Constructing a Legal Argument

Make it clear and well written
- Make sure you finish researching early enough to actually write it, proof read it, etc.
- Make sure it’s in CLEAR English. You shouldn’t be using a thesaurus to sound more intelligent – if the marker needs to use one to understand you, they’re not going to be in a good mood when the time comes to give you marks.

- Set them out in a well structured manner
- Make sure to always give reasons supported by the law
- Make them clear and concise – don’t waste words
- Give the premises for all your arguments, then conclude, building on your premises.

- Outline your conclusion and the number (and very brief outlines) of your arguments
- Define any ‘key’ terms early on – particular legal rules and doctrines, etc.

- Section and Sub headings – not mandatory, but they support the pursuit of clarity, basically signposting your essay for the marker
- Refer to the AGLC unless specifically told otherwise
- Use 12 point Times New Roman (or similar) and at least 1.5 line spacing unless specifically told otherwise
- Do not attempt to read in a 10% rule. Unless it’s specifically mentioned, the word limit should be treated as absolute.
- Paraphrase when possible rather than using block quotes. Too many quotes looks lazy.
- Try to keep each idea to a single paragraph if possible.
- First person is PROBABLY okay to use – but always confirm first. Third person is almost always a safe bet.

- Primary (cases and statute) is ALWAYS greater than a journal article, or worse yet, a textbook. Even if the marker wrote the textbook.
- If you can’t find the primary authority for something discussed in a secondary authority, don’t reference it. Markers get suspicious if they see a case that they KNOW isn’t available.

- Don’t just copy and paste your intro and change the tense. Make it at least look different, and if at all possible, try to raise an implication for future discussion to give the marker something to think about when they finish reading.