How to Write a Case Study in Criminal Law

What Is A Case Study?

A case study is a research methodology often applied in life and social studies. The investigation covered through a case study is very intensive and systematic, whether studying a whole community, an individual, or a group of people. When writing a criminology case study, it is important that the research be qualitative. This is because case studies involve gathering large volumes of data, which makes it hard to organize.

Types of Criminal Law

Criminal law is in two types; felonies and misdemeanours. A felony is a serious crime, such as arson, robbery, rape, dealing drugs, manslaughter, and murder. In most states, felonies attract a sentence of at least one year, depending on the nature of the offense and where the felony crime occurred. A misdemeanour is a lower level offense, such as petty theft, traffic offenses, and minor assaults. Usually in most states, a misdemeanour attracts a sentence not exceeding one year.

What Is A Law Case Study?

A case study in criminal law is an intensive and detailed unit, which studies a social, group, or individual phenomena. As a student, you are required to conduct a study on an already determined case. Furthermore, a criminal law case study investigates a problem and assesses alternative solutions based on evidence. A case study can be used to establish the success or failure of a law case. Through writing a case study, the student understands the proceedings of a court of law and how judges solve cases.

One law can be used to solve different cases, hence the need for undertaking a case study. It is important for law students to learn how to conduct case studies as it is effective in line with their career choices. Writing a case study increases the student’s critical thinking skills and also improves their situation analysis. Moreover, it aids students find solutions and answers to critical problems. When writing a case study in law, you should include the defendant and plaintiff and write the paper in narrative form.

What is the Purpose of a Case Study?

The general purpose of writing a case study is to describe a situation (case), such as an institution, organization, business, or person in detail. A case study also identifies key issues in the case and analyzes the case through relevant theoretical concepts in your discipline or unit. Finally, a case study recommends a course of action for the specific case, especially when writing problem-solving case studies.

How to Effectively Choose a Case

For your case study to be useful, you have to choose the right case to analyze. The first step when ding this is to consider the purpose. In determining the purpose, consider the learning points you want to illustrate in the case, your audience and how you will present the case study. An ideal case study will allow you to illustrate the usefulness of the idea being passed across. But, even with proper content, the language, style, and tone of the case study determined how it is received.  When presenting or writing the case study, approach it from a direct expression style; one that emphasizes the larger part of the case in relation to the concept being put forward.

Currency (Up to date)

In the modern current and dynamic world, you will achieve more by using up-to-date information. For example, in a business environment where there is need to predict the demand for products under development, business owners need information on current consumer preferences for them to make the right decision. When writing a case study, among the factor to consider is the age of the case study. However, this does not mean that old case studies are not useful. The point is to know the appropriateness of a current case, and when to use concepts from an old case.


Often, researching case studies involves delving on a single concept. So, the complexity of the chosen case will determine whether and how the idea is put across effectively. Where a suitable case may be too complex, you can subdivide the case study into several sections and selecting the most suitable one.

How to Write a Criminology Case Study

Choose an Exciting Topic

For you to have an easy and interesting writing process, you need to pick an interesting topic for your case study. If your professor wants you to choose the topic, the good news is that you are not limited to choosing a criminal law case from your country of study; you can choose a case from any part of the world. Use the opportunity to demonstrate that you have excellent knowledge of criminal law and an ability to gather and analyze large amounts of information. It also shows that you are open to new and difficult challenges.

You need to be extra careful when choosing a topic. Most often choose a particular precedent in criminal practice and analyze it carefully. Try and establish a middle ground between popular court decisions and those unknown to most people. If you choose to write about a popular court decision, it may be difficult to find new information. On the other hand, if you write about a little known case there might not be enough science materials to prove your argumentation and analysis.

Case Study Structure and Format

There are differences between the standard five-paragraph academic essay and a case study. However, the basic rules still remain where you need to undertake a thorough analysis of sources, have the correct source design, and a clear structure. Let us look at what should be in a case study in criminal law paper.


After choosing a particular case in criminal practice, the next step is to look at the background of the case. You can choose to analyze the economic and political reality, the latest developments in criminal law, and other issues that could affect the development of the case under study.

The Main Characters

Characters in a criminal process case are probably people, enterprises and legislative bodies and their activities in the structure of a particular case. Generally, when describing characters in the case study, include what you wrote in the background information and provide an analysis of some issues that led to the development of a specific event. You should do this not only from the viewpoint of external factors, but also from the standpoint of the situation of the main characters.


It is now time to analyze the problem. After looking at the background and the main players, you probably have an idea of the problem. Do not be alarmed if several problems appear, it will only improve the value of your case study. Additionally, several problems will help you carry out a comprehensive analysis instead of a one-sided one. Therefore, look for as many problems as you can, and do not be afraid to venture inside and look for deep reasons. At the end of the analysis, you will have a chance to remove irrelevant or nonexistent problems and only use the major ones.

The Decision Adopted

The solution is the final point of the case study. In a criminal process it is the judge’s decision in a criminal court in a specific situation. You should carefully analyze the solution and look at it from a different point of view. Do not hold back in looking at precedents for law braking, abuse of power cases, or weaknesses during a court ruling. All this information will be useful when writing the next part when providing your solution on the case.


In this section, you should show the outcomes obtained following the decision, such as illegal imprisonment or the court failed to take into account crucial evidence, which led to issuing of a lenient sentence. This is essential to comprehensively understand the heart of the matter and it will also help in developing your thesis statement later on.

