million annually at its peak. IRAC has been used to help win World War II, make Mike Josephson a multi-millionaire and it can work for you.


How to find the issue in a law assignment.

Answering problem-based questions can be difficult, as they often rely on knowledge of the law rather than direct requirements. In these cases, it is essential to identify the core issue in order to correctly answer the question. This can be done by asking relevant legal rules and making sense of the scenario presented. With this approach, you will be able to pinpoint the key information needed to answer the question correctly.

When confronted with a legal issue, it is essential to consider the precise question you must answer in order to offer counsel to the parties concerned. This question will ultimately determine the outcome of the case.

For instance, if you are unsure about whether a contract is binding, you will need to consider whether there was a correct offer and an acceptance mirroring that offer. If not, then the contract may not be enforceable under our law. By thinking about the specific issue at hand, you can begin to research the relevant law and determine how it applies to the situation.


Issue: when is a contract binding  what is an offer  what is acceptance is a contract binding when there was no offer.

Issue spotting is a critically important skill for law students. In order to provide sound legal advice, it is necessary to identify all of the relevant issues in a problem scenario. Unfortunately, many students have difficulty spotting issues, which can lead to them providing inaccurate or incomplete advice. Issue spotting can be tricky, but there are a few tips that can help.

First, it is important to use the IRAC method when analyzing a problem. This will ensure that you consider all of the relevant legal issues. Second, familiarize yourself with the types of issues that commonly arise in different areas of law. If you know what to look for, you will be more likely to spot an issue when it arises. Finally, bear in mind that the legal topic you are tackling can include many legal issues. In fact, usually there are around 3 to 5 legal issues in a standard problem scenario.

It is necessary for you to identify every single legal issue and provide a separate rule and analysis for each of them to reach the final advice that you will give to the persons mentioned in the scenario. By following this method, you can improve your issue spotting skills and become a better lawyer.


In order to determine which specific law is applicable to the legal issue at hand, one must engage in a process of Rule identification. Rule identification involves some digging through study materials to find the right cases and/or statute sections which will help answer the legal question asked. The rule should be stated as a general principle, and not as a conclusion to the scenario being analyzed.

The Rule Identification step is a critical part of the IRAC method, as it allows us to move on to applying the law to the facts of our particular situation. Without correctly identifying the applicable rule, we run the risk of misapplying the law and coming to an incorrect conclusion. As a result, before continuing with the analysis, care must be made to make sure the right rule is found. After applying the rule, you may go to IRAC's third stage, analysis.


Rule identification is important for a law student or professional for many reasons. It allows you to determine which legal rules are relevant to your problem scenario and to apply the rules correctly to find the right conclusion. Rule identification also demonstrates to the examiner that you understand how to make a distinction between the legal issue and the legal rule applicable to the scenario. This is a very important skill for any law student or professional.

You can use our law books to help you identify the relevant legal rules. Our law books give you the information you need while focusing and breaking down the information using IRAC. All of the information provided in our subject specific text books is divided into the IRAC information you will need.


Analysis is the longest and most important section of an IRAC answer. Here, you will apply the rule to the specific facts in the problem scenario. You will need to rely on the facts to describe how the rule you are applying can result in a conclusion. It is essential that you talk about both sides of the case.

Analysis requires a great deal of critical thinking and could be compared to solving a puzzle. All of the pieces must fit together in order for the picture to be complete. Analysis is where you will demonstrate your understanding of the law and how it applies to the given facts. To be successful, you must use our law books which provide numerous examples and explanations to help with your analysis.

Analysis is key in IRAC writing - without it, you will not be able to properly apply the legal rule to the facts in the problem scenario and reach a conclusion. Our law books can help you with analysis, by breaking down the rule into its component parts and explaining how it applies to the facts of your problem scenario.

Once you have carried out your analysis, you should be able to reach a well-reasoned conclusion that is backed up by the rule and the facts. If you find that your conclusion is not supported by your analysis, then this means that you have not really used IRAC correctly and will need to go back and revise your work. Analysis is therefore essential in ensuring that you are using IRAC correctly and producing a well-reasoned piece of legal writing.

