A legal statement of facts is a valid document in the eyes of the law. It sets its focus on a particular situation, and backs the statement using facts. This document serves a single purpose, so it is important that the document be direct, to the point, brief and easy to comprehend. In other words, you want to create a statement of facts that conveys to the court all they need to know about the case in a concise and logical manner. This document should take this information and present it in a compelling, and persuasive manner, benefiting your party.
Key Considerations When Composing a Legal Statement of Facts
Essentially, this is a document that logically outlines the facts, and demonstrates you or your clients position, and does so utilizing a professional tone. It’s always good to keep in mind that while a judge knows the law well, he or she is familiar with your particular case. As such, you wish the court to see things in your favor.
We’re going to start with a basic rough draft, so set yourself into a quiet room, and begin to gather what you’ll need to draft your statement of facts. If you compose your statement of facts well, the court will be receptive to your position, and that is what you are looking to accomplish. Lets begin by assembling what you may need for your document, so start by making up a rough draft, beginning with the basics as listed below.
- Subject or topic
- Material facts
- Evidence to back up the facts
- Names of those involved
- Signatures if possible
Remember, this is a logical, professional document, so start by simply jotting down the basic facts. For instance, you want to start with the subject, date, include only the facts which will support the statement, evidence which support the facts, name all who are involved in the case and how they are connected to the case. Finally, if you can obtain the signatures of all involved, that would be a plus.
Once you have your basic elements nailed down, look at the events of the case, and place them in chronological order. Compose this statement in a professional tone avoiding your subjective opinions, and to the benefit of the party involved. Honesty and accuracy are paramount in this type of document, so carefully review as you go. You want to ensure that you provide a strong argument in favor of the party involved.
Once you have this basic draft composed it’s time to go over it choose the arguments you wish to make, ensuring that you only use facts that are material to the case. Try to examine the situation, and if possible, find the holes in the argument of the opposing party. In other words, statements of fact are written by both parties, so you want yours to stand out, and benefit you, not the other party. You are writing this to serve you, to persuade the judge, based on the facts alone and how they are presented, to favor your side of the story.
As you are writing this to persuade, take a look at all you have collected and decide which facts are the most prominent, and use that to your advantage. Make your statement of facts not only easy to understand, but interesting as well. The final draft should be as brief as possible, edit out all immaterial facts and immaterial details. Immaterial data in your statement of facts can actually weaken your arguments, so keep it concise and don’t wander off into the land of needless facts.
Putting it All Together
- Well defined, clear thesis
- Strong, purposeful introduction
- Structured arguments backed by facts, backed by evidence
- Organized, easy to comprehend structure
You’ve gathered your information, collated, are familiar with the events and have made certain you have omitted immaterial, needless facts and data. Now comes the organization, the act of putting it all together. Remember, you want to persuade, not put people to sleep so consider your statement of fact brief as an interesting narrative, a compelling short story of sorts.
A good method of organizing your facts is to create a strong introductory paragraph by making a summary of your most important facts. For instance, you would compose your topic sentence of your introductory paragraph to include your most important facts. The remainder of the paragraph would contain strong, supporting details.
You want your document to relate to people, to relate to the court, and one of the best ways to accomplish this is to compose your statement of facts in the form of a narrative. Concentrate on making your document interesting, immersive, and styled so that it benefits your case. To begin, lets take a brief look at the elements of a narrative:
This dictates where and when the narrative occurs.
Name the main characters and how they are connected to your case
What issues are at hand
What is your goal
Main events that occurred in the story
In other words, remember the 5 W’s of great storytelling: Who, What, Where, When and Why. So take a look at the above elements, and consider your document. First, we have a setting where the action took place and when. Next, we look at the characters involved and explain their relationship to the case.
Remember to call the ‘characters’ by their names, and just not refer to them as pronouns ‘he’, ‘she’ or ‘it’. We do this while placing emphasis on the most important facts first, with the less important facts forming the background or atmosphere of your ‘story’. As this is a legal brief, you may consider it beneficial to act as the narrator using third person perspective.
Finally, give careful consideration to word choice. The words you use should have a purpose. Words that are overused can take the edge off of your composition. You want this to compel the court, so look for a good thesaurus and consider the option of replacing any overused words with those that have a stronger impact, such as action verbs, adjectives and adverbs. Add interesting phrases to keep it from becoming too dry. Also, add sensory details to assist in describing events, and explaining facts to the court.
Proofread the document
Once you have composed your document it is time to go over it so all errors are eliminated. Proofread the document and make any final edits. You want your document to be free from any grammar, spelling or punctuation errors. If you don’t feel confident editing, simply use one of the online grammar checkers available, or hire a professional proofreader/editor. Next, consider giving the document to others to read and see if they can see any weak spots in your argument, or accidentally omitted facts before you compose the final draft.
Make certain that once you are finished, if there are any required documents which support your statement of facts, be sure to copy and attach them to the final draft. Such documents may include a police report, medical report, or any documentation which will help you prove your case. Also, it’s a good idea to keep copies of all documents for yourself as well.
Legal Statement of Facts Template
Legal Sworn Statement Template
Your statement of facts is persuasive and designed to assist the court in seeing your position. Therefore, when you compose the document, remember to keep it concise, clear and free from immaterial data. This document should relate to people, be interesting and immersive. Above all, it should be an honest and actual account of the events involved. Create a strong introductory paragraph, back up your position with facts, and back up those facts with evidence if possible. Avoid emotional language, keeping the tone logical and professional, but not boring. Compose it as you would a narrative, always placing the emphasis on the pertinent facts, while avoiding needless data.