File Copyright Online - File mutual Divorce in Delhi - Online Legal Advice - Lawyers in India

Legal Education System in India

Legal education is essentially a multi-disciplined, multi-purpose education which can develop the human resources and idealism needed to strengthen the legal system. A lawyer, a product of such education would be able to contribute to national development and social change in a much more constructive manner.- S.P.Sathe

In modern developing societies, law, legal education and development have become interrelated concepts. According to Babylon's Dictionary, "Legal education is the education of individuals who intend to become legal professionals or those who simply intend to use their law degree to some end, either related to law (such as politics or academic) or business. It includes: First degrees in law, which may be studied at either undergraduate or graduate level depending on the country; Vocational courses which prospective lawyers are required to pass in some countries before they may enter practice and Higher academic degrees". Historically, legal education did not receive any serious priority or attention in India. After under-graduation, in the law departments of universities, courses were taught as three-year programmes resulting in the award of an LLB degree. With the establishment of national law schools this mediocrity was challenged and it was successful in attracting students to the study of law.

This paper will study in detail the pre and post independence situation of legal education along with the aim and challenges faced by the legal education in our country.

In the present era of information capitalism, economic liberalization and WTO, legal profession in India has to cater to the needs of a new brand of legal consumer/client namely the foreign companies or collaborations. In the changed scenario, the additional roles by law professionals to play are that of policy planner, business advisor, negotiator among interest groups, experts in articulation and communication of ideas, mediator, lobbyist, law reformer etc. Due to expanding role of law professionals our curriculum should be enriched with all interdisciplinary courses which are must to produce the competent law professionals of 4th generation.
Encyclopedia of education defines legal education as a skill for human knowledge which is universally relevant to the lawyer's art and which deserves special attention in educational institutions[2]. Blackstone says legal education aims at imparting knowledge of the country as part of necessary culture of a gentleman, nobleman and common man engaged in a learned profession[3].The law commission also defines legal education as a science which imparts to students knowledge of certain principles and provisions of law to enable them to enter to legal profession. In common parlance it may be termed as a science which deals with the practical aspect of the law of the land and consists of relating on statutes, moots or arguments on points of law and putting of cases[4].

Therefore it can be said that legal education is not a narrow concept. It not only includes the profession which is practiced in courts but also comprises of research in field of law, law teaching, administration, commercial and industrial employments and all other activities which postulate and require the use of legal knowledge and skill.

History of Legal Education In India
Ancient India

The basic concept of education in ancient India was to provide correct direction in the various spheres of life[5]. The concept of legal education in India goes back to the Vedic age when it was understood as a branch of dharma. There is, however, no record of any formal legal education being provided at that time. Training was self-acquired in matters connected with Dharma[6]. The Vedas were the original sources of law, and the Smritis announced the message of Vedas and Smritikars were great jurists. Smritikars, commentators and Nibandhakars [essayists] were the legal guardians of law. Sadachara, custom, Nyaya or Yukti were the base of legal process in Ancient India. The King either dispensed justice himself or was advised by a Sabha which had both advisory and executive functions. This parishad was comprised of ministers of officials, generally Brahmans, who advised the King authoritatively on law[7].

Separate training akin to modern legal education was not felt to be necessary as Dharma was considered to be the main idea behind hindu religion. Therefore, in absence of a need for trained legal professionals, there was no institutionalization of legal education as a separate branch but the same could be said to have been imparted as a part of general education which revolved around the notion of Dharma[8].

Mughal Era[9]
Year 1525 marked the beginning of Mughal period in India which extended till the ascendancy of British dominion in India. During this period the Emperor was the head of the judiciary. The Mughal rule brought with itself a system of courts to adjudicate on all types cases. These courts followed a formal procedure including a rule of evidence due to which the complexities in delivering justice began to arise.

All of these changes in the legal system necessitated the involvement of legal experts, addressed as Vakils. The Figh-e-Firoz Shahai and the Fatwa-e-Alamgiri were therein adopted which dealt with the duties of Vakil.
At the village level, Panchayats continued to exercise their powers but an unsatisfied party could prefer an appeal from the decision of the Panchayat before the court established under the Mughal law. The Vakil(s) appointed by the State for this purpose were known as Vakil-e-sarkar. Thus, legal assistance became increasingly necessary as the administration of justice became more complex.

