Contract and Business Ethics
The IRAC Formula
IRAC (Issue, Rule, Analysis, and Conclusion) forms the fundamental building blocks of legal analysis. It is the process by which all lawyers think about any legal problem…
ISSUE -> What facts and circumstances brought these parties to court?
RULE -> What is the governing law for the issue?
ANALYSIS -> Does the rule apply to these unique facts?
CONCLUSION -> How does the court’s holding modify the rule of law?
Issue Spotting – The First Step
“The facts of a problem suggest an Issue or Issues.”
The key to issue spotting is being able to identify which facts raise which issues. Because of the complexity of the law, the elimination or addition of one fact (such as time of day or whether someone was drinking) can eliminate or add issues to a case thereby raising an entirely different rule of law.…you need to develop issue-spotting skills …in order to do well on the exam.
Rule – What is the Law?
“The issue is covered by a Rule of law.”
Simply put, the rule is the law. The rule could be common law that was developed by the courts or a law that was passed by the legislature.
The trap for the unwary is to stop at the rule. Although the rule is the law, the art of lawyering is in the analysis.
[Note that sometimes the rule of law can be unclear or the facts do not make it clear which rule applies. In those circumstances you have to let the examiner know that there is debate about the law, or point out what facts you need to be able to say which rule applies.]
Analysis – The Art of Lawyering
“Compare the facts to the rule to form the Analysis.”
This important area is really relatively simple. For every relevant fact, you need to ask whether the fact helps to prove or disprove the rule. If a rule requires that a certain circumstance is present in order for the rule to apply, then the absence of that circumstance helps you reach the conclusion that the rule does not apply. For instance, all contracts for the sale of goods over $500 have to be in writing. Consequently, in analyzing a contract for the sale of goods, you apply the presence or absence of two facts – worth of good and whether there’s a written contract – in order to see whether the rule holds true.
The biggest mistake people make in exam writing is to spot the issue and just recite the rule without doing the analysis. Most professors know that you can look up the law, but they want to test whether you can apply the law to a given set of circumstances. The analysis is the most important element of IRAC since this is where the real thinking happens.
Conclusion – Take a Position
“From the analysis you come to a Conclusion as to whether the rule applies to the facts.”
The conclusion is the shortest part of the equation. It can be a simple “yes” or “no” as to whether the rule applies to a set of facts. A clever professor will often give you a set of facts that could go either way in order to see how well you analyze a difficult issue. The mistake many students make is to never take a position one way or the other on an issue. Most professors want you to take a position and support it in order to see how well you analyze.
Another common mistake is to conclude something without having a basis for the opinion. In other words, students will spot the issue, state a rule, and then form a conclusion without doing the analysis. Make sure that whatever position you take has a firm grounding in the analysis. Remember that the position you take is always whether or not the rule applies.
If a rule does not apply, don’t fall into the trap of being conclusive on a party’s liability or innocence. There may be another rule by which the party should be judged. In other words you should conclude as to whether the rule applies, but you shouldn’t be conclusive as to whether some other result is probable. In that case, you need to raise another rule and analyze the facts again.
In addition, the conclusion should always be stated as a probable result. Courts differ widely on a given set of facts, and there is usually flexibility for different interpretations. Be sure to look at the validity of the opponent’s position. If your case has flaws, it is important to recognize those weaknesses and identify them.
A company is developing a new drug which it expects will significantly reduce the disease known as rheumatism. The company has conducted many tests on the drug. One of the scientists is concerned that there are some side effects which have not been fully investigated. The company requests a confidential report from a number of other scientists about these side effects. The scientists are paid $500,000 each to investigate the drug and compile the report. These scientists are also required to sign a document promising that they will not disclose the content of their report to anyone except the Board of Directors of the company. The new confidential report indicates that side effects do occur but they are statistically small. All the Directors agree to keep the information about the side effects of the new drug confidential. The Board of Directors are confident the new drug will significantly increase the profits of the company and keep the shareholders happy. The company continues to develop the new drug and subsequently markets it.
