Preparing for Judiciary Examination is not about mugging up law lessons. Apart from testing your legal knowledge, this examination lays importance on understanding the thinking and decision making skill of the candidate. One of the crucial parts in judicial service examination is Judgment writing. Writing a judgment means a reason giving process where a judge puts into words the rationale behind his decision. This involves a thorough understanding of the facts of the case, knowledge of the law and court practices, ability to make a fair decision which is good in law and finally to deliver it in a reasonable manner.
Judgment writing in Judicial Exam
Candidates will be asked to write a civil or criminal judgment according to the case materials provided in the question paper. One must keep in mind it is not always the correctness of the decision you make which is being valued, but the format and fairness of the judgment you write. All the details given related to the case, like the facts of the case, the arguments advanced, the details of materials placed, testimonies of the witnesses etc. should be carefully considered while writing the judgment. Making use of legal principles and applying relevant citations will fetch good marks for the judgment.
The format of Judgment writing
Civil judgment and criminal judgment are different in their structure and format. So, make a thorough reading of the facts and understand what kind of case it is. Start the judgment with the name of the court and then the name of the presiding officer followed by the cause title of the case. Start the body of the judgment with the facts of the case in your point of view. In case of civil cases write down the issues framed, both issue in law and issue in fact. Take out each issue and critically analyze it with the arguments advanced from both the side. If it is a criminal case, frame the charges and discuss each charge based on the pleadings given. Compare and elucidate all materials said to be placed before the court and apply the relevant provision of law. The most important part of the judgment is the ratio decidendi where you have to make a decision about the case and give reasons for that decision. This is where the candidate’s articulation skills are assessed in the judgment written. One can either adopt a chronological approach or a thematic approach to reach a conclusion. Either way, a logical sequencing of the trial is necessary as far as a good judgment is concerned. Here is an outline of how a judgment should proceed:
Summary of the prosecution/ plaintiff’s case
Summary of the defendant’s case
Issues to be determined
Evidence and factual findings
Argument of prosecution or plaintiff on the first issue or charge
Argument from the side of the defendant
Evidence from either side
Judges evaluation of the evidence and the arguments
Applicable Law on each issue
Statement of law
Case law in support
Application of law to the facts
Finding of the guilt
Reasons for the decision
The sentence or the order passed
Style of judgment writing
Writing as much as possible in plain English language is the best way to nail a judgment writing task. At the same time avoid repetitions and long sentences which could cause difficulty in understanding the point. A good judgment explains the losing party why they lost, so each and every nuance of the case could be explained in the simplest manner. Including footnotes can help you to avoid dragging the judgment into a lengthy one. Even though the substance is more important than the style, following a single style of writing will make the judgment look neat and tidy
If you are able to establish a logical and coherent judgment outline at the beginning itself the rest of it will be an easy work. Develop a good mastery of the factual issues to be resolved and then conduct a thorough analysis of the evidence presented in the light of the applicable law. Finally, articulate the reasoning behind the judgment by giving importance to the rule of fairness and equity.