How to tackle Legal Reasoning questions?

The importance of questions on legal reasoning in any law school entrance exam can never be underestimated. However good one may be at English, Mathematics or General Studies, without a mastery over the section on legal reasoning, the journey to clear the entrance exam would certainly be more arduous and tiring. The section is so important that CLAT from this year has enhanced its focus on this particular section. The number of questions would now be 50 instead of 40 a year back. That is 1/4th of the total number of questions in the entrance paper. Surely such cannot be neglected and any denial of its importance is a potential disaster.

So how should one approach the questions under this section? Do we need to mug up information like what is defined under what and what sections of ABC statute or act? Do we need to read the bare acts in detail and mug up all the information we come across? Do we start googling every concept we come across and make detailed notes on them? The answer to all these questions is in negative. These are strictly the things one shouldn’t fall prey to while preparing for this section. Remember the purpose here is not to test your legal knowledge but your legal acumen. Those who clear the exam will have five long years in law school and an awfully long career ahead to understand the nitty-gritty of law. What is required for the purpose of exam is to think analytically and think with a legal acumen inside your head.

So what is this legal acumen? Is it some book or some formula that needs to be perfected? Sadly, it is none. It is something, which is ingrained in psyche of every person, and it would be a misnomer to say that people don’t have it. It is ingrained in every person’s head. The task is to bring it out, hone it and make it perfect. We all have a sense of right and wrong, just and unjust. Here we think on precisely these matters only but not from a moral viewpoint but a legal one. Remember. Do not fall pray to arriving at answers from a moral or ethical point of view. Law only prohibits that which is prohibited by it. Think from a legal standpoint.

CLAT has specified that no prior knowledge is required for this section. This does not translate into your abstinence from tackling this section altogether and leave it for the time of examination. CLAT only wanted to say that a person wouldn’t be tested henceforth on his legal knowledge. For eg: Questions like murder is defined under which section of IPC have become obsolete now. Instead questions would be asked on a principle-fact basis. A set of facts would be provided to you along with a set of principles. Your job is to analyze these facts in the light of principles provided and nothing else. For instance: If the principle states that murder is no wrong and the facts say that A has murdered B, then as per the facts and the principle A has committed no wrong. Do not go by the assumption that murder is prohibited and hence answer should affirm the guilt of A. Questions have to be answered strictly in tandem with the principles provided.

The key to success in this vital section is identification of range of problems asked and a careful strategy whereby you solve a lot of such questions. This would sharpen your legal acumen and help you in thinking analytically. So work hard and stay true to your cause.

Wish you all the very best for exams.


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