When analyzing the legal rules applicable to the scenario, you will likely have to call on the facts of specific cases which you identified. The best way to use those cases is to compare and contrast the facts in those cases with the facts in the problem scenario. Then, you should look at the decision in the case and figure out whether the court would be likely to make the same decision if they were faced with ruling on the facts included in the scenario.

The simple rule here is that if the facts of the scenario are similar enough to the facts of the case, then the judges would be likely to follow the decision in the case. However, it is important to remember that every case is unique and that courts may sometimes deviate from previous decisions. As such, it is always important to carefully analyze all of the facts and arguments before coming to a conclusion.

Another important note is your course conveyers are likely to test you on an area that is controversial so the analysis is also expecting you to clarify what the law says.


The final step of using the IRAC method is writing a conclusion that explains the most probable outcome, which you will be able to identify after you have applied the rule to the issue and analyzed it. State the outcome of your analysis in a clear and concise manner.

For instance, "The contract between plaintiff and defendant is non-existent" is a good example of a very well-formulated conclusion. Do not forget that the outcome cannot be vague; it has to be transparent and clear. Use our law books which help you with a conclusion. The different sections will give you an excellent idea of how to formulate your own conclusion based on your specific legal problem.

Conclusion-writing is a skill that takes time and practice to perfect, but by using the resources available to you; you can write great conclusions for your IRACs. Using IRAC you should produce  the case study conclusion. The scenario does not provide enough information for a definite conclusion to be reached. It is deigned to inspire a debate. Never sit on the fence. Put yourself in the Judged position to predict what the outcome of a judgement would be.  

The application of the law in this case would depend on X, Y and Z. Therefore, you can use words such as “is more likely than not” when discussing the legal rules and applying them to the legal issues. Make sure to discuss those X, Y and Z factors when analyzing the legal rules and applying them to the legal issues. Our Q&A Series law books can help you reach a conclusion by providing information on the law and how it applies to different scenarios.

The scenario does not provide enough information for a definite conclusion to be reached; with more information about X, Y and Z we can give more accurate advice.

IRAC Method


If you want to see a worked example of the IRAC Method, we have worked through a past Contract Law  exam question and a past Land Law problem question, to demonstrate how it works.


The IRAC method is a very popular method of legal reasoning, but it has its fair share of opponents. The fundamental justification offered by IRAC's proponents is that it aids in organizing legal analysis by simplifying legal reasoning to the application of a formula. IRAC may be a highly helpful technique since a well-organized legal analysis is simpler to understand and has fewer reasoning mistakes.

However, some people argue that IRAC can lead to oversimplification and that it encourages people to focus on the rules rather than the underlying principles of law. Ultimately, whether or not IRAC is a helpful tool depends on the individual user. Some people find it extremely useful, while others prefer to use other methods of legal reasoning.

It is sometimes argued that the IRAC technique encourages overwriting and oversimplifies the complexity of sound legal analysis. According to this perspective, a solid legal analysis should consist of a serious, well-researched essay that is presented in an approachable style. An open format is necessary to allow legal reasons to focus on effectively presenting their argument rather than strictly following a prescribed structure, which lessens this emphasis.  When writing law essays I have devised the Fact Law Sandwich. This method allows you you think about the structure and the presentation of advice easily . 

IRAC may be helpful when you have a short amount of time and need to come up with a clear and simple solution to an issue, but it's crucial to keep in mind that it's only one method of approaching legal analysis. There are many different ways to format your law notes, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. It is up to the individual lawyer to decide which method works best for them.

IRAC is an analytical method used to dissect legal issues. IRAC stands for Issue, Rule, Analysis, and Conclusion. The IRAC method provides a framework for organizing your thoughts and Ideas when writing about a legal issue.

The issue is the legal question that is being asked. The Rule is the law that applies to the Issue. The Analysis is where you apply the rule to the facts of the case. The Conclusion is your answer to the Issue based on your Analysis. The application/analysis component of an IRAC method  is the most significant since it creates the solution to the problem at hand. In this section, you must think like a lawyer and argue both sides of the issue before coming to a decision. This section can be difficult if you are not familiar with legal concepts and reasoning.