Portugese Period[10]
The judicial system in Goa from the entry of Portuguese i.e. 1510 to 1964 is of importance as Portuguese were the first to establish and the last colonial power to leave Indian shores. The Portuguese rule in Goa is different from British rule as the former entered Goa as a representative of Sovereign King while the latter entered the parts of India as a company of traders. Therefore, the administration of justice was the responsibility of the King of Portugal right from 1510.

The territory of Goa is situated on the West Coast of India in the Konkan region. It was ruled by Kadambas from 500 B.C. till the thirteenth century followed by Yadavas of Devagari and finally by Adil Shah of Bijapur. Therefore, the administration of justice during those days was based on Sultanate system under which the Sultan was the final authority and he was assisted by the Quazi. At the regional level, Courts such as Vazirs and Amirs enjoyed both original and appellate jurisdiction. At local level administration of justice was undertaken by Gaonkaria (a group of individuals from the concerned village communities). These Gaonkarias settled most of disputes at the local level and were assisted by a village clerk known as Kulkarni. Eight villages grouped together and formed a higher authority called Desh which consisted of sixteen members with two members hailing from each of the villages. Mostly disputes with inter-village repercussions and inter-communities were settled by this body and it was assisted by a scribe known as Nadkarni. During initial stage of Portuguese regime administration of justice was carried out sectionally and an attempt to bring uniformity in this area was not made.

Due to several political changes in Europe, Portugal became a constitutional monarchy. This resulted in bringing several judicial reforms in both Portugal and its colonies.
The Decree of 1832 proposed a new plan for the judiciary in Portugal and necessitated a special law for the State of India. This resulted in bringing uniformity in judicial administration and the much needed judicial hierarchy. The Decree of 1836 established a High Court in Goa. It divided Goa into three Comarcas and each Comarca had a Comarca judge. The Decree also created Procurator of the Crown and Revenue to look after the King's interest in the Courts. In each Comarca a Police Correctional Court and War Councils were established. In addition to creating new judicial system, the Decree abolished all offices of justice, functioning till 1836 in Goa. The Subsequent decrees of 1856, 1866, 1894 and 1927 improved the changes brought by 1836 decree and channelized the uniform judicial system in Goa.

As far as representation is concerned only the following two persons were entitled to represent clients.
1. Bachelors formed or Licenciate in Law, and
2. Those that have provision of license to practice advocacy.

However, officials of the colony who received remuneration from the State were not permitted to practice as advocates unless a special license was obtained from the government. But they were allowed to exercise the functions of advocates in suits of their own. However, they could not appear in any case against the State, against the resolution of the State, and acts of the Government of Colony.

The license to practice law would be granted to the Bachelors simply by registering their names with the High Court. But license for advocates other than Bachelors i.e. Licentiate in law would be granted after the representative Comarca Judge heard the delegate of Procrator of Republic, and was convinced that there is no sufficient number of advocates who are Bachelor or Licenciate in law, available. Any person aggrieved by this decision such as the delegate of Procrator of Republic, or interested parties of Bachelor or Licenciates in law from the Comarca could appeal to the President of the High Court. Once a person obtained Licenciate for advocacy, he was required to apply to the President of High Court attaching the following documents to the application.
1. Certificate proving that he is a major.
2. Certificate from criminal register to show that he is free from committing or involving in any crime.
3. Certificate of probity or good conduct issued by corporation or administration of respective area.
4. Certificate issued by delegate of Comarca that maximum number of provisional advocates is not filled.
5. Certificate of final decision referred in Art.89.
6. Certificate which shows that the person has completed Liceum Course or any Superior or Special Course.

After receiving the application along with the above certificate, the President of High Court would examine it. If he is satisfied that the applicant has fulfilled all the requirements, the President may order the Comarca Judge of the respective Comarca to conduct the examination of the applicant. The proposed examination would test the knowledge of the applicant on general notions of law, terms and procedural formalities. This exam would be conducted before a Jury" formed by the Comarca Judge. Jury would be presided over by the respective delegate of Procrator of Republic and the Conservator of Registrar of properties. In their absence, the Jury would be presided over by first substitute of the Comarca Judge. In a two judge Comarcas, the Jury would be constituted by both the judges and presided over by the senior most Judges. In the absence of both the judges, the Registrar of Properties and in his absence first substitute of the Civil Judge, and in his absence the delegate of Civil Judge, and in his absence the delegate of the criminal judge would preside. After conducting the examination, the Comarca Judge would remit the certificate of the proceedings of the exam to the President of the High Court. If the applicant was approved by the Jury unanimously then the President would grant the approval to practice. However, if the applicant was approved by the majority of the Jury, it would be the discretion of the President to grant the licence.The license for advocacy was given in the form of a certificate called `Alvara'. This Alvara was required to be registered in the head office of the High Court. Once this license is granted the applicant was permitted to practice in the respective Comarcas.

