Learning Legal Rules brings together the theory, structure, and practice of legal reasoning in order to help the reader to develop both their knowledge and reasoning skills. It provides techniques of legal research, analysis, and argument, and explains the operation of precedent as well as effective statutory interpretation. When studying law, it is easy to become focused on the substantive aspects of the subject—the concepts, rules, and principles that go to make up contract, tort, crime, etc. In order to study and practise law effectively, it is essential not only to understand what the legal rules are, but also why they are as they are, and what consequences they might have. This requires that you develop the abilities that are the core focus of this book: to find and make sense of the primary and secondary sources of law; to interpret and apply authorities; to construct arguments both about the facts of a case, and as to how and why a particular authority should or should not be applied in a given situation, and to write clearly, and in an appropriate legal style, making reference to authority as necessary, in the proper academic form.
Keywords:legal rules, legal reasoning, reasoning skills, legal analysis, legal argument, statutory interpretation
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- 1. Understanding the Law
- 2. Finding the Law
- 3. Reading the Law
- 4. From Reading to Writing
- 5. Understanding Legal Reasoning
- 6. The Doctrine of Judicial Precedent
- 7. How Precedent Operates: Ratio Decidendi and Obiter Dictum
- 8. Making Sense of Statutes
- 9. Interpreting Statutes
- 10. ‘Bringing Rights Home’: Legal Method and the Convention Rights
- 11. European Legal Method