However, there are many resources available to help you understand and apply the law. There are many law books available that can be helpful, especially if you are just starting to learn about law. In addition, there are books on IRAC and other legal reasoning methods that can provide guidance on how to approach legal issues. With some practice, you will be able to use IRAC to analyze legal issues and reach sound conclusions effectively.

The IRAC method is a great way to break down complex legal problems into manageable steps. By breaking the problem down into four logical stages, students can more easily follow the reasoning and reach a conclusion. The IRAC method is used in our law books and other books on law, making it a great tool for beginners. However, it is also useful for more experienced lawyers who need to refresh their skills. By using the IRAC method, lawyers can be sure that they have covered all the relevant issues and arrived at a sound conclusion.


Law books can be very dry and boring, making them difficult to get through for anyone who is not particularly interested in the subject. However, the Core Series law books take a different approach, starting with a general principle before moving on to more specific information. This makes them much easier to understand for anyone who is new to the subject.

In addition, the books for law students are very well-organized, so you can quickly find the information you need. Law Notes providers are also a great resource for beginners, as they provide clear and concise explanations of the law. However, what sets the Core Series books apart from other law textbooks is that they are specifically designed to be used by students who are studying law courses. As a result, they are an essential resource for anyone who is planning on taking any law course exam.

The books for law students provide authority for the principle of a case will be a full citation. The books then present the facts of each of the cases. This is important for two reasons firstly, to familiarize the student with the case. The court has made its decision in this context. Second similar facts will be used to test your knowledge. Next, the books provide the Ratio decidendi, with this is the decision that decided the case. This is what law lecturers and professors want to see in your law answers, not just the facts. Lastly, the books talk to you about applying the case and explain how the case should be applied.


The Core text series is complemented by our Law Books Q&A Series . Once students have mastered the broad ideas and the legislation, our materials instruct them on how to arrange their responses. It presents students with questions and answers using the IRAC Method by encouraging them to use the basic concept, the ratio decidendi of each case, and demonstrating how to apply each case.

The majority of the questions addressed in these publications are regularly utilized by colleges for assigning tasks, coursework, and assessment questions. Our law textbooks are frequently referred to and recommended by professors as excellent resources for answering examination questions and are available in many university and college libraries. Our aim has always been to make available quality material at affordable prices, and we hope that these books will be found useful by students all over the world.

Our Q&A Series is a collection of instruction manuals that are designed to support you as you study and aid in test success. Each book in the Q&A Series is centred on a particular law degree curriculum. Each volume in the Q&A Series is a high-quality compilation of written test questions, together with their concise and understandable solutions. With features like case essays and issue question responses, we go down to the point and demonstrate what you need to know.

By showing you how to apply what you have learned to detailed problem-solving and essay-writing Question and Answer Series, we go even further. For each of the aforementioned fundamental law degree courses, we provide Q&A books. See the list below for the particular topics covered in each Q&A book. Alternately, see how they function by examining the examples.

Our Law Books focus on explaining the law in simple terms, while our Q&A Book focuses on giving you questions that mirror those asked in law school exams with full explanatory answers. Our Question and Answer Series is designed to give you the tools needed to confidently tackle any question that may come up in your exams. Get ahead of the competition by adding our law books to your arsenal today!

IRAC Framework



  • Aug 27, 2014

Using IRAC to Answer Problem Solving Questions

Rabbit coming out of a black top hat

IRAC stands for Issue-Rule-Application-Conclusion, and like a soapbox salesman with a miracle cure, IRAC boasts a very appealing claim: to provide a step-by-step framework to solving legal problems.

It works like this: you have an issue. Perhaps a border dispute involving lemon tree branches felling their fruit in a disgruntled neighbour’s yard. Or perhaps a mere misunderstanding over the launch of a ‘communications satellite’ from a country equipped with nuclear weapons. Whatever your issue, certain rules – certain laws – will apply. For the lemon tree neighbour: law of trespass or nuisance. Add a little negligence for good measure. Perhaps the offending tree might even trigger some obscure part of Real Property Law, like Old System Title, the bane of property lawyers everywhere.