Discuss the ethical issues in this scenario. Use relevant cases and principles. (7 marks)
Bill owns a restaurant. He said to his 19-year-old son, Quentin, “If you work in the restaurant every Sunday for the first year of your university course, I will pay your university fees for the year.” Quentin was a talented tennis player and had been offered a scholarship to undertake tennis coaching with a famous tennis coach. The tennis coaching was to be held every second Sunday. Quentin desperately wanted to attend the tennis coaching but he also wanted to have his father pay for his university fees. Quentin made the decision, in reliance on Bill’s promise, to work every Sunday in his father’s restaurant. He did this for the entire first year of his university course. Quentin has just successfully completed the first year of his university course. He now wants to take a year off study and travel overseas. Quentin’s father, Bill, is upset that his son is going to take a year off study and now refuses to pay Quentin’s university fees.
(a)Advise Quentin using relevant cases and principles. Do not use legislation (5 marks)
(b)What is your answer if Quentin is 17 years of age? Do not use legislation (2 marks)
Samantha advertises her Holden Monaro car for sale for $15,000. Terrence comes to look at it. He takes it for a test drive. He says, “One of my friends had trouble with a Holden Monaro. It had a rusted suspension that wasn’t visible to the eye. Is the suspension OK in this car?” Samantha replied, “Yes, this car has excellent suspension.” “Great,” says Terrence. “We have a deal.” Terrence immediately signed the contract of sale, paid the $15,000 dollars, and drove away in the car. The contract of sale was silent about the car’s suspension.
A week later Terrence discovered the car had a very badly rusted suspension.
Advise Terrence using relevant cases and principles. Do not use legislation (6 marks)
When to be conducted
The Take-home Assignment is from 10.00 am Friday 21ST August 2015 (Week 4) (the start time) and is due in to the Assignment Box marked LST2BSL, Introduction to Business Law and Ethics, Social Science Building ,Level 2 next to the Law Common Room SS201 (opposite the lift) by 4.00 pm Wednesday 16th September 2015 (the due date) in Week 7.
Contract and Business Ethics.
The Assignment will consist of problems requiring legal advice about Business Law and Ethics.
The Assignment is open book.
Further Details regarding Take-Home Assignment
1. Availability of Assignment Paper
The Take-Home Assignment paper will be made available at the start time on the Introduction to Business Law and Ethics web site on LMS.
It is your responsibility to be able to access the Assignment paper online and papers will not be emailed or faxed to students if you cannot access the paper owing to problems relating to the computer you have chosen to use to access the LMS or problems caused by your internet service provider.
2. Submission of answers
Answers must be submitted on or before 4.00 pm Wednesday 16th September 2015 (‘the due date’) in hard copy via the Assignment Box marked LST2BSL Introduction to Business Law and Ethics that is located on the 2nd Floor, Social Science Building as stated above and must have a duly completed Statement of Authorship attached: the form is available on the subject site on the LMS. Submission by email or fax is not permitted for any reason whatsoever.
Each student is required to make and keep a copy of every piece of work submitted during the year. No member of staff will be responsible for the loss of any paper. If any irregularity does occur, the student will be expected to produce a copy of the paper.
Additional submission of Digital Copy Via LMS
In addition to the hard copy submitted via the Assignment Box, marked LST2BSL Introduction to Business Law and Ethics that is located on the 2nd Floor, Martin Building, you must also submit a digital version through the assignment submission tool in the Introduction to Business Law and Ethics LMS page by the due date. The hard copy will be the original and will be marked. Whether or not an assignment paper has been submitted on time will be determined from the submission time of the hard copy not the digital copy. The digital copy will be used for the purposes of verifying word counts, checking for plagiarism and for other purposes relevant to assessment of the student’s or any other student’s Assignment paper as determined by the subject coordinator.
3. Late submission policy and the cut-off time.
•No extensions will be granted for late submission of the Assignment.
•Where the Take-Home Assignment is submitted late, a marking penalty will be imposed at the rate of 10% of the total marks available for every minute (or part thereof) after the due date PROVIDED THAT no Take-Home Assignment will be accepted if it is submitted after 4.00 pm on Wednesday 16th September 2015 (‘the cut-off time’).
•Failure to submit by the cut-off time (for any reason whatsoever including illness, failure to obtain a car park in time, traffic congestion, car accident, computer or other equipment failure) will be treated like a failure to attend an end of semester examination. Students who wish to apply for special consideration for failure to submit the Take-Home Assignment must submit an application for Special Consideration in the form prescribed in the University regulations together with appropriate supporting documentation within 72 hours of the due date. Failure to submit an application within the required time is grounds for refusal to grant special consideration.
