Lexicon Legal Opinion A legal opinion is a written statement by a judicial officer, legal expert or a court as to the illegibility or legibility of a condition, intendant or action. The letter can also be said to as an opinion of how the highest court of jurisdiction would resolve the issues expressed in the letter. Professional understanding of the issue relies on the law at the date of writing.
How to write a legal opinion Law Help How to write a legal opinion The following will be a guide to writing an effective and legally sound legal opinion. It will begin by discussing the qualities of good writing which is central to writing a successful legal opinion.
It will then move on to discussing the formulation of the legal opinion itself. Finally it will discuss the use of law in a legal opinion and how to refer to both case law and statute effectively and efficiently. Quality of Writing The primary purpose of a legal opinion is communication of advice to either a lay or professional client.
It is therefore of the utmost importance that it is clear and in plain, understandable English. Every word of the legal opinion should be chosen by the writer because it communicates precisely the advice which the writer intends to covey. It is important to write in plain English wherever possible.
A good legal opinion will avoid archaic language and legalese. Use of legalese will create a barrier between lawyer and client and divert the main purpose of the legal opinion; to communicate. That is not to say that the legal opinion should be over simplified. It will no doubt be conveying specialised legal advice and must therefore be as detailed as the writer thinks necessary.
The use of plain English simply involves saying what needs to be said in the clearest way possible and avoiding unnecessary verbosity. There are times where technical terms will have to be used if they carry the precise meaning of the advice being delivered.
This should not be shied away from. Perfect grammar, punctuation and precision of language are essential. Clarity defines good writing. A legal opinion will often contain a complicated set of facts which will have to be sorted into specific legal issues and defined in legal terms.
Clarity of expression is therefore vital. Clarity of expression can only be achieved through thorough planning and thought. A thorough plan will lead to a logical structure. Any legal opinion will be conveying a particular point, but that point will inevitably need to be broken down into sections.
Each section will culminate in an opinion and each opinion must be fully explained and justified. Clarity of legal writing also requires conciseness.
This does not necessarily imply brevity, but once the point has been made, nothing more need be said. Having said that, completeness and total accuracy is vital and conciseness should not come above giving full and precise advice.
Formulation of a Legal Opinion A request for a legal opinion will usually come in written form. Such a request will usually include any documents in the case.
The request for a legal opinion will include at least one and usually a number of questions which the legal advisor is being asked to address. For a barrister an instruction to provide a legal opinion will come from a solicitor so any response will be written with the solicitor in mind as the reader, but the solicitor will have requested the legal opinion in order to advise the client and therefore the client must be borne in mind as well.
This is clearly the most important question to any client and must be approached with honesty and directness. Numbered action points are one way of achieving clarity in this regard. Above all it is vital to remember that in being asked to draft a legal opinion, you are being asked to advise.
Sitting on the fence is not an option. Lay out the pros and cons of a particular course of action, but always come down on one side or the other. Drafting a legal opinion can and should always be split into two processes: The thinking process and the writing process. The Thinking Process The first thing to do is to digest and organise the facts.
There will be facts in any case which are relevant and pertinent to the case and facts which are not. A legal opinion must focus on the relevant facts, but it may also be necessary to specifically advise that certain things are not relevant.
The first stage will be about organising the facts of the case into these categories. It is a matter of personal preference how this is done, but charts and schedules are often useful and a chronology should be a starting point for every fact marshalling exercise.
Once the facts are at your finger tips, a legal framework needs to be constructed into which these facts can be logically slotted.It is important to keep the tone of your essay professional, by avoiding emotional language and any language that expresses an accusation. Use factual statements supported by sound evidence.
Requirements of an opinion essay.
Structure. In the introductory paragraph, explain the statement and give your opinion about it. Simply put, grading Law papers is a matter of opinion and no two lawyers ever have an identical set of opinions!
Indeed, even at the very top of the legal profession, no two substantive judgments of Supreme Court Justices on a given case are ever precisely the same.
Opinion essay Opinion essay is a formal piece of essay writing which presents the author’s point of view on a particular subject supported by reasons and examples. The opposing viewpoint is also suggested, it goes with arguments that show that it is unconvincing. Handout: How to Write an Opinion Essay The basic five-paragraph essay structure, which you have probably used many times by this point, works extremely well for an opinion essay.
It’s a starting point, and when you get to university your profs will expect a more complex approach to essay writing. Legal opinion is a first-look view of the controversy being involved.
Apart from the questions asked it is equally important to apprise querist about the current situation and what alternates recourse he can take. •Good legal writing and advocacy depends on presenting a well structured argument. –This applies whether you are writing an essay, arguing before a judge, advising a client, conducting negotiations or offering a legal opinion.
•A good legal argument must be carefully organised and effectively presented. –Prepare carefully.