Allow me to take a moment just to repeat that, Issue-Rule-Application-Conclusion. Thanks, I needed that.

For the misunderstood half-country Communist dictatorship, its foray into spreading its purported communications mini-industry might contravene a UN Security Council Resolution or two, as well as a whole host of other related international law instruments. This is not unusual. Multiple areas of law are often triggered within one issue. Multiple forms of legal recourse may also be available. With such a range of laws to possibly cover, the neat IRAC model starts to look rather wishful.

It’s a well-known problem without any easy solution. Or rather, the solution is obvious, but tedious. It involves hard work and few shortcuts. Solving a legal problem – for an assessment, in an exam, for a client – is not about fitting the issues into a legal box.

Drafting solutions to legal problems is determined by your individual writing style and approach.

Our Suggested Structure

Consider the above tree branch neighbour’s dispute. Perhaps the tree branch from Careless Neighbour fell in high winds onto Disgruntled Neighbour’s million dollar luxury boat. Disgruntled Neighbour just happens to be a litigation-happy widower whose late husband’s estate has left her with deep, deep pockets and a vengeful bent.

Your legal assessment may involve advising said litigious neighbour on her rights and possible courses of action. Of course, as a broad-minded ethical lawyer, you will also advise of less costly alternatives to legal action, such as mediation.

Introduction This is a 1 – 3 line overview of the problem, legal issues raised and potential conclusions. This comes right at the beginning of the response.

"Disgruntled Neighbour may have several courses of action available in trespass, negligence or nuisance. These will be considered in turn below and a conclusion reached as to the likelihood of success for each action. Additionally, alternative dispute resolution processes may also be an option, such as mediation and negotiation."

(Legal) Issue

Here, you name the legal issue or action raised by the facts of the problem question, and go through the ‘elements’ of each action to determine whether the facts and conduct of the parties involved satisfy the requisite legal requirements of the action. Give a case or statutory citation for each element wherever possible.

Often, this is posed as a question. If you are under exam conditions, it is also a good idea to highlight the legal issues you are addressing with a highlighter or red pen, or underline it to make it clearly visible to the person who is marking your response.

“Does the conduct of Careless Neighbour A amount to negligence?

The elements of the tort of negligence are:

Duty of Care - Standard of Care - “Reasonable person” or - “What would the man on the Bondi Tram do?” standard Professional standards

Breach of the Duty - Reasonable Foreseeability

Damages - Causation - Remoteness

Note: With regard to legal citations, the tort of negligence is primarily built upon common law – so it involves cases. The foundational case is Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] AC 562, when one bad snail and a nasty case of gastroenteritis forged a brave new area of law. Various cases have interpreted each element accordingly. Don’t forget to refer to the relevant statute, the Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW).

“Was there a duty of Care Owed?

<Write 1 – 3 line answer with reference to the relevant law, applied to the facts of the problem question>

If so, what was the standard of care required? <Discuss with regard to the reasonable person standard or, as required, professional standards.>

Was there a breach of this Duty?

<Discuss by applying relevant legal cases to the fact scenario.>

Damages: Was there actual damage?

<Negligence requires actual damage for an action, unlike trespass. Cite the relevant case that supports this statement.>

Was the damage caused by Careless Neighbour’s actions (Was there sufficient legal causation of the damage?) <Review with reference to the cases on causation.>

Is the damage too remote? <Discuss by applying ratios from cases and statute to the fact scenario.> <Is Careless Neighbour liable under negligence? Conclude. Note here that other actions may be available, and examine them briefly below. Negligence is currently the major area of Tort law, so the other actions – such as trespass and nuisance – may only require a shorter review.”

