tax law case summary rubric

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Case Summary Rubric:

I. Issue

Typically one or two sentences will suffice. I should be able to read this section and know immediately why there is a case in the first place. This section should capture the primary area of contention in a concise manner. Avoid very minor considerations that are not central to the case.

II. Courts Involved

State the highest level of court the current case was heard in. Also, state if the case was heard previously by lower courts.

The hierarchy of courts (from least to most authoritative) is as follows: Tax Court of Canada -> Federal Court of Appeals -> Supreme Court of Canada.

III. Relevant Law

The important section(s) of the Income Tax Act that apply to the case. (You may copy and paste the list provided in the case)

IV. Facts

Capture the main facts of the case. Assume that I have not read the case and by reading this section of your summary I should have a grasp of what happened. Bullet points are encouraged provided that each point is a coherent sentence. Avoid minor details that do not have a bearing on the case. Here would be a good spot to identify the respondent(s) and appellant(s) if you have not done so already.

V. Decision

Here is where you should include why the judge(s) reached the conclusion that they did. The biggest challenge here is ‘translating’ a judge’s decision into simple, concise ideas. Typically, the judge(s) refer to older cases that they applied as the basis of their decision in the case at hand. Again, you will have to paraphrase why the judge(s) felt these cases are relevant when making their decision.

Not every detail a judge provides is critical to analyzing the case. It is your job to extract the important bits and put them together into a meaningful summary. You may encounter cases where there are multiple judges and a minority of them do not agree with the overall ruling of the case (often summarized as ‘Dissenting opinion’). If you encounter this, focus on the decision-making of the judges who are in favour of the overall conclusion of the case. In other words, disregard any dissenting opinion from other judges. Make sure to conclude with the final outcome of the case (i.e. the appellant’s case was dismissed with costs, etc.).

VI. Grammar/Spelling/Presentation, etc.

Do not include this as a heading in your assignment!

Please do a proofread of your assignment before submitting it. The expectation is not that your summary is completely error-free; however, your assignment should be easy to follow.

If grammar, spelling, or presentation issues become a distraction from your overall submission, you will not earn full marks here.

Other important notes:

– Do not copy and paste right off of Knotia (or any other source). Everything you write should be written in your own words. An exception of this is the tax law covered by the case.

– If you do use a source outside of Knotia or the Income Tax Act, it is important you reference it accordingly.

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