The Probable Solution

This is the section you begin your creative and analytical work. You have already identified weaknesses in the process, established the problem and analyzed the outcomes, which may be appealing or not very appealing. Your job now is to provide a solution. However, keep in mind that the solution should not be based on your opinion but on legislative sources, scientific literature and a thorough analysis of precedents.

Sources You Need To Use

In writing a criminal law case study, you should use two types of sources; legislative acts and scientific materials to analyze your case. 

Legal Use Cases

The entire legal system within the structure of the Anglo-American legal system is built on precedents. In your case study, precedents should be your primary source of information. Lucky for you, you no longer have to look for information in dusty archives, just find the information in Google. If your topic is balanced, you will find a relevant precedent without much difficulty.

After locating the precedent, analyse and read it carefully. It would be best to print and read it. Take a colored felt pen and highlight all the points that seem important to your case. In the precedent you are reading, look at the background, characters, the thought process of the judicial figure, and the weaknesses in the process itself and the decision making process. Focus on how balanced it is, the legislative acts used by the judge and their applicability in the case, the thoughts of the jury and why, and what could convince them. In other words, look for answers in your chosen case by asking yourself as many questions as possible. When you are through, you will obtain many tips on what to write in your case study.

Scientific Materials

The original sources you use are good, but you will need to support your views with scientific research. To achieve this, you should find as many scientific articles as you can that relate to the case you are analyzing. Follow this process when working with scientific articles:

Read the article and take note of the proofs, arguments, and thoughts of the author. You can take notes using a computer to avoid using too much paper.

Find a minimum of four relevant articles and evaluate them. After obtaining a strong analysis of scientific and precedent sources, you will have the full picture. You are now left with the task of writing the result in the proper order and proofread to ensure everything is in order.

The Case Study in Criminal Law Writing Process

When you reach this stage, you can now start writing your case study paper. There is no particular order to present your thoughts, just write them as they appear in your head. This will make it easier for you to make the thoughts more consistent and logical. However, here is the correct case study structure to use when writing an academic paper.


In a case study introduction, you should briefly touch on the topic and state your thesis. If you are not sure about your thesis statement at this point, skip it and come back to it later after completing the rest of the paper.

The introduction is meant to set a clear stage, which you will achieve by putting all that you plan to explain or solve in the paper. When writing a case study in criminal law, you need to raise an essential question that cannot be tackled in one or two sentences.

The Main Body

When you start writing content in the main body of the essay, refer to the thoughts you wrote down before. Ensure that each paragraph talks about one idea. If you want to write about a new thought, start a new paragraph and write about it.

The first paragraph should talk about the background of the case you are analyzing. Which are the things that make the case so pressing? Why should your audience know about the topic? What is the importance of looking at the case from several points of view? All these should be included in this paragraph.

The second paragraph of the main body should look at data collected during interviews, real-life situations, expert thoughts, or statistics in the form of a case study literature review. Here, you should demonstrate the lessons you have learnt from the interviews and provide solutions that are suitable for the topic. You can use citations minimally as an overabundance of citations can affect your paper’s originality or deprive it of your input.

The third paragraph should offer probable outcomes. But, do not demonstrate that you can cope with the case or teach others how to do it. When someone reads your case study, they should be overwhelmed by the problem to make them look for a way out by themselves. Furthermore, an excellent case study can trigger an interesting conversation among readers.


At this point analyze your thoughts. Remember to go back to your thesis statement if you left it pending. If you had already developed a thesis statement, restate it here briefly.


Work on a references list. An interview is not the sole reliable information source; therefore, create a list of credible sources of data. It is also advisable to include appendices if your case study has notions and terms that are difficult to understand.


Now that you are almost completing your paper, take time and proofread it. Start by checking grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes. Then reread the entire paper to check if there are logical transitions between paragraphs. It is also good to have another person read the case study to pick out things that you missed.

Mistakes to avoid when writing a Case Study in Criminal Law

When writing a case study in criminal law, ensure that you capture all essential details. Obviously, you should spend enough time analyzing to create an excellent paper. Avoid the following mistakes and learn how to fix them.

Forgetting to Narrate your Story

Stories are important aspects of case studies. They capture the reader’s attention and allow the author to perfectly express himself. Do not forget about story telling when you write a case study in criminal law. Always write in the third person when you write your case study to make your writing believable. Your story should have a hero, where you write about the challenges they encounter. State the solution and remember to include the results.

Lacking Focus

It is important to be focused when developing a case study. You will achieve this by setting a goal of your expectations in your final results. Have a clear theme and a standpoint. Besides, find out about the views of the characters you are writing about to improve the focus.

Leaving out the Background Information

Your case study must have enough information to suit the reader. Collect and gather your facts before you start writing the case study. With the relevant background information, you will better understand the case and handle it in the best way possible. Lacking relevant background information may lead you to unpleasant results.

Failing to Know your Audience

When you have an idea about who your audience is, you will be careful in presenting relevant and necessary results. Knowing about your audience will allow you to write words that will intrigue their interest; in this case, you professor is your audience.

In conclusion, when you write a case study in criminal law, be extra careful with your words. Carefully research issues, analyze and provide possible solutions. As much as the process may be tiresome, the end results will be worth your hard work.

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