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Legal problem solving: Issue

Legal problem solving: IRAC

Identify and state the issues

1. Identify the issues or problem you are trying to answer through close analysis of the legal problem. Work out the broad area of law. It may be useful to also consult a textbook or legal commentary service to read some background about the issues involved. 

For example, to find out more about Employment law, you could consult National Workplace Relations (Thomson Reuters) available on Westlaw AU (Monash users), or the Australian Labour Law Reporter (CCH) available in the Industrial Law Library on CCH IntelliConnect (Monash users). To read about issues involved in Contract law, go to Carter on Contract on Lexis Advance (Monash users)

2. Then state the issue succinctly. This can be in the form of a question or a statement, but should be specific, rather than too general. An issue should be broken down into smaller, multiple sub-issues and IRAC reasoning applied to each sub-issue.

For example: “Is the company liable in tort for the harm that has occurred to the plaintiff ?” or " Can the NSW Police arrest people solely for the purpose of questioning them" would be acceptable.  Merely stating “Will the plaintiff win?” would not be acceptable.

The issue may mention party names and specific facts of the case. Be specific about the issue/s for each of the parties.

One of the issues to consider in our example is below:


Is Matthew an employee or an independent contractor?



  • An assignment usually covers one area of law but may involve a number of issues within that area. Refer to your class notes and reading guide.
  • Use the IRAC structure for each issue or legal topic in the problem.
  • Issues may emerge gradually as a result of your research and identification of applicable rules.