19 Jan IRAC a Battery?
No, not that kind of battery. We are talking about a battery in torts which is different than a battery in criminal law. Writing essays in 1L is always a learning process but that process does not need to be confusing. One of the first things you learn in 1L is IRAC (Issue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion). At first IRAC can throw many people but with some time you will come to understand, and maybe even like, the method. One common problem that many essay writers have arises at the completion of 1L. After you understand and memorize the substantive law many forget how to apply that knowledge into the IRAC method.
So lets take this time and go back to basics. Let’s take a simple battery posed in a micro-fact pattern and see if we can IRAC!
At a jousting demonstration, Knitting Nancy demonstrated her jousting abilities by riding her horse, joust in hand, and hitting a target with her lance. The target she hit was being held by a volunteer. The volunteer suffered severe injuries as a result of Knitting Nancy’s forceful lancing. Discuss Knitting Nancy’s liability for battery.
The first thing you ALWAYS do when approaching an essay or MCQ is to read the call of the question! “Discuss Knitting Nancy’s liability for battery.” Seem’s simple enough; but wait, this call tells us a lot. This call tells us we are strictly limited to discussing battery, it tells us we are in Torts, and it tells us we are only focusing on Knitting Nancy.
With this information in our brains we should automatically begin mapping out our outline or checklist.
We know that battery is: A volitional act with requisite intent which causes a harmful or offensive touching.
We have our rule statement but now what do we do with it?
We take our rule statement and break it into its elements. The elements of battery are:
- Volitional Act
- Requisite Intent
- Harmful or Offensive Touching
Once we identify our elements we must identify the rule statements to those elements.
A volitional act is a physical movement. Requisite intent can be shown by desiring the harmful outcome or substantial certainty the outcome will happen. Causation is when the volitional act is the direct or indirect cause of the harm. Harmful or offensive touching is shown where the harm is physically harmful or offensive to a reasonable person.
Now we need to begin structuring our checklist/outline so that we are placing all these rule statements, elements, and discussion in the right place. To do this we need to begin at the beginning of IRAC; with the issue. Here, the issue is “Whether Knitting Nancy is liable for battery?” Next we look at the R, rule, in IRAC. The rule for battery is “A volitional act with requisite intent which causes a harmful or offensive touching.” Now what?
We identified the rule for battery above, but the rule has elements in it. These elements need to be proved or disproved. How do we do that? We take these elements and make them sub-issues.
- Was Knitting Nancy’s act volitional?
- Did Knitting Nancy act with the requisite intent?
- Did Knitting Nancy cause the harmful or offensive touching?
- Did Volunteer suffer a harmful or offensive touching?
With a new set of issues in place, now we place the rules for these elements (see above).
Finally, all you have left to do is the analysis and conclusion!