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This article is written by Yashika Saxena, an intern at Legal Vidhiya


In civil proceedings, judgment writing is an essential aspect of the legal process as the final outcome of the case is often determined by written judgment. The judgment not only resolves the legal disputes between the parties but serves as a legal precedent that future courts rely upon while deciding similar cases. Judgment writing requires the judge to be thorough, unbiased, and have a clear understanding of the law. This article will discuss the importance of judgment writing in civil proceedings, key elements of a judgment in civil proceedings, and factors to consider while writing judgments.

Keywords: Judgment writing, Civil proceeding, Written judgment, Legal disputes, Legal precedent,

What is judgment and why is judgment writing important?

Judgment writing in civil proceedings refers to the process of writing a document that summarizes the court’s decision, reasoning, and conclusions. According to the court’s ruling in the case of Shakuntala Shukla v. State of Uttar Pradesh[1], the definition of a “judgment” can be described as a judicial viewpoint that narrates the case, providing information about its nature, the court’s approach to resolving it, and the underlying reasons for the decision.

Roslyn Atkinson, J., Supreme Court of Queensland explained that the purpose of writing judgments is to spell out the judge’s thoughts and clarify the decision to the parties involved. communicating the rationale behind the decision to the public and providing grounds for consideration by the appellate court.[2]

The importance of judgment writing lies in the ability to ensure fairness, promote understanding, and uphold principles of justice. A well-written judgment shows the basis for the decision taken by the court and allows parties to comprehend the rationale behind the outcome and provides a clear basis for an appeal in case where a party is not satisfied with the judgment. Judgment primarily is meant for the parties involved but High Court & Supreme Court cases serve as precedents to guide future bench. Judgments are also read by other judges, lawyers, law students, legal academics, media, and the community at large.

The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 has provided guidelines for judgment writing however these are not exhaustive and it grants a considerable degree of discretion to choose their writing style, manner of presenting facts, discussing evidence, and providing reasons for decisions. It is important to ensure civil proceedings are conducted in a fair, transparent, and just manner to foster trust in the legal system and uphold the rule of law.

Key Elements of a Well-Written Judgment

The judgment contains several key elements that contribute to its clarity, coherence, and overall effectiveness. The key elements of a well-written judgment are: 

Factual Background of the Case:

A judgment should begin with presentation of the relevant background of the case. Providing background provides an overview of events and circumstances and allows readers to understand the context of legal issues.

Identification and Discussion of Legal Issues:

The judgment should identify and articulate the legal issues at hand. This involves analyzing the legal arguments presented by the parties and determining the core questions that require resolution. Each issue should be discussed separately, allowing for a focused examination of the applicable law.

Analysis of Evidence and Legal Principles:

An essential aspect of a well-crafted judgment involves examining the evidence and pertinent legal principles of the case. The judge must thoroughly evaluate the evidence presented by the parties, assess its credibility, and consider applicable legal precedents, statutes, regulations, and constitutional provisions. Justice Sunil Ambwani stated thatThe soul of a judgment is the reason for arriving at the findings. They are also known as ‘the opinion’ of a judge. The judge must give his reason for believing the evidence merely stating that he believes the evidence is not enough.[3] This analysis should be thorough, logical, and objective, considering the specific facts of the case.”

Applying Law to Facts

A well-written judgment depends upon the application of various legal principles to the facts of the case. It is the judge’s responsibility to explain how the law applies to the factual circumstances. A Judge is responsible for composing the operative portion of the judgment, where they express their verdict on the presented issue, the judgment should possess coherence, systematic structure, and logical organization. It should allow the reader to follow the facts and arrive at a logical conclusion grounded in legal principles.[4]

This section demonstrates a clear and logical connection between the legal analysis and the outcome.

Reasoning and Conclusions

The reasoning process is a crucial component of judgment writing. The court should present a clear and logical chain of reasoning, demonstrating how the analysis of the facts, legal principles, and evidence led to the conclusions reached. The conclusions should be concise, accurate, and consistent with the analysis presented. The purpose of a well-crafted judgment is to bring closure to a dispute and avoid any unresolved issues with no room for further recourse or revisiting the matter in court.

Writing Style and Structure of a Judgment in the Indian Context

Clear and Concise Language

The judgment should have clear and concise language. It is advisable to refrain from using unfavourable examples, unnecessary quotes, and lengthy explanations. A composed judgment, free from harsh criticism, offensive remarks, and sarcasm, fosters respect for the court. When using plain language, it is essential to use average-length sentences, and avoid long and complex sentences instead use short and simple sentences that are easy to straightforward and easy to comprehend. [5]

Organization and Structure of the Judgment

A well-structured judgment enhances readability and comprehension. To achieve this, the judgment should follow a logical and systematic organization, allowing the reader to navigate the facts, legal principles, and reasoning in a cohesive manner.

