Legal reasoning is a type of problem solving, and is situated within thinking skills, one of the six threshold learning outcomes established under the auspices of the Australian Learning and Teaching Council’s Bachelor of Laws Learning and Teaching Academic Standards Statement. The threshold learning outcomes define what law graduates are ‘expected to know, understand and be able to do as a result of learning’ (Kift et al., 2010, p. 9). The assessment of legal reasoning, and thus problem solving, should receive greater attention in legal education discourse (James, 2011, p. 15, James, 2012, p. 88). The dominant approach for problem-based questions in the discipline of law over the last 40 years is IRAC (issue, rule, application and conclusion). The acronym IRAC is not offensive and potentially instils a positive professional legal identity and is a student-centred approach to problem solving. This journal article documents an incremental approach to IRAC in law where first year students answer a problem-based law question using a grid format before preparing a barrister’s advice.
Recommended CitationBurton, Kelley, Teaching and Assessing Problem Solving: An Example of an Incremental Approach to Using IRAC in Legal Education, Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 13(5), 2016.