QUALITY OF LEGAL EDUCATION IN INDIA: CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS

 

This article was written by Raj Krishna and Jagriti Pandey, both students of CNLU. 

INRODUCTION

The quantum of development in any society of any part of the world largely depends on the kind of laws that society abounds in and therefore laws can be a very potent tool in social change. A comprehensive study and knowledge about the laws and matters related to it is imperative to contribute to the progress of a nation. But, it is very important for the laws to be modified from time to time to meet the needs of changing society. Legal education is a tool to educate individuals about the theories, philosophies and principles of law. It also helps in scrutinizing the various changes occurring in the society and synchronizing the laws according to these changes. The fundamental objective of providing legal education is to produce such individuals, who are skilled in the application of laws and can apply these skills in the practice of advocacy, research in law.

In ancient as well as medieval India there was no such formal recognition of legal profession and its education. Vakilsduring the Mughal era were usually the client representatives. However, it was only during the British era when the legal profession and its education got a formal recognition. The Regulating Act of 1773 laid down the essentials and guidelines which an individual needs to follow in order to be enrolled as advocate on rolls. A Bachelor’s degree in Law [LL.B.] is the basic thing which an individual need to have in order to be designated as an Advocate. Law Schools play an important role in making of a lawyer. Therefore, we need to ensure that these institutes get special attention of the governmental authorities because it’s usually the law graduates who become future leaders and social engineers, for eg: Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru, Sardar Patel etc…[1]

Traditionally there was Three Years Undergraduate Law Courses (LL.B.) in which students got enrolled after completion of their graduation from any institution. However, due to the fall in standard of legal education certain reforms were introduced. Specialized Law Universities were established in order to raise the academic standards of legal profession in India. This decision was taken in the year 1985 and thereafter First National Law School was set up in Bangalore which was named as the National Law School of India University. This law university was meant to offer a multi-disciplinary and integrated approach to legal education. NLS offered a five years law course upon the successful completion of which an integrated degree with the title of B.A., LL.B. (Honors)” would be granted. Post success of NLS Bangalore, more than 15 National Law Schools has been established all over the country till date. The University Grants Commission approved one-year LLM courses in India on 6 September 2012 and the guideline for the same were notified in January, 2013.[2]

  1. TYPES OF LEGAL COURSES OFFERED IN INDIAN UNIVERSITIES

In India, following courses are offered by the law schools:

  1. Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) – The LL.B. is the most common law degree offered and conferred by Indian universities which has duration of three years. Almost all law universities follow a standard LL.B. curriculum, wherein students are exposed to the required bar subjects.
  2. Integrated undergraduate degrees – B.A. LL.B., B.Sc. LL.B., BBA. LLB. B.Com. LL.B. These degrees are mostly offered in the autonomous law schools having duration of five years.
  3. Master of Laws (LL.M.) – The LL.M. is most common postgraduate law degree which has duration of one/two years.
  4. Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
  5. Integrated MBL-LLM/ MBA-LLM. -Generally a three years double degree integrated course with specialization in business law.

III. PROCESS OF ADMISSION FOR THESE COURSES

As of 2018, admission to LLB and LLM courses in most of the autonomous law schools [NLU’s] in India is based upon performance in Common Law Admission Test (CLAT). [3]However, National Law University, Delhi and other private autonomous law schools conduct their own admission tests like AILET, LSAT etc…

In most of the traditional universities, admission is done on the basis of an admission test to the constituent law college or a common admission test for its affiliated colleges. Some traditional universities and affiliated colleges also admit students on the basis of merit in the preceding examination.[4]

 

CHALLENGES IN LEGAL EDUCATION AND WAY AHEAD

The field of law has a primary relationship with the society. This is the main reason why every member of the society irrespective of caste, class, profession should know his/her basic rights and duties and in order to make the common masses aware about their rights and duties the tool of legal education is needed. Legal education encompasses not only preparing legal professionals in the field of law but also for encouraging research and spreading awareness amongst the common masses. Any institution can achieve success only if it moulds itself according to the changes in the society. The same fact is applicable on the institution of legal education in India. The present way of teaching is archaic and ramshackle, to put it bluntly. This is a reason why there is a considerable amount of “teaching” but no substantial “learning”. Over the years, the same system has been carried forward without any transformation in the true sense. This needs to be changed if we want to compete with the top global law schools. We need to make our teaching methodology more practical and dynamic.

Further while talking about challenges before legal education in India, we have to deal with two arenas of legal education namely – a) spreading general legal awareness amongst the masses b) the imparting of professional legal education.

A large chunk of Indian population is unaware of the recent legal developments and the process of admission in these Indian Law Schools. Thus we need to have general awareness programs among the masses so that they no longer remain ignorant of the recent legal developments.

Apart from that we also need to improve the infrastructure and faculty standards of the existing law schools [More than 1200 today]. This too will help us in improving the standards of legal education in India and would be a step in right direction.

[1]Dr Justice A.S. Anand, H.L. Sarin Memorial Lecture: Legal Education in India- Past, Present and Future, EBC (July 9, 2018, 6:00 p.m.), http://www.ebc-india.com/lawyer/articles/9803a1.htm

[2] Id.

[3]Clat, Clat Possible (8th July, 2018, 11:30 p.m.) http://www.clatpossible.com/exams/.

[4]Law Entrances Exams in India,Clat Possible (8th July, 2018, 11:32 p.m.) http://www.clatpossible.com/exams/law-entrance-exams/ .

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