1st Edition

Problem Questions for Law Students A Study Guide

By Geraint Brown Copyright 2022
    264 Pages 40 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    264 Pages 40 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    Law students rarely have experience answering problem questions before university, and lecturers concentrate on teaching content rather than the exam skills needed. This book bridges the gap on how to transpose knowledge and research into structured and coherent answers to problem questions while earning a law degree.

    Aimed at undergraduates, international students, and foundation and SQE candidates, the book gives a step-by-step study guide on how to navigate what a problem question is asking you to do. It deconstructs the process using examples from a range of different fields of law, providing essential guidance from research and critical thinking to style and tone.

    Including a range of examples to test yourself against, this is an indispensable resource for any law student who wants to tackle problem questions with confidence.

    PART A – About Problem Questions

    Part A aims

    Understanding CLEO questions

    Understanding Problem Questions

    The CLEO stages

    Understanding the CLEO process

    A non-legal work through

    PART B – Researching & Writing

    Part B aims

    Identifying CLAIMS in a PQ

    Researching skills

    Who’s who in cases

    Performing searches

    Positive, negative and neutral judgments

    Database searching

    Turning research into LAW

    Order, order


    Signposting language for CLAIM

    How to write the CLAIM section

    End of CLAIM Chapter Questions


    Writing the LAW section

    Signposting language for LAW

    End of LAW Chapter Questions

    Alternative note-making styles


    Writing the EVALUATION section

    Signposting language for EVALUATION

    End of EVALUATION Chapter Questions



    Hedging language

    Signposting language for OUTCOME

    Writing the OUTCOME section

    End of OUTCOMES Chapter Questions

    SQE writing

    Writing SQE1 answers

    Writing SQE2 answers

    PART C – Good Academic Practice

    Part C aims

    Plagiarism & types of academic misconduct

    Citing and Referencing



    2-3 book authors

    4+ book authors

    Contribution to a book


    Journal Articles

    Online Journal articles


    Case law

    UK cases post-2001

    UK cases pre-2001

    Cases from international jurisdictions

    UK statues

    Parts of an Act


    Directly quoting from websites

    Directly quoting audio from websites

    Judges’ abbreviations

    Directly citing judges

    Judges citing judges

    Quotations within quotations

    Adapting sources to suit sentence structure

    Long passages from previous judgments (case, book and journal)

    Law report abbreviations

    Styling and Formatting

    Subsequent citations of a case

    Adapting judgments to suit

    Abbreviations in case names


    Other forms of assessment

    Written assessments


    Short answers

    Long answers

    Case summary

    Case notes

    Online tests

    Gap fill

    Cloze gap fill




    True/False/(Not Given)

    Multiple answer

    Free-text entry


    Timed questions

    Reflective tasks

    University VLEs

    Leaflets and guides

    Oral assessments

    Law clinics




    Video presentations


    PART D - Resources

    Student answers with lecturer commentary

    Better Problem Question answer by PARTY

    Poor Problem Question answer by PARTY

    Better Problem Question answer by ISSUE

    Bank of Problem Questions

    Using a statute as Problem Question research

    Using primary sources to answer a Problem Question

    Creating a CLEO plan from statute research

    Identification sheet

    Planning sheet

    Researching sheet

    Flashcard ideas

    Template writing sheets

    PART E Answers

    PART A – About Problem Questions

    PART B – Researching & Writing

    CLAIM answers

    LAW answers

    EVALUATION answers

    OUTCOME answers

    PART C – Academic Skills

    Further Reading


    Geraint Brown is the Coordinator of English for Specific Purposes and a tutor of English for Academic Purposes at Swansea University. Since 2008, he has taught UK and international students who are about to start their LLMs at Southampton University, as well as master’s and undergraduate law students at Swansea University where he is the Coordinator of the Law Pre-sessional course. He specialises in developing, teaching and delivering medical English, English for Sports, English for Academics, English for International Lecturers in UK universities and, of course, legal English. He is Chair and a panel member of the Academic Integrity Committee deciding on cases where students have been suspected of committing academic misconduct and unfair practice, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).

    "As a qualified CELTA English teacher and an international PhD candidate studying and teaching world trade law in the UK, it is really a pleasure to witness the publication of such a brilliant book on legal academic English. Owing to the instructive content and the clear structure, Geraint’s book has made not only a practical course material for any English tutors but also an easy-to-follow self-study guidance for law students who are seeking language tutorials. The English learning habits of non-native speakers appear to be well considered by the author. Consequently, I strongly recommend the book to any legal English tutors and international students who are about to be engaged in a law-related course in an English-speaking country."

    Dr Cherry Kaiyuan Chen

    "Brown’s book aims to fill this gap in available resources, breaking down the process of unpacking a PQ task and constructing a coherent answer. The writer is an EAP practitioner and therefore this book foregrounds language as integrated in content. This is typically not the case in previously published legal EAP resources, as Candlin et al. noted (2002:302). The book is therefore clearly distinguishable from other available writing guides from law content specialist authors, which often provide only a few cursory, separate notes on language. It also presents law content and sections on referencing and study skills, (e.g., researching law databases). Overall, this book is focussed on academic language and literacy development for law within a process writing approach. [T]he benefit of an EAP practitioner’s specific insights within a specific academic domain is a defining feature of this publication. In conclusion, this book fills a clear gap in the market as a language in content approach to a specific subgenre of academic law writing. Its greatest value derives from how it comprehensively and expertly deconstructs PQ tasks, walking students through the process of writing. Language is integrated and fully contextualised within content, and explanations draw on the EAP author’s insider knowledge about the genre in practice. It is suitable for non L1 students and beginner/returning law students and provides for a range of law study contexts and areas of law."

    Neil Adam Tibbetts, University of Bristol