I'm a brick-and-mortar engineer who's forced by circumstance to study a lot of law, particularly Administrative Law, Constitutional Law, and EU Law. I find the procedures and control flows (if A is true, then do B or refer to Article C; while D is happening, keep doing E) a bit overwhelming to understand, especially in the context of the EU's array of institutions with complex mutual dependencies.

I'd therefore like to diagram them to be more readable and easy to understand and memorize, and play with applying it to hypotheticals. Is there a known standard to do so, or, at least, guidelines for best practices?

1 Answer 1


Not really. There are very specific subfields that have that kind of practice (e.g. oil and gas title opinions, or trust and estates inheritance rules). But none of the fields you mention have any well established "industry standard" methods.

This isn't to say that no one uses diagrams, and some textbooks use good ones. But there isn't any widely adopted norm or practice regarding how to do it.

Also, one should be wary of trusting any specific set of diagrams or charts too much. Law is not physics or chemistry. In the law it is not, as a general rule, safe to line up several rules of law in a chain of reasoning and expect this to produce the correct answer.

Generally, even when a rule of law seems clear, it is only safe to assume that it will continue to apply in factual situations where the law has been applied before and produced a specific result.

  • 1
    Ah, so it is like Physics and Chemistry. Like I said, I'm an engineer. Textbook math and physics are very nice, but reality is far messier and more complicated, and you soon learn to, as you said, "assume that [the theory] will continue to apply in factual situations where [said theory] has been applied before and produced a specific result". Each incremental deviation away from tried-and-true, highly precedented methods carries an immense workload of "debugging" as unexpected things break down or interact in ways they aren't supposed to.
    –  aarek-eng
    Jun 9, 2021 at 9:22
  • 1
    @aarek-eng Ha! Fair! Honestly, some of the better illustrations are in commercial law school study guides and are often informed by standards used in construction project management. If anything the flow of diagramming expertise flows into these areas of law from other fields rather than the other way around.
    – ohwilleke
    Jun 9, 2021 at 20:50
  • 1
    Belated thanks! That's a good clue! Now I know what colleagues to bother.
    –  aarek-eng
    Jun 27, 2021 at 15:49

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .