What is IRAC?

IRAC

What is IRAC?

 Issue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion

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 A method for organizing legal analysis so the reader can follow your argument to its conclusion

How do I use IRAC?

As an example, we will look at whether someone can sue for battery as a result of

inhaling second-hand smoke. The issue we will look at is whether there is contact with

another person, which is required for a battery claim.

Issue

First state the question you are trying to answer (what brought the parties into court).

This can be in the form of a question or a statement. For example:

o “There is an issue as to whether contact occurred when the plaintiff inhaled the second-hand smoke.”

o “Does contact occur when one inhales second-hand smoke created by another?”

Rule

State the rule of law or legal principle. This may require stating the elements to establish

a claim.

o “To prove a case for battery the plaintiff must establish the following elements: an act, intent, contact, causation, and harm.”

o “The offense of battery requires contact with the plaintiff’s person.”

Analysis

This is where you discuss the facts, apply them to the law and explain how you will

arrive at your conclusion. You may cite other cases, discuss policy implications, and

discuss cases that run counter to your conclusion. If you are analyzing a case that has

already been decided by the court, discuss how the court arrived at its decision, balancing

arguments from both sides.

You can use other cases, analogizing and distinguishing, and policy (for example, the

goals of tort law) to work your way to a conclusion. For example:

o “In Howe v. Ahn, the court held that noxious bus fumes inhaled by a passerby constitute harmful and offensive contact. Although the court has

not extended this holding to a case involving second-hand smoke,

numerous cases have likened second-hand smoke to air pollution (for

example, Fox v. Abernathy). Policy considerations also favor finding

contact in the present case. If one can prove harm as a result of inhaling

second-hand smoke, it is better for the smoker to compensate the victim

than burden the state.”

Conclusion

State the outcome of your analysis. This can be a prediction of how the court may rule or

a statement of the court’s decision.

o “The court is likely to find that harmful contact occurs when a smoker releases second-hand smoke into the air and that air is inhaled by a

bystander.”

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