Legal Education:  A Need To Reform Role of Regulatory Bodies

"Education" Button on Modern Computer Keyboard.
“Education” Button on Modern Computer Keyboard.


Anciently, the legal education in India at the ‘Vedic’ age founded on the notion of ‘Dharma’. Although there was no formal education to impart law. Dharma was rudimentary impressive for every living individual. Training was self-acquired in issues concerning with ‘Dharma’. The king either used to dispense justices themselves or appoint judges and assessors to manage it.

Legal education is the fundamental, which only would generate such responsible and responsive social lawyering. Legal education furnishes law students for submitting different roles in society for dismissing various law jobs, the variety and extent of which are always increasing in the modern democratic society. Example- policy makers, administrators, lawyers, etc. it is a very important function of legal education to build a social vision in a developing country like India.

The imparting of legal education in India had started during the British period much before India gained its independence in 1947. Law course were started at college, Calcutta, Elphistone College, Bombay and at Madras. In the mean time, legal education dilated and several institutions at various places began imparting it. The soul and primary aim of legal education at the time was to furnish and equip law students so that they could help the lower courts and high courts in the administration of justice.

With the down of independence in India in 1947, the whole scenario concerning legal education started undergoing transformation. The supreme courts have replaced judicial committee of the privacy council as the highest court in India. From during last several years now there have been a lot of causes in the area of legal education and it has been very much considered, discussed and debated subject. Since the independence, two developments of results are perceptible in the country in the field of legal education. One there has been an extraordinary increase in the number of students studying law as well as in the numbers of law school teaching law.

History of Legal Education:

Legal Education aims at understanding the functioning of law in society, as training for administrators and civil servants and also for legal practitioners.

In the beginning, to become a vakil, knowledge of Persian language was necessary but after 1826, English replaced Persian. At that time, no principles of law were taught; what taught were only rules and regulations.

It was only in 1885 that law classes were made a permanent feature in Bombay, Calcutta and Madras. In 1857, study of law was declared a permanent part of each university. Many prominent people of India began their careers as mukhtars.

A number of commissions and committees were appointed between 1917 and 1958 to examine legal education but nothing noteworthy was done. Law colleges did not have a high esteem and this was not a preferred option for students.

Causes that led to the stagnation of legal education are:

  • Lack of financial resources
  • Lack of adequate books
  • Lack of teaching material
  • Deterioration of teaching standards and lack of teaching staff incentives.

In 1966, the legal education touched its lowest level, when the compulsory apprenticeship and the bar examination on procedural subjects for every new entrant were removed.

Earlier, the LLB degree course was of two years but it was not sufficient to cover important branches of law. Then it was extended to three years. Now, under the new scheme, this course is prescribed for five years which extensively covers the subjects of English, economics, history, sociology, political science, history of courts, legislature and legal profession in the first two years along with the compulsory subjects of law like contracts, special contracts, torts, public administration of law, evidence, family law, constitutional law, limitation and arbitration, property laws etc.

The Bar Council of India has been entrusted with the functions of promoting legal education and laying down the standards of each education in consultation with the university imparting such education and the state bar council. It also has the function of recognizing the universities whose degree in law shall be a qualification for enrolment as an advocate and for that purpose inspecting the universities. Hence, the BCI should take necessary steps to introduce uniformity in syllabus of LLB course throughout India.

CLAT, common law admission test is a centralized test for admission to prominent National Law Universities in India. This test is taken after 12th grade for admission to graduation courses in law. The test was first conducted on 11 May, 2008. There are eleven law schools, which admit students on the basis of scores obtained in CLAT.

Role of Regulatory Bodies In Legal Education

Central and state government, Universities Grant Commission, Bar Council Of India and respective universities control legal education in India. For many reasons, the status, quality and standard of legal education is not sufficient. A handful of attempts were made to alter curriculum of legal education by the BCI. On the guidelines of BCI, several national law schools have seen established, but the result is not adequate.

A very notable and remarkable development in the area of legal education took place when the bar council of India was set up under the Advocates Act 1981. Under the act, the bar council enjoy very significant function in relation to legal education. Under Sec. 7 of the Advocates Act, one of the most remarkable function of bar council of India is “to upgrade legal education and to lay down standards of such education in discussion with the universities in India passing on such education and the state bar council.’’

The sight of legal education is to lay out justice-oriented education essential to the realization of the various enshrined in the Constitution Of India. At the same time, it also prepares professionals provided to meet the new challenges and dimensions of globalization. These aims will be attained in reality by considering the following suggestions:

  1. As our nation state is a member of WTO agreement it is obligated by the general agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), which will give rise to tough competition between our traditional and foreign lawyers. To handle the situation and to compete, it is essential to impart quality legal education as well as global legal education with the support of advances in information technology and telecommunication to our law students.

  1. Bar Council of India, initiated under sec. 4 of the Advocates Act, 1961 is the highest body for legal professionals in India. BCI had limited role in promoting legal education and set down minimum standards for students who are authorized to practice. But it has neither the power under the Advocates Act 1961 nor the expertise to encounter the new challenges both privately and globally. It is thus, necessary to establish a new regulatory body vested with power to deal with all features of legal education having consent of the government.

  1. As the socio economic conditions in India are different from other countries, the global legal education will be bared and digested only by the richer few. The necessary steps should be taken in these fields as per the local conditions of our country to find out have it will be made digestive and adoptive to majority students of our country.
  1. There has been earning demand in various packets of the counter to provide lecture in vernacular language. Several universities permit the law student to write their examination in vernacular languages and even issue vernacular version of the question papers.

These aspects are not taken notes of by the regulatory bodies of India, no views are found in these regards.

In state of Maharashtra vs. Mahubhai pragmatic vashi:

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed:

‘’The need for convincing and well organized legal education is absolutely essential reckoning the new trend in the world order, to meet the ever grooving challenges. The legal education should be able to meet the eves growing demands of the society and should be thoroughly equipped to cater to the complexities of different situations.”

The primary role of regulatory bodies in promoting legal education is worth appreciation and it is due to these efforts, which has not shacked the faith of people in judiciary. Effective reform in Indian legal education will require energy, imagination, and devotion, nor can such reform alone resolve the dilemma in which the Indian legal order find itself. In the recent few years are save Indian institute of technology, Khargapur comes out with new course on the law related technology and computer. No other institutions than IIT, IISC, and ISI are the best in their intellectual in this fields then the developments in law will be unimaginable. As it is the need of hour to be prepared for global challenges of the world. It is also necessary to be firm on our values of justice, democracy rule of law, equality, local requirements etc. let me conclude with the thought of Mahatma Gandhi, who said that-

‘‘Let us keep our doors and windows open for all the winds to come in and at the same time keep our feet firm from being swept away.”

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