Proper Citation of Authorities and Legal Precedents

Indian judgments should cite relevant authorities, such as statutes, case law, and legal precedents, to support the legal analysis and reasoning. Accurate citation ensures transparency and helps maintain the integrity of the legal system.

Use of Headings and Subheadings

Organizing the judgment using headings and subheadings makes it easier for readers to follow the flow of the judgment. It also aids in locating specific sections or issues of interest.

Avoidance of Unnecessary Jargon and Legalese

Judgment writing in the Indian context should strive to use plain language, avoiding unnecessary jargon and legalese. This promotes understanding and accessibility for all stakeholders involved.

Important Elements of Judgment

Title and Citation:

The judgment should include a title and citation, the court where the case was heard, and the date of the decision.


The introduction contains a brief overview of the case including the legal issue present in the dispute. A judgment should begin with a clear recital of the facts of the case, the cause of action, and the manner in which the case has been brought to the Court. It must answer the questions as to how, when, where, what, and why, which is advice given to judicial cubs. Stating what roles plaintiffs and defendants had in the trial, and what issues, the Court has to decide and answer, giving sufficient information to the reader to proceed with reading the judgment.[6]

Findings of Fact:

Judgment should include a detailed account of facts present at trial, including witness testimony, documents, and other evidence. The Judge must state the facts explicitly and consciously as they are found and the reasons for the decision and the documents admitted in the evidence must find their mention along with oral evidence by which they were proved. [7]

Conclusions of Law:

The conclusion should solve the legal issue between the parties and provide an analysis of the law and how it applies to the facts of the case. “Conclusion” is based on the determination of the application of the rule to the issue along with the decision vis-à-vis the specific facts. This allows stakeholders, especially members of the bar as well as judges relying upon the case in the future, to concisely understand the holding of the case.[8]


The judgment should include an order, which sets out relief granted to the parties, it should be clear and concise and should specify the amount of damages if they are being awarded.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Bias or Personal Opinions in the Judgment

Judges must guard against the influence of personal biases or opinions in their judgments. Justice McLachlin in ‘Judicial Impartiality: The Impossible Quest?’ argues that judges should not ignore or suppress their subjectivity but instead recognize and acknowledge it. By accepting their human subjectivity, judges can gain a deeper understanding of how it influences their decision-making process and achieve the level of impartiality required in the judicial task.[9]

Excessive Use of Legal Jargon

Overuse of legal jargon can hinder understanding and alienate non-legal professionals.

Lack of Clarity or Logical Reasoning

Judgments should be clear and logically reasoned. Lack of clarity on facts reasoning or logical inconsistencies can lead to confusion and undermine the credibility of the decision and lead to overruling of the judgment.

Failure to Address All Relevant Legal Issues

A comprehensive judgment should address all relevant legal issues raised during the proceedings. Neglecting to address important aspects of the case may result in an incomplete or unsatisfactory judgment.

Inconsistent or Contradictory Statements

Judgments should avoid inconsistent or contradictory statements, as they may undermine the coherence and credibility of the decision.


In Indian civil proceedings, judgment writing holds immense importance as it shapes the outcome of legal disputes and maintains the integrity of the justice system. By understanding the purpose, adhering to best practices, and avoiding common pitfalls, judges can produce well-written judgments that ensure clarity, coherence, and justice. Continuous improvement in judgment writing skills, along with timely delivery of judgments, strengthens public trust and confidence in the Indian legal system.

[1] Shakuntala Shukla v. State of U.P, SCC OnLine SC 672

[2] Shakuntala Shukla v. State of U.P, SCC OnLine SC 672

[3]The Art of Writing Judgment,” IJTR Web Journal, available at https://ijtr.nic.in/webjournal/3.htm , last seen 20/05/2023

[4] Shakuntala Shukla v. State of U.P, SCC OnLine SC 672

[5]The Art of Writing Judgment,” IJTR Web Journal, available at https://ijtr.nic.in/webjournal/3.htm , last seen 20/05/2023

[6]The Art of Writing Judgment,” IJTR Web Journal, available at https://ijtr.nic.in/webjournal/3.htm , last seen 20/05/2023

[7]The Art of Writing Judgment,” IJTR Web Journal, available at https://ijtr.nic.in/webjournal/3.htm , last seen 20/05/2023

[8] Shakuntala Shukla v. State of U.P, SCC OnLine SC 672

[9] Beverley McLachlin, ‘Judicial Impartiality: The Impossible Quest?’ in Ruth Sheard (ed), A Matter of Judgment: Judicial Decision-Making and Judgment Writing (Judicial Commission of New South Wales, 2003) 17.


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