Courtroom Prayers : A Handbook on Legal Drafting

Reviewed By : Km. Vidushi & Team NJLRII

"Courtroom Prayers: A Handbook on Legal Drafting"

Author: Anita Bafna (Advocate-on-Record, Supreme Court)

Genre: Legal Drafting Handbook

In "Courtroom Prayers", a non-fiction book, Anita Bafna, an Advocate on Record at the Supreme Court of India, presents an insightful and comprehensive guide on legal drafting. The inclusion of Shannon Hale's insightful quote, "I'm writing a first draft and reminding myself that I'm simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles," at the beginning of Anita Bafna's "Courtroom Prayers" adds a profound layer to the book's theme on legal drafting. Hale's metaphor captures the essence of the drafting process, emphasizing the initial effort required to lay the foundation for a more elaborate and refined final product.

By incorporating this quote, Bafna not only pays homage to the creative and iterative nature of writing but also draws a parallel to the meticulous work involved in legal drafting. The analogy of shoveling sand into a box aligns with the notion that drafting is a fundamental step in the legal process, akin to gathering raw materials before constructing a robust legal argument. 

This handbook meticulously covers the drafting of crucial court documents for the Supreme Court, High Courts, and District Courts. Bafna's approach is practical, incorporating her legal drafts with landmark judgments from the Supreme Court and various High Courts, offering a valuable resource for newcomers in the legal field.

The book is structured into four parts, each focusing on a specific court level. In the first part, Bafna delves into the intricate art of drafting documents for the Supreme Court. This section covers a spectrum of pleadings, including writ petitions (public interest litigation), special leave petitions (both civil and criminal), transfer petitions, review petitions, and other essential documents. Bafna's emphasis on practical guidance, coupled with references to landmark judgments, enhances the reader's understanding of the nuances involved in Supreme Court proceedings.

Moving on to the second part, the book provides a detailed guide for drafting petitions in High Courts. From writs of habeas corpus to applications for anticipatory bail, Bafna navigates through a variety of documents crucial for High Court matters. Notably, the inclusion of a guide on drafting criminal writs for stay on arrest, replies to writ petitions, and applications for quashing of chargesheets adds practical relevance, making this section an invaluable resource for aspiring advocates.

The third part of the book is dedicated to drafting legal documents for District Court matters. Bafna covers an array of documents such as additional written statements, applications under Order 7, Rule 11, replies to applications for recalling witnesses, replies to discharge applications, divorce petitions, rejoinders to written statements, and replies to review applications. This comprehensive coverage ensures that readers are equipped with the necessary tools to navigate the specific requirements of District Court proceedings.

The final or miscellaneous part of "Courtroom Prayers" explores the art of drafting replies to legal notices. Bafna provides practical insights into crafting effective responses, acknowledging the importance of this skill in legal practice. The inclusion of a glossary at the end serves as a quick reference guide to legal terms encountered throughout the book.

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One of the standout features of the book is the author's commitment to supporting junior lawyers. By compiling her legal drafts with landmark judgments, Bafna not only imparts theoretical knowledge but also illustrates its practical application. This unique approach bridges the gap between theory and practice, making the book an invaluable resource for those navigating the intricacies of legal drafting.

Anita Bafna's "Courtroom Prayers" is not only informative but also affordable, with a price tag of INR 500. This makes it accessible to a wide audience, particularly benefiting junior lawyers and law students who are often on a tight budget. The author's passion for empowering the next generation of legal professionals shines through in this handbook, making it a must-read for anyone aspiring to master the art of legal drafting in the Indian legal landscape.