Alternative Dispute Resolution Options

<A brief mention of mediation and negotiation as an option of growing popularity is all that is required here, as this path is not a legal action. Note that it will not suit all fact scenarios/cases – only where the proceedings are entered into on good faith, open disclosure and where the balance of power is relatively equal, or an ongoing positive relationship – such as that between neighbours – must be maintained.>

Conclusion Review the above courses of action discussed and recommend the best option(s) for your client, with reference to the likely success of each action and the financial and emotional costs, pros and cons to your client.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: This story was first published on Survive Law on 8 February 2010.

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3 Legal Research Strategy

How you approach your research task may vary depending on your research question. However, the approach below works well with legal problem-solving methodologies such as IRAC.

What is IRAC?

IRAC is a legal problem-solving methodology commonly used in Australian law schools. Researchers using the IRAC method should identify the:

  • Issue — state legal issues that are relevant
  • Rule — state the legal rule found in legislation or case law
  • Application — apply the rules to the facts
  • Conclusion.

A diagram with arrows moving forwards through three consecutive stages. Stage one is the Analyse and Plan stage for identifying facts and legal issues. Stage two is the research stage for finding and evaluating resources. Stage three relates to applying the law.

Analyse and plan

Analysing your research question involves identifying the appropriate area of law and any relevant legal issues at play. If you are researching a problem-based scenario, you should pay especially careful attention to:

  • jurisdiction
  • dates and timeline of events
  • persons involved.

These facts will affect how you formulate your research question, as well as which websites, databases, and sources of legal information you will need to consult.

Research the law

At this stage, you should focus on identifying the legal rules found in legislation and case law because this is what you will need to restate in your writing.

Secondary to primary

When you are new to legal research or unfamiliar with an area of law, proceeding from general information (secondary sources) to more specific, authoritative information (primary sources) is a good approach. Secondary sources are written by subject-matter experts who can efficiently lead you to the key authorities you will need to use.

Alternatively, if you feel like you have a good grasp of the area of law and legal principles at play, you may wish to move straight to primary sources to answer your legal question.

Keeping up to date with the law

Once you have found your authorities, you need to make sure that they are up-to-date. Has the case you are relying on been reversed on appeal? Has the Act and provision you wish to cite been amended recently?

Apply the law

Apply the law to the facts. Use plain English to express your thoughts and to indicate the best course of action to take as well as the likely outcome of taking that course. It is important to:

  • deal separately with each specific issue raised by the facts
  • refer to the points of law extracted from the various cases, legislation, or texts
  • have clarity of reasoning
  • list authorities for and against the argument
  • always conclude.

Statements setting out principles of law should be supported by authoritative resources, preferably primary sources.

Legal Research Skills: An Australian Law Guide Copyright © 2023 by The University of Queensland, James Cook University, the University of Southern Queensland, Charles Darwin University, Southern Cross University, Queensland University of Technology, and Deakin University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Using IRAC – to solve problems & to read cases.

  • 31 May 2021
  • IRAC , Legal Writing , Research , Tips for Students

What is IRAC?

IRAC ( Issue ,  Rule ,  Analysis , and  Conclusion ) forms the fundamental building blocks of legal analysis. It is the process by which lawyers think about  any  legal problem. The beauty of IRAC is that it allows you to reduce the complexities of the law to a simple equation.

  • I SSUE: What  facts  and  circumstances  brought these parties to court?
  • R ULE: What is the  governing law  for the issue?
  • A NALYSIS: Does the rule  apply  to these unique facts?
  • C ONCLUSION: How does the  court’s holding  modify the rule of law?

IRAC is a commonly recommended ‘tool’ for addressing legal problem tasks. It is a great tool for:

  • Planning your responses to essay / problem questions;
  • Writing answers to problem questions under pressure in an exam
  • Organising your notes
  • Checking that you’ve covered all bases when reviewing an assignment.
IRAC is not always the best way to structure your writing – particularly in a complex assignment . IRAC is great for planning responses, organising your thoughts and making notes when you read cases LawStudent.Solutions

Using IRAC (or (M)IRAC)

The following summarises the the process. You will note that we have included an additional step – identifying the material facts.