In essence, there was no formal legal education required to enter into legal profession in case of Licenciate of law. As far as Bachelors are concerned, legal education was offered in Lisbon University, Portugal. Therefore, it is safe to assume till Goa was freed from the Portuguese rule, the legal education was neither introduced nor institutionalized in Goa. Even after Goa become part of India, legal education was offered in Goa only after 1973 when the first Law College was established at Panaji.

British Period[11]
Britishers came to this country for the purpose of trade, which they started through a company popularly known as East India Company formed in 1600 in England. In the beginning the courts were presided by merchants who were having very rudimentary knowledge of law, but later on legally trained persons were put for the job.

First British court was established in Bombay in 1672 by Governor Gerald Angier. The first Attorney General appointed by Governor was George Wilcox who was acquainted with legal business and particularly in the administration of estates of deceased persons and granting of probate. He made provision for parties to be represented by attorneys and fixed the counsel fee a little more than Re.1.

First concrete step in the direction of organising legal profession was taken through Regulating Act of 1773 which empowered to enrol advocates and Attorneys-at-law to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court was established in Fort William in Bengal through a charter issued in 1774. At that time Indian Lawyers had no right to appearance in the Courts. The position was same when the Supreme Courts with the same jurisdiction and power were established at Bombay and Madras later.

The Bengal Regulation VII of 1793 which created for the first time a regular legal profession for the company's courts, which allowed the appointment of Vakils or native pleaders in the courts of civil judicature in the provinces of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. In 1861 three High Courts were established at Calcutta, Madras and Bombay. At this time three bodies of practitioners viz, advocates, Attorneys and Vakils were in existence. Advocates were the barristers of England or Ireland but the Vakils were Indian Practioners. According to Clause 19 of Letters Patent 1865 of the High Court of Calcutta empowered the court to approve, admit and enrol such and so many Advocates, Attorneys and Vakils as the High Court shall deem fit. As already stated, they were not allowed in The Supreme Court but High Courts allowed them which increased the prestige of Indian Lawyers. Legal Practioners Act, 1879, provided for enrolment to only those practioners who had taken LL.B degree from Indian Universities. Under Section 41, the High Court could dismiss any advocate or suspend him from practice by giving an opportunity to defend him. Bar Councils Act, 1926 unified two grades of legal practioners, the Vakils and Pleaders, by merging them in the class of advocates. It also provided for making rules for giving facilities of legal education and training.

The pattern of legal education which is in vogue in India was transplanted by the English; after the establishment of their rule in India. Formal legal education in India came into existence in 1855 when the first professorship of law was established at the Government Ephistone College in Bombay and Madras and Hindu College at Calcutta. At that time theprimary aimof legal education was to equip law students so that they could help the lower courts and the High Courts in the administration of justice by enrolling themselves as Vakils or becoming judicial officers, and thus serve the interests of the Administration. As majority of the population was rural and illiterate, the need was felt to bridge the gap between the existing law and the uneducated masses crying for justice, by rendering importance to formal legal education. Initially a law school had to be a self – financing institution, and if possible a money making concern so that it could feed the teaching of other disciplines in the University. There is no tradition of legal research and academic legal training. In the year, 1857 legal education was introduced as a subject for teaching in three universities in the presidency towns of Calcutta, Madras and Bombay. Thus, a beginning of the formal legal education was made in the sub-continent. The language of the British statutes being English, so any Indian who learnt English could study law and was considered qualified to practice the profession. At that time law classes were attached with arts colleges. However, if one aspired to something higher, he could go to England and join the Inns court, provided one could afford it.

For almost a century from 1857 to 1957 a stereotyped system of teaching compulsory subjects under a straight lecture method and the two year course continued. The need for upgrading legal education has been felt for long. Numerous committees were set up periodically to consider and propose reforms in legal education such as:
· Calcutta University Commission [1917-1919],
· University Education Commission, was set up in 1948-49,
· In the year 1949 the Bombay Legal Education Committee was set up to promote legal education. The All India Bar Committee made certain recommendations in 1951.

