#ANALYSE THE LEGAL PROBLEM.Read the whole case or whatever facts you currently have. Get a clear picture in your own mind about, what you need. Get answers to questions like:
- Who are the parties involved in the case
- Is the location important? If yes then what is the location? why is it important? Sometimes, objects may also be important, especially in criminal cases.
- At what stage is the legal proceeding?
- What are the general areas of laws involved?
- Are the Locals laws involved? If yes then which one?
- Which Court has the jurisdiction?
#PREPARE A BASIC RESEARCH PLAN.Always plan your task, to be more efficient. Keep a deadline. Divide your work further into smaller tasks and time yourself. Keep somethings always with you, like a pencil, bookmark tags, a notepad. Also, Keep a law dictionary handy.
#START YOUR RESEARCHPlanning is important, but it must not take much time. More time must be given to implementing what you plan. Now, you have a brief idea about the legal problem, you clearly know what do you want to search, and you also have a plan ready. Now, just START your work. Consider which of the three groups may have established the law on this issue: the legislature, the courts or the executive branch. It is quite possible that two and possibly all three groups have touched this topic. Then look for the statute, case or regulation that applies.
GO THROUGH THE PRIMARY SOURCES –
- Find out applicable Statutes & relevant sections.
- Go through the Index of the Statute.
- Read all sections relevant to your case.
- Read the Explanations & illustrations under those sections.
- Exceptions given for those provisions.
- Check for any other provisions which will help you understand the above provisions.
- Read the Headnotes, this part is very useful to skim through the judgement. As judgements are usually lengthy and it may take a lot of your time if you keep on reading the whole of it.
- Look at the facts of that case and compare it with your case.
- Determine, how the area of law is related?
- Review the current state of law. Make sure that they have not been amended or repealed.
- Support your proposition with your case laws.
- Also, check out case laws which oppose your proposition.
ONLINE RESEARCHThe Internet is a key tool for any research, so don’t be stuck in your court or office library and switch on the computer. List down keywords…both(broader & narrower). Then, Google those keywords, you will get many relevant research articles, scholarly papers, news, government websites, etc. If you are in a hurry and cannot read the whole article which is important. And you found this article after investing a lot of time, then you just bookmark it using a ‘star’-like symbol in your browser. Skim through the articles and go straight to the relevant portion. Use the “Ctrl+F” command and type your keywords, by this method you will be able to directly go to the relevant portions of that article. If you need to rush somewhere, but you found an important article which you can read during the journey, then you can print any webpage or any online document by using the Print command. Or if you don’t want to print but want to read it offline(without internet), then you can save it in a pdf. Just right-click on whatever online page you want to print/save in pdf and follow the below steps. If you want to print then select the Printer from which you want to print in the destination section. Check out some videos related to the topic of your case. There are many websites which will be helpful in your research, some of them which helped me are as below –
- SCCOnline – It is mainly used for finding case laws & statutes. It is a paid service. They have many plans having different features and also have an offline CD-ROM edition. A free trial of their Web Edition is provided by them.
- Manupatra – It’s an online database of case laws & bare acts. They have different paid subscription plans & provide a free trial, which will give you access to the entire database for a period of 24 hours from time of activation.
- Indiankanoon – Online database for case laws & bare acts. The database is free for everyone but they have some special features on their website available to only premium members, which is a paid service.
- Nyaaya.in – This site explains Indian laws in a much simpler language. A very useful website for law students and also for common citizen of this country.
#NOTESDon’t forget to make notes while doing all the above things. If you don’t make proper notes, then eventually you are going to again research for the same thing. Note the page numbers & paragraph numbers from the primary & secondary sources you referred. Write down some points which you feel importantly related to those sources. Note the URLs of websites, videos, etc with imp details. Be critical on the evaluation of sources (especially online). You can make these notes on a physical Notepad or using an APP/Software on your mobile/Computer. Use the method which suits you. I would suggest you use OneNote or EverNote. Both are good for making notes with lots of features. You can add images, videos, links, attach documents, type text, draw things and much more. And the main thing is that you can access your notes from anywhere on any device you use. Below are some snippets of some important features of One Note. Now that you have taken so much efforts to make such awesome notes, you must keep it safe and organized. So, arrange all the files into a folder and create a subfolder if needed. Give proper and relevant names to the files and folders, so that you will come to know whats in it just by reading the name. Doing these things will reduce confusion. Also, in your absence, if any of your colleagues need to go through it then even they can refer to it easily.
#ASK FOR HELPDon’t go solo, ask for help when needed from your colleague, friend or senior. Ask a librarian or any other person familiar with the topic and ask for suggestions. Ask according to your helper’s preferred method of you asking for clarification and guidance. It may be through…
- Or a call when a question arises.