4. Percentage of Assessment
The take home assignment is worth 20% of the final assessment.
5. Word limit
Your answer to the assignment questions should be a maximum of 1500 words in total. The word limit will be enforced strictly and any excess will incur a marking penalty. Answers that exceed 1500 words will incur a penalty of 10% of the total available marks, for every 100 words (or part thereof) in excess of 1500 words. You must include a word count at the beginning of your assignment answer. Students are advised that any disparities between the actual word count of the paper and the word count as set out at the beginning of your assignment answer run the risk of being reported to the Head of School as possible academic misconduct. All discussion of the answer to the problem should be incorporated in the text of the answer and not in the footnotes.
You should only use footnotes for referencing. Provided that no text appears in the footnotes these do not count in the word limit. However, if you put text in the footnotes then the footnotes will be counted in the word limit.
7. Citations and Referencing
You should provide a full citation and acknowledge all sources for any case or other material you refer to. Students must ensure that all quotes are enclosed in quotation marks and the source of the quote is also cited. Law uses the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (AGLC) as its referencing style. For a copy of the full Guide and explanations about referencing see http://latrobe.libguides.com/content.php?pid=145854&sid=1240160 – 4182564. Students who are familiar with another style of referencing (the Harvard style for example) may use that if they wish, although they should follow the AGLC in relation to citing case law and legislation. Students should note that the Week 6 Seminar will include a discussion of how to cite references.
8. Prescribed materials
This is not a research exercise. You should rely only on the prescribed reading and material from the lectures and seminars for your answer. You must acknowledge all sources (see Citations section above). Please provide a reference list at the end of your paper (this is not included in the word limit).
9. Assessment criteria
Your take home assignment answer will be marked in accordance with the Assessment Criteria Document posted on the LMS. This document also explains what distinguishes between a fail, D, C, B and A grade.
Students are encouraged to make use of headings and sub headings to identify issues and provide structure for their answer
10. Joint work and academic misconduct
Joint work is prohibited. Discussion of the assignment question with other students or any other person is not permitted. You are not permitted to do any of the following things, each of which constitutes academic misconduct. You must not:
•discuss the assignment question with any person (other than the subject coordinator – see point 11 below);
•collaborate with anyone else in preparing an answer to the assignment;
•view another person’s written notes about the assignment or their preliminary or final versions of an answer to the assignment;
•permit another student to view any written notes you have made about the assignment or your preliminary or final versions of an answer to the assignment;
•make written notes of what anyone else says to you during the assignment; or
•permit another student to make written notes of what you say during the assignment.
You should keep copies of your notes and drafts in case your lecturer wants to interview you about the process by which you prepared your answer.
On what constitutes plagiarism and academic misconduct and the University’s policies about them, see paragraph 5 above AND http://www.latrobe.edu.au/learning/integrity.html AND the Academic Integrity Statute, 2015, at
11. Questions regarding take-home assignment
Any questions regarding late submission or special consideration should be directed to the subject coordinator Dr Rosemary Lucadou-Wells by email ([email protected]) If you believe there are any ambiguities or errors in the assignment question that need to be clarified before it can be answered you should contact the subject coordinator, Dr Rosemary Lucadou-Wells by email. Only questions about perceived errors or ambiguities in the assignment question or instructions will be answered. Dr Lucadou-Wells will not answer questions about how to structure your answer. If any significant ambiguities or errors in the assignment question are identified during the assignment period, the subject coordinator will announce a correction or clarification by posting a notice on the Introduction to Business Law and Ethics web site on the LMS. Students should therefore monitor the web site during the assignment for any announcements concerning the paper.
12. Presentation Generally
The take-home assignment paper must
•Be typed in Times New Roman 12 point font.
•Be printed on A4 paper on one side of the paper only.
•Be 1.5 or double-spaced.
•Have reasonable margins.
•Have pages that are consecutively numbered.
•Be securely stapled.
•State the question number for each question you have attempted before each question.
•NOT be enclosed in a plastic presentational folder.
•Have a title page that includes:
Your name and student number
Seminar day and time
Seminar Lecturer’s name
13. Time allocated for the assignment
The assignment is designed to be completed within approximately 12 hours if a student is properly prepared.
Feedback will be provided in the Lecture; the assignment paper will be returned to you with very brief comments on the paper. Detailed comments are provided in the group feedback in the Lecture.
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