In 1954, XIVth [14th] Report the Law Commission (Setalvad Commission) of India discussed the status of legal education and recognized the need for reform in the system of legal education and made certain recommendations.
1. Only graduates should be eligible for legal studies.
2. The theory and principles of law should be taught in the law schools and the procedural law and the law of practical character should be taught by the Bar Council.
3. The university course should be for two years and the Bar Council training should be for one year.
4. The principal method of teaching being lecture to be supplemented by tutorials, seminars, moot courts, and case methods.
5. Admission to law schools should be restricted on merit and seriousness.
6. All India Bar Council should be empowered to ascertain whether law colleges maintain the requisite minimum standards and should be empowered to refuse recognition for law colleges.

The recommendations were accepted by All India Law Conference [1959] and also by the All India Law Teachers Association. After the year 1961 the Bar Council of India was empowered to lay down standards of Indian Legal education. In 1967 this body established a uniform three years LL .B Course with annual examinations and prescribed compulsory and optional subjects to be taught at LL.B level. Most of these subjects were traditional topics and there is no guidance relating to curriculum planning. It depicted a very gloomy picture of legal education. It was only from 1958 that many universities switched over to three year law degree courses. It was only by 1967, that it became onerous task for the three year law colleges to include procedural subjects into the curriculum of their law school. A beginning had, however, been made.

Aims of The Legal Education
The prime object of legal education is to produce professional lawyers. The term 'professional lawyer' does not only cover the 'litigating, lawyer, viz.,' the lawyer who argues before the ordinary courts but all persons trained in law, whose employment is mainly dependent on their degrees in law[12].

The committee of legal education of the Harvard Law School lays emphasis on double purpose of a law school-
(1) To train men for the legal profession, and
(2) To provide a centre where scholars might contribute to an understanding of law and government and participate creatively in their growth and improvement.

Lord Denningin his address to the society of Public Teachers of Law expressed three purposes of legal education:
(1) to show how legal rules have developed, the reasons underlying them and the nexus between legal and social history,
(2) To extract the principles underlying the existing legal rules, and
(3) To point the right road for future development.

Dr. Mohammad Faroghin his observations on legal education in a modern civilized society wants to include the following aims and objectives[13]:
(1) to inculcate students with the operative legal rules, both substantive and procedural,
(2) to provide the students with adequate experience to apply these rules,
(3) to equip the students with sufficient knowledge of the historical an sociological background of the country's legal system,
(4) to provide the students with some knowledge of the other legal system of the world so that the students do not find themselves at a complete loss when it comes to adopting a comparative approach,
(5) Very significantly, the students should be encouraged to participate in discussions, seminars and challenge the very premise of legal concepts and their applications.

Legal education should aim at furnishing skills and competence, the basic philosophies and ideologies for creation and maintenance of just society[14]. It must be sensitive to society to identify its problems and ensure social and economic justice through rule of law and to eradicate injustice, poverty, corruption and nepotism from the society. The legal education stands for enhancement of human sensibility and injects a sense of protecting human liberty and equality before law. The curriculum of legal education should be thought of in terms of its objectives.

Andrew J. Piriehas suggested that the process of systematic instructional design may involve four important steps:
(1) Performance Analysis lays emphasis on the identification of instructional goals, which are needed by the consumers of legal education. It can be used as a mechanism to determine whether, there is an important difference between what someone is already able to do and what it is intended for him to be able to do, and , if an important difference does exist, whether instruction or some other course of action is appropriate. Objective is what the student will learn.
(2) Task analysis is an earnest attempt to identify exactly what the student needs to know or do to achieve the goal. It is a careful description of what the competent person does or is supposed to do when he or she is doing job.
(3) Skill analysis spells out a deice to identify the steps which a person is required to undertake to achieve the goal. It involves information skills, intellectual skills or psychomotor skills. The skill analysis breaks down each of these identified steps into its component part. But if the steps involve higher-level intellectual skills, such as application, analysis, synthesis, or evaluation, the skills analysis becomes more complex. Skills analysis can involve the production of a very larger list of necessary behaviors, depending upon the task.
(4) Writing performance analysis is the stage where both the instructor and the student are able to understand what a person must know or be able to do to accomplish his task.

