Tips to Effective Legal Research- Douglas Ogbankwa

When you are briefed over a Matter ,winning the case or otherwise depends on your deep analysis of the case and the level of research exerted before you go to Court .The Reason being that cases are won and lost in chambers.

When you have the facts of your cases , before you settle your pleadings ,you are expected to analyze every applicable law in that regard ,including municipal law and some times international conventions and treaties .You are to ascertain whether those international conventions and treaties have been domesticated and if the answer is in the affirmative ,you to apply same as an Act of the National Assembly.For example ,some sections of Chapter 2 of the Constitution, which relates to the Fundamental Objective and Principles of State Policy , if brought under the Constitution are not justiciable ,being that they non legal rules , however if they were brought under the African Human and People’s Rights Act,Cap A49,LFN,2004,they become justiciable in decided cases the Courts have made pronouncements , which are staris decisis that by Cap A49 those Objectives in Chapter 2 of the Constitution can be enforced by the Courts.

You are expected to use a template of a precedent that was used in a decided case matter and in which the party ‘s case you are using won .That way you will have the benefit of all materials in the case from Statement of Claim or Statement of Defence ,till the Final Judgment.You are also to read the evaluation of the evidence, objections raised to the admissibility of documents the resolution of the issues and ratio of the Court .From there , you are to look at the ratio Supreme Court Decisions on the Matter and distinguish same to facts of your case , to ensure that facts of the authorities to be used should be in all fours , with your case.

You are expected to identify,isolate and raise all possible preliminary objection in the matter .Raise as many as possible,the more the issues raised ,the more likely you are to get the case struck out or dismissed at this stage. You also.exoected to do mock.arguments with your counsel to see the argument on the side .

The following are other key steps in having a sound legal research .

1.Watch News , that where you have the latest policies of Government , Legislative Action on issues ,Force Orders of the Police that out laws some actions ,Latest Decisions of Courts , Argument of Counsel on point of Law and even the right diction to use in matters.

2.Stay in Court to learn , don’t be a with the kind permission of my learned senior lawyer.Some Young Lawyers always want to rush in and out of Court , after which they end up loofing around.Why not stay in Court and learn , because every thing actually happens in Court .Learn how to move motion ,under take trial ,know the errors made by lawyers and understand the personality of your Judge .

3.Know how to use the Internet to research . Understand how to use the Internet to do research .While you are arguing in Court ,while your colleague is opposing you ,you can dash out to Law pavilion and make a good research .By the way ,I am a Law Pavilion Brand Ambassador and I can say Law Pavilion has made me win many cases with their very lucid and well laid out authorities , together with their quick search module ,not to talk about their body of statutes and law reports ,which are unassailable.Recently ,the NBA National led by perhaps the best NBA President in modern history -Olumide Akoata ,which I have come to name the “Bulldozer” ,knowing the huge grounds he has broken since his Administration came on board , gave free Law Pavilion Packages to You ng Lawyers. Some Young Lawyers did not access same ,even when it was free. If you are adverse to research , go and search for another job .Success in Law , is for those that research.Law Practice thrives on a deep understanding of our Body of Laws and buying latest authorities,Books and Journals, which will make you to be miles ahead of your peers. If you don’t invest in books as a Lawyer ,you will end up eating in Bukas .

4.When you are doing a case before a Judge or Judges ,get earlier Judgments of the same Judge or Judges and read to My Lords their ratios in their words .This may make My Lords to be persuaded to toe your line of arguments, having held so earlier ,it will be difficult for My Lords to resile .

5.Learn how to.use Google :The use of Google search engine is a veritable tool for a Lawyer to research , on line , real time and it provides an endless reservoir of resource ,that gives you a fillip in your arguments,addresses and briefs .

6.Learn how to use artificial intelligence:The Artificial Intelligence Module ,AI ,is an App that thinks for you as a Lawyer Instead of you cracking your brains ,just give the AI a scenario or problem question and the AI will give you full arguments with Authorities .This is a ground breaking development , changing the centuries’ old format of thinking out your case .The AI will think out your case for you and give you solutions immediately , on line , real time .

On the Part of the Court we want to enjoin every court to have a One Stop App of the Court that contains everything concerning the Court , on line , real time, including phone details of registrars , cause list , rulings , judgments and information on whether or not the Court is sitting .For now all Courts should send SMS to tell Counsel and /or parties ,whether or not the Court is Sitting .This will save time ,money and lives , for those Courts outside jurisdiction.

Legal Research is what distinguishes a Lawyer and makes him to take his pride of place .Do so with so much circumspection and you will be a lawyer of good standing with all and sundry .

About the Author:

Douglas Ogbankwa Esq.,@ douglasogbankwa@gmail.com ,is the Convener of the Vanguard of the Independence of the Judiciary and the Founder of the Benin Writers’ Society .

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