Legal Drafting

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What is legal drafting?

Legal drafting, in its essence, is the combination of incorporating legal advice and fact into the format of a language. As the name implies, what stands out here is the legal advice provided by a legal expert or a lawyer. And it is a written skill acquired or improved upon by continuous practice. For this reason, and within the legal field, the process of writing legal documents is known as drafting. The main purpose of legal drafting is to provide accurate and true statements (based on legal advice) for the benefit of the client.


What are the laws related to drafting?

  • The Companies Act, 1956 and 2013
  • The Constitution Of India
  • The Indian Stamp Act, 1899
  • The Registration Act, 1908
  • The Indian Contract Act, 1872

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The Principles of Drafting


The Principles of Drafting

As with any legal drafting format, a draft represents the outline of the document and all the important information it conveys based on the best legal advice.

Accurate arrangement of facts:

The facts of the case must be arranged in a manner to provide the best representation of legal advice.

Use of legal terminology:

It is important to use legal terms while drafting legal documents to ensure that everyone involved understands the terms and conditions stated in them.

Legal drafting format:

The legal drafting format should include the presentation of information on a standard quality paper 20 cms in length and 30 cms in breadth, with margins 4 cms at the top and left side, with 2.5 to 4 cms on the right and at the bottom. The other characteristics of the format should include

  • The pages of the draft should be numbered.
  • The opening points should be numbered with roman numerals (i, ii, iii) and main points (1,2,3, etc.)
  • The page number to be printed in the top-right corner of each page (spaced 2.5 cms from the top and right side).
  • Each paragraph in the document must be numbered and should be indented 5 spaces.

Checklist rules for drafting

Legal drafting is a skill and art, improved upon by regular practice. The individual (or the legal expert) who drafts the documents is responsible for presenting information in clearly and concisely, with the appropriate legal terminology, to represent the interests of the clients, as per the legal advice shared by him/her.

  • Legal Provisions: The first item on the checklist is to ensure that the legal representative who drafts the document must include all legal requirements in the same. Additionally, the rules of legal drafting must be followed with emphasis on case-law.
  • The right terminology: To convey the right information clearly and concisely, the legal expert or draftsman must use the right terminology.
  • Self-explanatory: The document should be drafted in a way that is self-explanatory to any person who is educated and competent enough to understand the subject matter.
  • No negative terms or language: It is important to not include any negative terms or language in the legal document.
  • The proper order of paragraphs: The legal draft must be prepared in the logical order, divided into paragraphs that are properly marked ( with numbers, letters, etc), that is self-explanatory, concise and clear, with the right terminology.
  • Schedules, enclosures or annexures: If required the legal drafting should include schedules, enclosures or annexures which can be referred to when communicating a legal point. It is not required for the schedule to be included in the main part of the content, but simply for reference to provide more clarity on the draft.
  • Reader-friendly: It is important to draft the legal documents in a way that is easily understood, for which it should meet all the conditions and requirements of legal drafting.

Do’s and Don’ts of Legal Drafting

Legal drafting, in its essence, is the combination of incorporating legal advice and fact into the format of a language. As the name implies, what stands out here is the legal advice provided by a legal expert or a lawyer. And it is a written skill and art, improved upon by regular practice. The individual (or the legal expert) who drafts the documents is responsible for presenting information clearly and concisely, with the appropriate legal terminology, to represent the interests of the clients, as per the legal advice shared by him/her. For this reason, there are a few do and don’ts for legal drafting.

DO’S

  • For improving the quality of the draft, a group of words should be reduced to one.
  • One simple word for a group should be formulated.
  • Shorter sentences should be written
  • Add periods
  • Express the whole idea in few words
  • Prefer active over passive
  • Make verbs work
  • Choose the right word
  • Know the motive behind writing
  • Write from the reader’s point of view
  • Outline (mental or written)

DONT’S

  • Avoid moving around about constructions
  • Avoid unnecessary repetitions
  • Avoid using words containing similar sounds
  • Avoid cumulative negative statements
  • Avoid typing mistakes

