Prompt words: Justify, Evaluate, Analyse, Discuss


These types of questions ask you firstly for an opinion. Then, by asking you to ‘justify’ it, they’re asking you to use evidence and an explanation to support your opinion.

Evaluate, critically evaluate, analyse, discuss

All of these ask you to examine an institution within the legal system, and determine whether it is an effective part. You need to start off with a broad statement. This statement will be very broad, and you will generally say that the institution you are analyzing is both effective and ineffective. Let’s say we’re responding to this question, which asks you to “Evaluate the role of the parties in the adversary system of trial”. You would start off your response by saying “While there is definite room for improvement, the parties play a vital part in the success of the adversary system of trial.”

Next in your evaluation, you write about the strengths of the system and any weaknesses that correspond to them. If a question is worth eight marks, you’ll probably use four strengths and four weaknesses. Discuss a strength, then a weakness, then a strength, then a weakness, and so on. Let’s say you’ve been asked to evaluate parliament as a law-maker. Make sure your strengths and your weaknesses correspond – in other words, that they link to each other. For example, a strength of parliament is that it can act quickly to change the law if the need arises. However, a weakness is that parliament doesn’t always act quickly, because it is only in session for a certain number of days per year.

It’s really important that you discuss just as many strengths as you do weaknesses. Examiners like you to have a balanced discussion in your responses. Because of that it’s hard for you to come to a really strong overall conclusion about an aspect of the legal system. It means that finally, when you do conclude, you state a very balanced opinion, in a similar manner to the way you started off your response.