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Service in the interest of Justice

How to make HeadNotes for Law Students


For a law student this must sound familiar; do you know how to write headnotes? Every big law firm will shoot you this question and if you know it, you’ll get brownie points, straight!

Recently, I faced the same question at one of my interviews at the most reputed law firm in Mumbai. It was a really nice experience in knowing what you know and what you don’t.  Interviews are always a good way to know about your shortcomings, isn’t it?

The main purpose of a headnote is to save time to get straight to the law point. It is an index to a judicial decision.

Opinion and comment are never a part of the headnote. The elements of headnote are:

  • Listing of authorities
  • Useful points
  • Clear writing and preciseness
  • Law point or question of law

How to write headnotes:

1 Write the Major Acts first like COI, CrPC, IPC

2 Differentiate the points with – double dash

3 Write full forms first time like Section, full name of the Act and acronym

4 Phrases and words especially for latin terms, you can write them separately

5 Follow the procedures, what comes first should be written first e.g. reinstatement and back wages

6 First letters capital and tell the relevant para’s from which the excerpt is taken

7 Always write in past tense, no present tense, Be grammatical correct.

8 Mention question of law rather than facts. Write with tags where judgment can be found.

9 You can write sub points in the judgment with a,b,c pointers, and Keywords.

10 Avoid using and in the keywords.

11 Create you unique style of writing dates, years, commas pattern will help you differentiate.

12 Take parts from the judgment using held and can use it as it is.

More to come. Stay tuned

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