HOW IS LEARNING JUDGMENT WRITING BENEFICIAL FOR STUDENTS

0
29

 This article is written by Sanya Solanki, ILS Pune

 

Introduction

 

Judgment writing is one of the most crucial skills possessed by a competent judge. It is expected from judges to write down judgments that are coherent and clear for the betterment of justice.

Judgment writing can be seen as a part of legal writing as they both have similarities regarding a few essential elements. Judgment writing and legal research both require clarity, they both should be concise and most importantly both must have a proper structure. But judgment writing is more than a mere opinion. It has binding values and helps in the interpretation of laws. Moreover, judgments given by higher courts in the hierarchy are used as precedents a lot of times. This article aims to analyze why judgment writing is given so much importance during law school and why it is important to learn it.

 

Before I begin with my analysis it is imperative to understand the meaning of the word ‘judgment’

 According to section 2(9) of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908[1] the term ‘Judgment’ means “The statement given by the Judge on the grounds of a decree or order “

A judgment is an order written in such a manner that it renders legal ideas to the reader in an effective manner.

 

Judgment writing as an art

 

Judgment writing is considered to be an art and this aspect has been a popular topic in multiple judicial conferences. 

According to William Wherwall – ‘the object of art is work. In an art, truth is the means to an end. Due to the evolution of technology, plenty of decisions are available at the touch of the button and a lot of judgments are rendered. But ultimately it is upon the judges to reach conclusions keeping in mind some parameters; hence it is considered an art’.

 

Reasoning

 

The main function of a judgment is to inform the parties and the readers the reasons for the decision.

A judgment no matter how lengthy or brief, fails to explain the reason for the decision it is deemed redundant. 

According to Hon’ble Justice Mukharji:—

“The supreme requirement of a good judgment is reason. Judgment is of value on the strength of its reasons. The weight of a judgment, its binding character, or its persuasive character depends on the presentation and articulation of reasons’

Reasons are essential because they reflect a judge’s approach, his grasp of the facts of the case, and indicate the working of his mind. It also tests knowledge and applicability of laws.

As law students who aim to pursue judiciary in the future, it is important to get a grip on judgment writing to enhance a mature personality which will directly reflect in their judgments in the future. 

 

Exclusion of prolixity 

 

An essential requirement of any legal written work is structure. The structure of an essay, a research paper, or in this case a judgment is crucial so that the basic idea is rendered to the readers easily.

A well-written judgment aims to exclude arbitrariness and can enunciate a legal position, analysis, or law clearly. 

An elaborate judgment is usually stressed upon for better understanding but it does not mean it has to include irrelevant information which has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

The apex court in the case of CIT vs. Daulat Ram Rawatmull [2] observed the following-

“The use of extraneous and irrelevant material in arriving at that conclusion would vitiate the conclusion of fact because it is difficult to predict as to what extent the extraneous and irrelevant material has influenced the authority in arriving at the conclusion of facts.”

It is important that a judgment does not include unnecessary repetition of facts and quotations of long precedents. Brevity is a virtue of a judgment and stress is laid by judicial academicians to make law students equipped with judgment writing to reduce the scope of a verbose judgment.

 

Language

 

Language is a mechanism to convey ideas and opinions and it is important that it is executed in a lucid and impressive way. A well-written judgment includes elegant conveyance of facts and laws through expressions, legal maxims, and phrases. It is crisp and is not susceptible to diverse interpretations.

Good command over the English language is imperative for a reasoned judgment and can stand the test of time and the scrutiny of higher forums

For example, the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, received flak for his illegible sentence construction in a 2016 judgment — in Subramanian Swamy v. Union of India & Ors[3]the second sentence ran into 228 words separated by over six commas and 17 “and”. 

Further, it was noticed that whether the crux of the decision could be understood is questionable.

Law school gives a lot of scope of enhancing English language skills through judgment writing competitions and helps law students to get better at it.

 

Bias

 

As human beings, it is quite natural to have certain biases and have opinions on issues. But a judgment should be free from all kinds of bias and obstinacy. In order to make a judgment impartial, it is necessary that principles of natural justice are upheld.

Principles of natural justice are rules of procedure for administrative action which are not prescribed but should be followed to make the order fair and just.

For example, in the case of A. K. Kraipak vs. Union of India [4] the court laid down the principle of ‘Audi alteram partem ‘ which states that no man should be unheard and there must be fairness on the part of deciding authority.

It upholds that a judgment should exclude pecuniary, personal, or official bias towards the matter. 

As lawyers, we often tend to get mixed up in all biases but as a judge, there is no scope for such faults. Judgment writing puts our skills of impartiality to the test and shows how well one can pronounce a fair judgment by being neutral to the subject matter at all times.

 

  

Conclusion

 

 Being a judge is figuring out what the law wants to say and not what they want to say. Judges render justice through clear and comprehensive judgments and orders. The country needs future judges who are impartial and infallible with respect to the delivery of justice and reflect the same through their judgments in a lucid way to the general public. Therefore, judgment writing holds special value for law students who aim to pursue judiciary and want to become a judge

 

REFERENCES

[1] Section 2(9) of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908

[2] CIT vs. Daulat Ram Rawatmull (87 ITR 349)

[3] Subramanian Swamy v. Union of India & Ors AIR 2016 SC 356

[4] A. K. Kraipak vs. Union of India AIR 1970 SC 150

 

Curated by Athira Albert of Kristu Jayanti College of Law, Bangalore.

 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here