Reading and Understanding Judicial Opinions


Do you have any idea of what a judicial opinion is? These are opinions that are authored not just by the judges. A judicial opinion contains explanations of how certain legal disputes are resolved as well as clarification for their reasoning. The term “opinion” is used in a case to tell the story of the case what the case is all about, what or how the court is resolving the said case and answers why.

Important matters like judicial opinions require the ability to read and understand complex literature. The number one way for anyone to better understand judicial opinions is to read them over and over again. Repetition is key, and once you’ve identified their “flow” and the commonalities between each opinion, you’ll be able to better understand the opinions themselves. By reading and learning about judicial opinions, you’ll get a better understanding of each case that they pertain to, including:

  1. Facts

Understanding facts and concepts is the basic foundation of understanding any judicial opinion. Reasoning, along with facts are efficient ways of solving cases and these are what most students of law can easily forget, despite the obvious importance of each opinion’s facts. Take note that facts are legally important as they represent possible solutions for the case.

  1. Arguments in the Court

Being able to understand the argument of each party involved in the case is necessary. While the judicial opinion is necessary, reading and understanding it requires you to understand the argument between the two parties. Once you understand the two opposing reasons by the two parties involved, understanding the judicial opinion is substantially easier.

  1. Result and Reasoning of Majority Opinions

Including the sources of these majority opinions, it is necessary for you to understand that the courts legal reasoning drives the entire opinion to become final. You can also formulate your own opinion based upon the majority of the decision by the court.

  1. Court’s Decision Scope and Possible Effects

Encourage yourself to take steps that will widen your perspective regarding the scope and possible effect of the court’s decision in the case. Their opinion has a huge effect on the current and future cases that court judges may also apply when they judge cases.

The idea is to keep all perspectives about judicial opinions at the forefront of your mind and know what essential procedures you have to focus on so you can have a better understanding of how things in the court are being solved. When you truly understand things inside the court, especially the legal papers like judicial opinions that are containing important matters for a case, you will fully understand what judicial opinions are and how they affect the case. In case you are a student, keep in mind that you are supposed to recognize and identify issues and be critical at all times as this will lead you to better understand all legal cases.