IRAC is also a helpful way to summarise cases. Keeping your notes in an IRAC format will help you index / sort them by issue. An example of a case analysis prepared using IRAC is set out below.

I – Identify the issues

It’s tempting to go straight to identifying the issues – but we always recommend starting issue spotting by identifying the most important – the material – facts.

Start with the material facts

Sorting through the facts you have been given to determine which facts are relevant and how you are going to use them is a necessary part of any problem solving task.

The following is a list of questions that may help you do this

  • Who is involved? (identify parties specifically by name, if possible)
  • Who suffered?
  • Why? (was is avoidable?)
  • What is the known (relevant) information?
  • Is there any missing information?
  • Include specific details like dates and monetary figures
Reread the question regularly. This will tell you what you are supposed to be doing and it will help you determine which facts are relevant LawStudent.Solutions

Issue spotting for problem solving

  • Identify the problem: what has gone wrong and for whom?
  • Name each Plaintiff and Defendant and briefly describe their individual issues
  • Work out what area of law may govern the resolution of the problem.
  • Be specific rather than general – if it’s a contract law question, specify what part.  Assignments generally relate to one area of law but the assignment will usually raise a number of issues within that general area.
  • Identify any conflicting or troublesome facts – which facts are important.

Issue spotting when reading a case

  • What facts and circumstances brought these parties to court?
  • Are there key words in the judgement / report that suggest an issue?
  • Is the court deciding a question of fact ? – i.e. the parties are in dispute over what happened – or is it a question of law? – i.e. the court is unsure which rule to apply to these facts?
  • What are the non-issues?
The trap for the unwary is to stop at the rule. Although the rule is the law, the art of lawyering is in the analysis. LawStudent.Solutions

R – Rule / Relevant Law

Rule spotting for problem solving.

  • Set out the legal principles that will be used to address the problem.
  • Source legal principles from cases and legislation – aim to have a citation for every rule.
  • Treat a statement of law as a statement that requires support / verification – if you make a statement about what the law is, support it with a (correctly cited) case or section.  Be specific – point to the specific section, paragraph or page of the judgement.  Be judicious in your choice – pick the most relevant / applicable cases.
Make sure you are specific when stating the relevant law/rules that apply, and always make sure to support propositions with case authority LawStudent.Solutions

Rule spotting when reading a case

Simply put, the rule is the law . The rule could be common law that was developed by the courts or a law that was passed by the legislature.

When you’ve finished reading a case, ask yourself: “What does this case stand for?” Assume your lecturer is not a psychopath and they’ve assigned the reading for a reason! LawStudent.Solutions

For every case you read, extract the rule of law by breaking it down into its component parts. In other words, ask the question: what elements of the rule must be proven in order for the rule to hold true?Questions to ask when reading a case:

  • What are the elements that prove the rule?
  • What are the exceptions to the rule?
  • From what authority does it come? Common law, statute, new rule?  
  • What’s the underlying public policy behind the rule?
  • Are there social considerations?

A – Apply and analyse

“Compare the facts to the rule to form the Analysis.”

This important area is really relatively simple. For every relevant fact, you need to ask whether the fact helps to prove or disprove the rule. If a rule requires that a certain circumstance is present in order for the rule to apply, then the absence of that circumstance helps you reach the conclusion that the rule does not apply.

For instance, the successor legislation to the Statute of Frauds in each Australian jursidiction the effect of requiring that all contracts for the sale of land must be in writing. Consequently, in analyzing a problem involving an agreement for the sale of land, you apply the presence or absence of two facts – (a) the arrangement relates to land and (2) whether there’s a written contract – in order to see whether the rule holds true.

The biggest mistake people make in exam writing is to spot the issue and just recite the rule without doing the analysis . In open book exams (which is the case for most Australian Law exams) it’s a given that you can look up the law, so the real question is whether you can  apply the law  to a given set of circumstances.  The analysis is the most important element of IRAC since this is where the real thinking happens.

