The Legal Reasoning section is the EASIEST section in CLAT. That’s right. Easiest! Students fall in love with the Legal Aptitude section because it’s interesting and addictive. Once you have figured out what makes this section so easy, it will make a huge difference to your CLAT score. You can score a complete 50 in the CLAT Legal Aptitude section in straight 25 minutes. If done in the right way, you will attain the 50-on-50 score in no time.
The Legal Aptitude section is very unique and relevant to CLAT for two reasons- First; it’s the tie breaker section. Second; it can be mastered very quickly.
Is CLAT testing your Legal Reasoning or Legal Knowledge?
Before you end up spending endless hours and needless resources on preparing CLAT’s Legal Aptitude section, you should know that, this section is only going to test your legal reasoning. Legal reasoning, as the name itself should tell you, is not about knowledge, it’s about reasoning. Your knowledge of law is not being assessed.
Let us consider a question from the Actual CLAT 2017 paper:
Principle: Assault is causing bodily injury to another person by use of physical force.
Facts: Rustum while entering into compartment of a train raised his fist in anger towards a person Sheetal, just in front of him in the row, to get way to enter into the train first, but did not hit him. Rustum has:
- Insulted Sheetal
- Not committed an assault on Sheetal
- Committed an assault on Sheetal
- Rightly showed his anger
Correct Answer: (2)
In the given question if you were to apply legal knowledge, you will choose Option (3). The definition of assault in the Indian Penal Code specifies that, assault does not include an application or use of physical force. However, a strict application of the given legal principle will lead you to the correct answer. So, DO NOT APPLY your legal knowledge in the legal reasoning questions.
A blind application of legal knowledge in such questions will mislead you to an incorrect option. Just apply the principle mechanically. Do not let your sense of right or wrong guide your attempt. Its simple- Just apply the principle to the factual situation.
So, is Legal Knowledge Useless in Legal Reasoning Questions?
A familiarity with legal principles can go long way in boosting your speed. When you know a legal principle before hand, you won’t waste time in trying to figure out or understand the given principle. Of course, your comprehension skills will also play the role of a catalyst in improving your accuracy. You gain this familiarity by practicing lots of previous year papers and mocks. Since a lot of questions get repeated, this exercise will prove very beneficial.
Practice is the key!
Go through as many previous year papers as you can get your hands on. Make a list of the principles that the students have been tested on in the past. Read all of them and then skim out a set of principles that have been repeated time and again. It goes without saying that there will be completely new set of principles every year. Be prepared to handle the unexpected.
How should a Legal Principle be applied?
Correct application of the legal principle to the given factual situation is paramount. Pick an option that comes closest to the given principle. The ideal approach is to read the options first, and then the principle, and weed out the options that do not clearly have any application of the principle straight away. More often than not, there will be only one option that applies to the principle - then you do not even have to read the facts - you can choose this option right away. In order to master this technique, pick up some past years questions and PRACTISE!
The aim is to get the correct answer as quickly as possible. You should not spend more than 30 seconds on one question. Aim for that fine balance between speed and accuracy.