The Legal Aptitude section in Law entrances tests your legal “reasoning”, not legal “knowledge". Legal Reasoning is the most significant component of the legal aptitude section, in terms of marks allotted. The other component is Legal Knowledge, which consists of questions based on legal facts and current events related to the field of law. Legal Reasoning questions focus on legal propositions, where a set of facts are given along with a principle of law. The given principle has to be applied to the facts. The section aims at judging a student’s legal aptitude, research aptitude and problem-solving ability. Wherever a technical/legal term is used in the question, the term is explained in the text of the legal principle itself.
Till 2019, CLAT entrance had a separate Legal aptitude section.The Legal Aptitude Section consists of 50 questions in total. This section’s significance lies in the fact that it is the tie-breaker section.
From 2020, there is no Legal Aptitude Section in CLAT, and it has been replaced by Legal Reasoning. This information was shared through a press release by the Consortium of National Law Universities. CLAT 2024-2025 is expected to be conducted in December 2024.
In other Law entrances, like AILET and SLAT, students need to prepare for the legal section. Let us go through the legal aptitude section of CLAT 2019. Students should take note that test-takers were tested on prior knowledge of law/legal concepts as well as on their ability to reason out principle-fact questions. The CLAT 2019 Legal Aptitude section can easily be split into two parts. Of the total 50 questions, the first 35 questions were principle-fact questions, and the last 15 questions were based on legal maxims.
A few questions from the actual CLAT 2019 paper have been discussed in order to give the CLAT aspirants an insight into the latest trend:
Legal Reasoning Questions: The legal principle questions will primarily be asked from the Law of Torts, Law of Contract and the Indian Penal Code. Consider the following question that came in CLAT 2019:
Q. PRINCIPLE: Penal laws provide that whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man or woman shall be punished for rape.
FACTUAL SITUATION: A Police Officer found a man engaged in carnal intercourse with an animal. The Police Officer arrested the man and produced him before the Court.
- Court will punish the police officer.
- Court will not punish the police officer.
- Court will not punish the man for rape.
- Court will punish the man for rape.
Q. PRINCIPLE: Where one of the parties to a contract was in a position to dominate the decision of the other party, the contract is enforceable only at the option of the party who was in a position to dominate the decision of the other party.
FACTUAL SITUATION: A doctor asked his patient to make a payment of rupees Ten Lakh for treatment of his fever. The patient paid an amount of rupees Five Lakh and promised to pay the remaining amount after the treatment. After treatment, the patient recovered from fever. The doctor demanded the remaining amount from the patient. The patient refused to pay.
- The contract is not enforceable without the consent of the patient.
- The contract is enforceable against the doctor.
- The contract is not enforceable as doctor was in dominating position.
- The contract is enforceable against the patient by the doctor.
Legal Fact Questions : The legal fact questions test the student on his knowledge of legal facts. The focus areas for these questions are legal maxims, Indian Constitution, landmark judgments, etc. Consider the following question that came in CLAT 2019:
Q. In pari delicto means:
- Where the petitioner is at fault
- Where both parties to a dispute are equally at fault
- Where the judge is at fault
- Where the lawyer is at fault
Q. Lex loci means:
- Law of a place
- Italian laws
- Domestic laws
- Latin regulations
This was the level of weightage given to the two main Question types, that is, Legal Reasoning and Legal Knowledge, in CLAT 2019.But due to the change in the test pattern, students need to read the official notification for information on CLAT. CLAT organizers have made a conscious effort to make sure that CLAT is not predictable.Although Legal Aptitude section has been deleted for CLAT 2020, but still students should prepare for this section as it comes in other entrances.
- Indian Penal Code
- Law of Torts
- Indian Constitution
- Indian Contract Act
- Current Legal G.K.
- Miscellaneous topics (Labour Law, Family Law, Intellectual Property Rights etc.)
An aspirant must keep the following Do’s and Don’ts in mind while preparing for and attempting the legal aptitude section:
- Avoid making assumptions
- The legal principle should be applied strictly to the given set of facts
- Choose the option which comes closest to the given legal principle
- Do not choose an option based on moral considerations
- Read a newspaper regularly
- Solve as many sample papers/mock tests
- Do not spend more than 25 minutes on the legal aptitude section.
CLAT Legal Aptitude section is one of the most important sections of all. It can be inferred from the fact that in case of a tie, the candidate with the higher score in the Legal Aptitude section will be given preference. Candidates must focus on strengthening their Legal reasoning skills, legal facts and General Knowledge.