FAQs

Certain documents need to be notarized especially if they are to be presented in front of a notary. Documents such as real estate deeds are required to be authorized in the presence of a notary designated person. However such documents can only be presented and enforced in a court if they have notarized and stamp duty has been paid, or in some cases, documents with e-stamps (based on the states where e-stamping is allowed). However, for some agreements and legal documents, they are mandatorily required to be presented in front of a notary who will notarize unless it is not required by law (or as per that state)
Yes. This is because the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 states that the stamp duty that is paid acts as a way to track all transactions, as well as evidence for the closure of an agreement. It can also be used as evidence in a court of law.
As per section 12 of the legal services Authority Act, 1987, legal services are those that include free of cost services provided to weaker sections of the society. It also involves spreading awareness on legal issues, by providing legal education through camps, media (digital & media), as well as arranging Lok Adalats to sort out disputes and disagreements in an amicable manner before such issues are raised in court. NALSA also follows various steps towards social action litigation for the weaker sections of society. The services also include providing beneficiaries with their entitlements as per various government schemes, policies, and legislation.
As per section 12 of the Legal Services Authority Act, 1987, legal services are those that include free of cost services provided to weaker sections of the society :
  • Scheduled caste/tribe members.
  • Women or children
  • As per article 23 of the constitution, a human trafficking victim or a beggar.
  • Physically challenged people or those who are mentally ill.
  • Aa victim of a mass disaster, ethnic violence, caste atrocity, flood, drought, earthquake or industrial disaster; considered to be people of underserved want.
  • An industrial workman;
  • In custody, including custody in a protective home within the meaning of clause (g) of Section 2 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956(104 of 1956); or in a juvenile home within the meaning of clause(j) of Section 2 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 1986 (53 of 1986); or in a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home within the meaning of clause (g) of Section 2 of the Mental Health Act, 1987(14 of 1987); or
  • A person in receipt of annual income less than the amount mentioned in the following schedule (or any other higher amount as may be prescribed by the State Government), if the case is before a Court other than the Supreme Court, and less than Rs 5 Lakh, if the case is before the Supreme Court.
The income category (per annum) for being eligible for availing free legal services in different states in India, as prescribed under section 12(h) of Legal Services Authority Act, 1987 Act for availing free legal services, are as follows;
  • Andhra Pradesh: Rs. 3,00,000/-
  • Arunachal Pradesh: Rs. 1,00,000/-
  • Assam: Rs. 3,00,000/-
  • Bihar: Rs. 1,50,000/-
  • Chhattisgarh: Rs. 1,50,000/-
  • Goa: Rs.3,00,000/-
  • Gujarat: Rs.1,00,000/-
  • Haryana: Rs. 3,00,000/-
  • Himachal Pradesh: Rs. 3,00,000/-
  • Jammu & Kashmir: 1,00,000/-
  • Jharkhand: Rs. 3,00,000/-
  • Karnataka: Rs. 1,00,000/-
  • Kerala: Rs.3,00,000/-
  • Madhya Pradesh: Rs.1,00,000/-
  • Maharashtra: Rs. 3,00,000/-
  • Manipur: Rs. 3,00,000/-
  • Meghalaya: Rs 1,00,000/-
  • Mizoram: Rs. 25,000/-
  • Nagaland: Rs 1,00,000/-
  • Odisha: Rs. 3,00,000/-
  • Punjab: Rs. 3,00,000/-
  • Rajasthan: Rs.1,50,000/-
  • Sikkim: Rs. 3,00,000/-
  • Telangana: Rs 1,00,000/-
  • Tamil Nadu: Rs. 3,00,000/-
  • Tripura: Rs.1,50,000/-
  • Uttar Pradesh: Rs 1,00,000/-
  • Uttarakhand: Rs. 3,00,000/-
  • West Bengal: Rs 1,00,000/-
  • Andaman & Nicobar Islands: Rs. 3,00,000/-
  • Chandigarh UT: Rs. 3,00,000/-
  • Dadra & Nagar Haveli UT: Rs: 15,000/-
  • Daman & Diu: Rs 1,00,000/-
  • Delhi (General - Rs. 1,00,000, Senior citizen - Rs. 2,00,000, Transgender- Rs. 2,00,000)
  • Lakshadweep: Rs. 9,000/-
  • Puducherry: Rs. 1,00,000/-

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