Legal education is to develop two fold skills-
(1) Effective learning- is a step involved in competently completing a number of tasks, such as interviewing a client or preparing to cross-examine a witness.
(2) Ability to remember facts client communicate.

Effective listening is a step involved to competently completing a number of tasks, such as interviewing a client or preparing to cross-examine a witness. Ability to remember the facts the client communicate is another skill that the legal education must develop in the advocate. These skills may be generated through performance objectives which involve three requirements- performance, conditions and standards. The aim of legal education is revolutionize the traditional legal system by developing in every law graduate skill concerning counseling the clients, interviewing witnesses efficiently and negotiating with parties at the appropriate point of time[15].It not only need to train the lawyer in solving the problems of individual clients but of the society in which he lives so as to contribute to the better understanding of the laws by which societies are held together[16].

In Manubhai Vashi Vs. State of Maharashtra[17]Hon'ble Supreme court held that - the legal education should be able to meet the ever growing demands of the society and should be thoroughly equipped to cater to the complexities of different situations.

New Challenges To Legal Education In India[18]
Previously, the main purpose of law schools and university of legal studies in India was not teaching of law as a branch of science and as a branch of learning but simply to impart to students knowledge merely of the black letter law; certain principles and provisions of law to enable them to enter the legal practice exclusively for local needs. Gradually this perception changed and the process of reform in law and legal education was initiated. As the world became a 'global village', the concept of 'local practice' widened to that of 'transnational practice'.

Roscoe Pound pointed out that law transcended local and political limits and has become an economic necessity. In the present day, an innovative programme of integrated interdisciplinary legal learning and in the new areas such as comparative Law, information technology, intellectual property, corporate governance, human rights, environment, and international trade law, investment, and commerce, transfer of technology, alternative dispute resolution and space is important. Comparative legal education for professional excellence is needed in these and other areas on a global basis.

1) Physical infrastructure and financial resources:
The law schools in India have to recognise that there is a need for creating sound physical infrastructure. There should be more funds for this and for developing research projects and other initiatives to encourage faculty members. Generally, the infrastructure of the national law schools is better than what exists in the law departments of traditional universities. Improvement in infrastructure should be across the board, including in universities which still produce most of the law graduates. University campuses should be places that can inspire students and the faculty so that they are involved in reflecting upon the various problems that confront society. Academic freedom to think and contribute cannot be ensured if universities lack the necessary physical infrastructure and financial resources.

2) Need for developing philanthropic initiatives:
Philanthropy in legal education is rare. It by and large remains a state-sponsored endeavour or an unimpressive commercial enterprise devoid of high academic standards. There is an urgent need for encouraging philanthropic initiatives in promoting excellence in legal education and research in the country. Recently, the National Knowledge Commission (NKC) constituted by the Union Government in 2005 submitted its first annual report[19]. Legal education was one of the focus areas; among the different issues considered as part of the NKC's consultations with law academics and practitioners were "methods of attracting and retaining talented faculty" and "developing a serious research tradition that is globally competitive." The NKC report noted the following with regard to philanthropic contributions: "It is clear that we have not exploited this potential. In fact the proportion of such contributions in total expenditure on higher education has declined from more than 12 per cent in the 1950s to less than three per cent in [the] 1990s…" Philanthropy in legal education is essential for its growth and development. Every effort ought to be made by all stakeholders, including the law schools, the bar, the bench, the law firms and corporations for promoting philanthropic initiatives in legal education and research.

3) Hiring good teachers and researchers:
There is a need to fundamentally re-examine the context of legal education in the country. The present system does not sufficiently recognise the key problem with regard to legal education — lack of faculty members who are good teachers as well as sound researchers. There is need to identify talent among young lawyers so that they can be encouraged to consider academia as a career option. But there could be other factors where improvements and changes are feasible: such as career development opportunities within the law schools; development of research infrastructure including the resources to organise and participate in national and international conferences, and undertake serious research; a harmonious environment that fosters mutual respect; governance of the law schools in a transparent fashion.

Globalisation and the changing dimensions of the Indian economy and polity have thrown up new challenges of governance. Rule of law in all its dimensions remains the single most important challenge the country is facing. The criminal and civil justice systems are under severe stress. The role of law schools in imparting legal education and developing lawyers who are rational thinkers and social engineers is central to the future of legal education and the development of a knowledge economy in India. This can be done only if the law schools are able to attract some of the best and the brightest lawyers to make a lifelong commitment to teaching, learning, and research so that they are able to inspire generations of students to work towards establishing a rule of law society in India.

