Lexicon Legal Opinion A legal opinion is a written statement by a judicial officer, legal expert or a court as to the illegibility or legibility of a condition, intendant or action. The letter can also be said to as an opinion of how the highest court of jurisdiction would resolve the issues expressed in the letter.
How to write a legal opinion Law Help How to write a legal opinion The following will be a guide to writing an effective and legally sound legal opinion.
It will begin by discussing the qualities of good writing which is central to writing a successful legal opinion. It will then move on to discussing the formulation of the legal opinion itself.
Finally it will discuss the use of law in a legal opinion and how to refer to both case law and statute effectively and efficiently. Quality of Writing The primary purpose of a legal opinion is communication of advice to either a lay or professional client. It is therefore of the utmost importance that it is clear and in plain, understandable English.
Every word of the legal opinion should be chosen by the writer because it communicates precisely the advice which the writer intends to covey. It is important to write in plain English wherever possible. A good legal opinion will avoid archaic language and legalese.
Use of legalese will create a barrier between lawyer and client and divert the main purpose of the legal opinion; to communicate. That is not to say that the legal opinion should be over simplified. It will no doubt be conveying specialised legal advice and must therefore be as detailed as the writer thinks necessary.
The use of plain English simply involves saying what needs to be said in the clearest way possible and avoiding unnecessary verbosity.
There are times where technical terms will have to be used if they carry the precise meaning of the advice being delivered. This should not be shied away from. Perfect grammar, punctuation and precision of language are essential. Clarity defines good writing.
A legal opinion will often contain a complicated set of facts which will have to be sorted into specific legal issues and defined in legal terms. Clarity of expression is therefore vital. Clarity of expression can only be achieved through thorough planning and thought.
A thorough plan will lead to a logical structure. Any legal opinion will be conveying a particular point, but that point will inevitably need to be broken down into sections. Each section will culminate in an opinion and each opinion must be fully explained and justified.
Clarity of legal writing also requires conciseness. This does not necessarily imply brevity, but once the point has been made, nothing more need be said. Having said that, completeness and total accuracy is vital and conciseness should not come above giving full and precise advice.
Formulation of a Legal Opinion A request for a legal opinion will usually come in written form. Such a request will usually include any documents in the case.
The request for a legal opinion will include at least one and usually a number of questions which the legal advisor is being asked to address. For a barrister an instruction to provide a legal opinion will come from a solicitor so any response will be written with the solicitor in mind as the reader, but the solicitor will have requested the legal opinion in order to advise the client and therefore the client must be borne in mind as well.
This is clearly the most important question to any client and must be approached with honesty and directness.To identify legal risks that the addressee should consider further and evaluate.
For example, in a cross-border transaction, a legal opinion may be obtained from lawyers in a foreign jurisdiction opining on whether a transaction document is valid and enforceable in that jurisdiction and complies with local law.
Under the disclaimer, write that the opinions provided are based on the law as per the time of drafting the opinion. Moreover, indicate that the opinion is also based on the documents and facts provided. List all the documents that the clients provided for the sake of drafting the legal opinion.
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How to write a legal opinion. The following will be a guide to writing an effective and legally sound legal opinion. It will begin by discussing the qualities of good writing which is central to writing a successful legal opinion.
It will then move on to discussing the formulation of the legal opinion itself. In my opinion there is no fixed proforma to give legal opinion. Giving legal opinion is a delicate task.
Advocates should not blindly follow the words of the client/s. To give legal opinion for property matters “investigation of title” is compulsory. I think Legal Opinion given by an Advocate is not an admissible evidence.