Analysis for problem solving

  • Explain in detail why the claims are (or are not) justified, based on the body of law pertaining to the case.
  • Be clear on who you are advising and consider and explain how the law be used by each party to argue their case.  It’s important to be able to explain what your client will need to counter.
  • Use relevant precedent cases, Legal Principles and/or legislation to support each answer (you should have already identified these, but often you’ll find you’re moving backwards and forwards as you do your research).
  • There may be several parties involved. Take the time to examine each case individually and analyse why their claims are (or are not) valid.
  • Legal Principles and precedent cases should be used in each analysis, even if there is overlap between the parties (sometimes the same precedent will apply to more than one case, sometimes you will need to distinguish between the cases).
  • It is acceptable to refer the reader to another point in the paper, rather than rewriting it word for word, if the situation calls for the same legal recommendation. (This is signposting)
Take time to discuss the contentious aspects of the case rather than the ones that are most comfortable or obvious LawStudent.Solutions

Analysis when reading a case

Questions to ask when reading a case:

  • Which facts help prove which elements of the rule?
  • Why are certain facts relevant?
  • How do these facts satisfy this rule?
  • What types of facts are applied to the rule?
  • How do these facts further the public policy underlying this rule?
  • What’s the counter-argument for another solution?

C – (Tentative) Conclusions

“From the analysis you come to a Conclusion as to whether the rule applies to the facts.”

The conclusion is the shortest part of the equation. It can be a simple “yes” or “no” as to whether the rule applies to a set of facts. Law exam and assignment problems will often include a set of facts/issues that could go either way in order to see how well you analyze a difficult case. 

The mistake many students make is to never take a position one way or the other on an issue . Most examiners / assessors are looking to see how well you take a position and support it in order to see how well you analyze. LawStudent.Solutions

Another common mistake is to conclude something without having a basis for the opinion . In other words, students will spot the issue, state a rule, and then form a conclusion without doing the analysis. Make sure that whatever position you take has a firm grounding in the analysis. Remember that the position you take is always whether or not the rule applies.

If a rule does not apply, don’t fall into the trap of being conclusive on a party’s liability or innocence. There may be another rule by which the party should be judged. In other words you should conclude as to whether the rule applies, but you shouldn’t be conclusive as to whether some other result is probable. In that case, you need to raise another rule and analyze the facts again.

In addition, the conclusion should always be stated as a probable result. Courts differ widely on a given set of facts, and there is usually flexibility for different interpretations. Be sure to look at the validity of the opponent’s position. If your case has flaws, it is important to recognize those weaknesses and identify them.

Conclusions when problem solving

  • Stand back and play ‘the judge.’
  • Your client won’t always be the good guy – your job is to identify the correct answer, not to find ways to advocate for your client. If theirs is not a strong case, tell them!
  • Choose the argument you think is the strongest and articulate what you believe to be the appropriate answer.
  • State who is liable for what and to what extent.
  • Consider how parties could have acted to better manage their risks in order to avoid this legal problem.
  • Your conclusion should logically flow from the reasoning.

Your conclusion will almost always be a tentative conclusion – but at the same time, don’t sit on the fence.  Give an indication of where you think the end result would go.

Conclusions when reading a case

Practical approaches for using irac.

The IRAC Triad emphasizes the  Analysis  by using the  Facts ,  Issue  and  Rule  as building blocks. The  Analysis  is the end product and primary goal of the IRAC Triad, but the role that facts play in forming the analysis is highlighted. The Triad is actually just a simple flowchart in which the facts can be pigeonholed into a  Conclusion .

irac legal problem solving

The  facts  of a case suggest an  Issue . The legal issue would not exist unless some event occurred.

The  issue  is governed by a  Rule  of law. The issue mechanically determines what rule is applied.

Compare the facts to the  rule  to form the  Analysis . Do the facts satisfy the requirements of the rule?

Example: using IRAC to make a case note:

Another popular legal problem solving method is referred to as MIRAT – and you might be able to see that the way I approach using IRAC is really a blend of IRAC and MIRAT.  Read more about MIRAT in this article  Meet MIRAT: Legal Reasoning Fragmented into Learnable chunks

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