Present Scenario of Legal Education In India
After Independence, the situation changed completely. In 1950, we adopted a democratic form of government of which rule of law became the foundational doctrine. The Law Commission of India has taken preferable steps to widen the outreach of legal education, even to the remotest corners of our nation. Law colleges are given considerable importance and the criteria are fixed for the admission procedure.

In the above context, the Bar Council of India developed a strategy of sponsoring a model law school with university status to act as a pace-setter for legal education reforms envisaged by its five-year integrated LL.B. curriculum. Taking note of an urgent need to bring about reforms in the university education generally, Parliament, in exercise of its legislative power under Entry 66 of List I enacted the University Grants Commission Act, 1956. The University Grants Commission Act, 1956 is an Act to make provisions for the coordination and determination of standards in universities. Section 12(d)[20]provides that the UGC may recommend to any university necessary measures for improvement of university education and advise the university regarding the action to be taken for the purpose of implementing its recommendations. This initiative led to the birth of the first National Law School at Bangalore in1986 which was supposed to become "the Harvard of the East" according to its sponsors. The success of the National Law School experiment was indeed a turning point in Indian legal education, particularly in respect to academic excellence, social relevance and professional competence. It soon assumed the dimensions of a movement with every state in India seeking to establish a National Law School on the Bangalore model. India has fifteen National Law Universities at present which offer quality legal education to nearly 2000 students annually[21].

India entering the WTO and adopting policies of economic liberalization in the 1990s brought about legislative changes in the new millennium not only in the economy but also in the regulatory framework of human resource development. As many as six pieces of legislation are now pending in Parliament which, if adopted, are potentially capable of radically changing the higher education scenario in the country, including legal education. It is in this context that the Ministry of Law and Justice proposed what may be called the "third generation" reforms in legal education, wherein a variety of changes in the regulatory framework are contemplated along with more national law schools and additional government funding of advanced centres for research and training in law.

One may identify, inter alia, the following factors (listed in no particular order) for the transformation of legal education in this period:

• The changing demands of the legal market at the national and global levels;
• The establishment of new regulatory regimes in emerging areas of the economy;
• The emergence of new technologies, particularly in the communication sector;
• Growth of international trade and prospects of trade in services;
• The advent of corporate culture in legal practice, particularly in intellectual property rights matters;
• The replication of the Bangalore model of National Law Schools in many more states;
• The increasing demand for legal studies from among highly talented students;
• Changes in the legal education regulatory system (Common Law Admissions Test; All India Bar Examination; the Directorate of Legal Education in BCI);
• The partnership of bar, bench and academia in the management of legal education at least in the National Law School scheme;
• Collaboration with foreign law schools and the influence of foreign-educated lawyers;
• Government willingness to finance law schools and improve faculty salaries;
• On-campus recruitment and the institution of awards for best performing teachers and law schools by law firms;
• The spread of legal publications, law reporting and legal awareness;
• The recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission (2005);
• Law school involvement in legal aid, human rights and clinical and experiential education.

Rule 8 of Chapter III[22]of the Bar Council Rules dealing with the Legal Education Committee, enables the Committee (a) to make its recommendations to the Council for laying down the standards of legal education for the universities, (b) to visit and inspect universities and report to the Council, and (c), to recommend to the Council for recognition of any degree in law of any university under Section 24(1)(c)(iii) of the Act. The Committee is also authorised to recommend the discontinuance of any recognition already granted by the Council.

Rule 17[23]of the Bar Council Rules states that no college shall impart legal education unless its affiliation to any university has been approved by the Bar Council of India. Rule 18 deals with inspection by a Committee to be appointed for this purpose.

