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How to Prepare and answer Case Law based questions?

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How to Prepare and answer Case Law based questions?. It is pertinent for the students to know “How to answer a question which is based on a case law?”. It is definitely not a rocket science. However, many students are still little unsure as to how to answer a case law based question. In this article, I would like to share my thoughts on answering case studies. Now check more details for “How to Prepare and answer Case Law based questions?” from below…..

How to Prepare and answer Case Law based questions?

Where are the questions taken from?

The Institute publishes a separate book titled “Select Cases in Direct and Indirect Tax Laws- an essential reading for Final Course” which contains the summary of recent case laws which are of utmost importance to enable students to appreciate critical issues in interpretation and applying provisions to practical situations. The relevant book for the November 2016 CA Final exams is the August 2015 edition. Apart from this, some additional significant cases are published as part of Annexure to the RTP.

How to prepare for case law based questions?

Case law based questions are not exactly theory questions. They involve understanding the facts, analysing, applying the judgement and synthesising. When preparing, students must read the facts of the case and identify the subject matter of litigation. After identifying, the facts must be correlated with the applicable law to reach a logical and rational conclusion.

When reading case laws, students must also read the relevant sections dealt with by the particular case. is not only helps them understand the judgement better but also leads to appreciating the interpretations made and the judgement reached thereon.

Students must read the cases a couple of times, to understand the facts and decision rather than trying to memorise it. Only when they understand and appreciate the rationale of the Court ruling, they will be able to apply it effectively in problem solving.

While preparing students must try to remember the names of the parties involved, i.e. the appellant and defendant name and whether it is decided by Supreme Court, High Court or AAR. ough it is not compulsory to quote the name, it is highly recommended. Whenever there is doubt, it is advisable not to quote than to quote a fictitious name or the wrong case. When a student quotes the name, it gives him/her the advantage of answering a question with authority i.e. with the backing of a decided case.

How to answer case law based questions?

An ideal answer for a case study can be in the following form:

First Paragraph

In the first Para, the name of case law and a gist of the provisions of the law on which the question is based need to be mentioned. For this, students must be able to recollect the relevant case law and the applicable provisions of the Act on reading the question. For example, they can begin their answer by stating “e facts of the case are similar to the case of _____”. Further, they must briefly discuss on the interpretation of the provisions by the deciding authority and the crux of the decision. When certain principles have been laid down in the decided case, they must briefly state the principles. Quoting the case will earn brownie points, however, they should be cautious not to quote a wrong or a fictitious case. If they do not remember the correct citation, they can alternatively state the facts and the judgment and begin their answer as follows; “In a decided case, the Supreme Court / High Court has held that ____”.

Second Paragraph

In the second Para, the issue of the given case must be connected with that of the decided case and a justification must be provided for reaching the said decision in light of the provisions of law or interpretation made by the Court.

Third Paragraph

In the third Para, students must conclude the answer by stating whether or not the contention of the assessee/ Revenue is valid. For example, “Based on the decision of the Apex Court in the case of ________, the contention of the assessee is tenable/valid” or “In view of the decision held in the case of _____, the process carried out by XYZ amounts to manufacture”. Generally, the question clearly states the matter on which students need to advice, based on which they can draft their conclusion.

General Tips

  • Always support your answers with proper reasoning like provisions of the law or judicial decisions.
  • Wherever, possible quote the section number and case law provided you are confident about it. It certainly adds value to your answer. However, when in doubt, do not quote sections/ case laws.
  • Tax laws undergo frequent changes. Ensure that you stay updated with the amendments applicable to your examination.
  • Be clear with the concepts and make short summary of cases as they help you during your last minute revisions.
  • Always answer to the point. Answers must be commensurate with the marks.
  • Avoid short forms like AC, DC, CEA, CER, CCR, etc. as they are not acceptable and may cause confusion.
  • As law can be interpreted differently, ensure that when you answer in your own words, the meaning does not change. A reasonable command over English is required to convey our thoughts in a like manner to the examiner.
  • Read suggested answers, practice manuals and revision test papers to get familiar with the pattern in which answers should be written and the expectations of the examiner. Also, read the examiner comments, to avoid common mistakes made in the past.
  • No matter from which book you read, nothing can replace the bare Act. Refer to bare act to understand the flow of provisions and to gain clarity.
  • Ensure that you read all the Institute’s publications [Study Material, Practice Manuals, RTP, Supplementary Material, Select Case Laws and Mock Test Papers]
  • Appear/ solve mock test papers to gain writing practice and speed.
  • Case law based questions certainly help you save time as they can be answered in comparatively lesser time.
  • Answer the question that you know the best at first as it boosts your confidence and creates a good impression.
  • Revise as many times as possible before the exams.

Article Author 

CA. James John Britto R.
First Rank Holder – CA Final, November 2015

Source : ICAI

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