Ipac Law Essay


          At some point in your law school career, you will be introduced to the I.R.A.C method. This acronym stands for: Issue, Rule, Application, and Conclusion. Although the definitions are useful as a foundation for legal writing, don't get stuck thinking (as many people do) that you have to keep these components in this specific order or that you can't style their arrangement to your needs; I kept my writing style open, and had great success in my writing assignments doing so. But, be warned, some professors will tell you exactly how you should order your paper, and you should follow their suggestions since they will be grading your writing. Here are the definitions of the components:



          In legal writing, issues are the core of your paper or essay. If you can't spot a single issue, you will earn no points. To find issues, look for anything in the facts of a case that could raise a question, sometimes called a "question of law": Could the defendant be charged with x crime? Could he be convicted of that crime? Does he have any defenses for his actions? Is the case eligible to be heard by a jury? If a jury hears the case, would they convict even if the laws make the defendant look guilty?

          Issue spotting is easiest when you know the laws and court holdings of your state, so be sure to research and study thoroughly, but if you run across a question that is not addressed by the rules of your state, don't fret, this is a good opportunity to bring up rules from other jurisdictions that might persuade the court to make new precedence on that issue.


          In legal writing, rules are the same as they are in the rest of life; they are statements that cannot be ignored without punishment, lower grades in our case. Rules can be found in laws, regulations, and precedents (court holdings from similar cases), but while all rules are mentionable, all do not carry the same strength. If one rule pertains to identical issues as your paper, and another has only similar issues, the most persuasive rule (which must be mentioned) is the one that is on point; it is up to you to decide whether the less persuasive rule is worth mentioning. The same differences in persuasiveness exist for rules that come from your states laws & courts versus those from other states. And of course, any ruling from the Supreme Court overrides local precedence on that issue.



          The application should be the simplest part of your writing. If you know the facts, can see the issues, and know the rules pertaining to those issues, the application will write itself. Simply state the issue, state the facts & rules that give rise to the issue, and tell your professor how those facts do or do not meet the requirements laid down by the rules. Then tell your professor whether you think a court would find the D guilty or not guilty based on the strength of the facts and the rules. Even though this seems simple, you must be vigilant to not leave any loose threads; address all elements of the rule and all the relevant facts. Don't try to strengthen your argument by "forgetting" to include elements or facts that hurt your argument.



          The conclusion, as with all writing, is a statement that tells your reader what the result of your arguments is, or what it should be. But, as with all good writing, the conclusion should be redundant. All of your application sections should have already clearly stated the conclusion for each individual issue. I suggest using this final conclusion section only to remind the reader of those previous conclusions, and to resolve any differences between those conclusions, such as when a defendant can be found guilty of a crime, but also may have a defense. Example: "The Defendant met all of the elements of crime X, and can thus be found guilty, but it is likely the court will find that his justifiable defense of Y will prevent that conviction if they follow the precedent set by X v. Y.


The I.R.A.C. method is a great start, but there is much more to think about when writing an essay answer and when implementing the I.R.A.C. method, as found in Intro to Essay Writing.



On April 20 Ming wrote a letter to Lee in which she stated that she was wanting to sell her boat for $10,000 and since Lee had so often admired it, would she be interested in buying it? On receiving the letter the next day, Lee immediately telephoned Ming stating, “It’s exactly the boat I’m after but I would like a few days to think about it. Would you hold the boat for me for a week?” Ming answered “Certainly.” On the evening of April 26, Lee telephoned Ming saying, “I accept your offer and I will bring payment for the boat to your house tomorrow.” Ming replied to Lee “I’m sorry but you are too late. I sold the boat to Cherry earlier today. On hearing this Lee was furious and insisted Ming recover the boat and sell it to her.

Using the ILAC method and relevant contract law and supporting cases, discuss with reasons whether or not a legally enforceable contract exists between Ming and Lee and explain the subsequent consequences of your answer.


The issue that needs to be decided in the present case is that an offer was made by Ming to Lee to sell her vote for $10,000. After receiving the offer, Lee made a phone call to Ming in which Lee asked Ming to hold the vote for a week. Ming became ready to hold the boat for a week however when Lee telephoned Ming, accepting the offer, Ming told Lee that she had already sold the boat with Cherry. Therefore, it needs to be decided if Ming was bound by the promise made by her to hold the board for a week. 



The law provides in this regard the law provides that are promised to keep the offer open is not valid unless it is not supported by separate consideration. It is required in such a case that there is a separate contract and this contract is for keeping the offer open. Such a contract is also known as an option. This type of contract is most useful in case a person is willing to enter into the major contract but wants to have some more time to make further investigations are evaluations. In case, the commitment of some resource like time or money is involved in such investigations, the person who is conducting these investigations may like to have a guarantee that in case the investigations are successful, such persons should be able to reap the benefit of initial expenses made on the investigation or evaluation. Therefore in such a case, the option is a way to encourage this type of initial involvement before making a major commitment. It is also known as keeping one's options open. 



The leading case in this regard is that of Dickinson v Dodds (1876). In this case, Dodds made an offer to sell his house to Dickinson and stated that the offer will remain open until 12 June, 9 AM. However, Dickinson was informed by a third party on 11th June that Dodds has sold the house to someone else. Thereafter, Dickinson purported to accept the offer however Dodds replied that the property has already been sold and it is too late to accept the offer. In this regard the court held that no particular form of revocation is required. The only thing required in such a case is that the offeror somehow conveys to the offeree that he has changed his mind regarding the offer. At the same time, the court also stated that the promise to keep the offer made by the offeree was not binding due to the reason that such a promise was not supported by any consideration. 

In the present case also, Ming had accepted to keep the offer for a week however the offer was not supported by any consideration.



on the basis of the above discussion, it can be said that the promise made by Ming to keep the offer open for a week was not supported by any consideration therefore, the promise is not binding on Ming. As a result, early enforceable contract is not present between me Ming and Lee and Ming can sell the boat to Cherry before the expiry of one week. 


Turner, Chris (2007). Unlocking contract law (2nd ed. ed.). London

Case Law

Dickinson v Dodds (1876) 2 Ch D 46


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