The Report of the Law Commission and concern expressed by academic lawyers and the Bar made Parliament take stock of the situation and as a result the Advocates Act, 1961 came to be enacted by Parliament by virtue of its powers under Entries 77 and 78 of List I of the Constitution of India. Under the Advocates Act, 1961, one of the functions of the Bar Council of India is to "promote legal education and to lay down standards of such education in consultation with the universities in India imparting such education and the Bar Councils of the States". Section 49(d) of the Act, enables Rules to be framed by the Bar Council of India in regard to the standards of legal education to be observed by the universities in India and the inspection of universities for the purpose. The Bar Council of India enacted its Rules in 1965 to deal with the standards of legal education and recognition of degrees in law for admission as advocates. Rule 21 of the Bar Council of India Rules, 1965 provides that the Bar Council of India may issue directions from time to time for maintenance of standards of legal education and the university/college is required to follow the same. Schedule I to the Rules enumerates as many as 21 directions which the Bar Council of India is authorised to give to the universities/colleges[24].
In 1958 when the Law Commission voiced its concern there were hardly 43 institutions preparing 20,159 students for law examination. After the enactment of Advocates Act, 1961 it was noticed that there was a mushroom growth of sub-standard law schools, with hardly any regard to the quality of legal education.

Admission to these law schools was easy. Minimum marks prescribed for eligibility for admission to the law course were as low as 33% or 40% and the result was that thousands of students became eligible and all of them, including the last eligible candidate, got admission. A student who could not get admission in any other course would join law course. The quality of the teaching staff in those law schools also left much to be desired. Most of the law schools and colleges had only part-time law teachers, with an exception of a few whole-time teachers. There was, thus, hardly any commitment of the teaching staff to the cause of legal education. The sudden spurt in the number of law schools with almost free admission to law schools and the lack of infrastructural facilities and non-availability of high quality teaching staff took its toll on the quality of law graduates churned out by these law schools which in turn affected the quality of the standards of the Bar. Since, many of these law schools could not house the total number of students enrolled for want of adequate classrooms and non-maintenance of teacher-student ratio, the administration of many of such law schools encouraged absenteeism. In many law schools there were more "absentees" than "present". Neither the school nor the students took law study seriously. Students could live hundreds of miles away from colleges and not only get full attendance but degrees too. Legal education as a matter of fact became only a profit-making industry. It was perhaps because of this situation that the Supreme Court inUnni Krishnan, J.P. v. State of A.P.[25]expressed its concern and firmly laid down that "education cannot be allowed to be converted into commerce".

As on date there are 101 universities in the country which are imparting legal education, out of which 91 universities are recognised and the recognition of 10 universities is under consideration. Out of these 101 universities, 24 universities have started five years' degree course in addition to the three years' degree course. There are about 500 law colleges/schools in the country. Some of these law schools are housed in small dingy buildings without any library worth the name and a teaching staff hardly qualified to teach law. To the existing number of lawyers who are about 10 lakhs, we are, it is stated adding roughly 2 lakhs every year. We have the second largest number of lawyers in the world next only to USA. It is, therefore, not surprising that both Judges and responsible members in the Bar became increasingly aware of, and concerned about, the falling standards in the quality of legal education and lamented about the lack of attention being paid to this stream in professional courses. This discontent, has become more articulate in recent times.

Permission to start new law colleges should not be given without proper evaluation of teaching faculty and other facilities. There should be a proper evaluation of the answer scripts in the examination. The students should be trained to draft pleadings at the college level. The standard of English should also be improved. It was also suggested that for the purpose of grant of recognition to law colleges a committee should be formed consisting of a member nominated by the Bar Council of India (and not by its Chairman only), a member to be nominated by Hon. the Chief Justice of India, who shall be a Judge of the Supreme Court or High Court and a member to be nominated by the Bar Council of India, who shall be a renowned person in the field of legal education."

The UGC also extended its full cooperation to the Committee and the Chairman of UGC in his letter addressed to the Committee on 26-9-1994, inter alia said:
"The UGC would be happy to associate with the legal education Committee of the Bar Council of India. As regards, the move towards a five-year-course in law, after the +2 stage through an all-India examination, we also feel that this would be a step in the right direction in terms of improving the entry-point standards. The suggestion to grant a BA (Law) degree after three years to students who do not wish to practise law but may rather go in for employment is also welcome. Thereby, only those who are really keen to take up the practice in law would proceed with the last two years of education. The holding of an examination by the Bar Council of India after the five years of study with the minimum percentage of 50 to 60% being prescribed before one could obtain a licence would also help improving the quality among the legal profession."

Three Decades of Reforms: Outcomes Positive And Negative[26]
One might ask about the outcomes resulting from the influence of the above factors and the future direction of legal education in India given the level of economic development and globalization. Never since independence has legal education received the attention it receives today from society, government and the private corporate sector. This has resulted in better infrastructure, greater private participation and increased investment, though yet inadequate for quality legal education. India today has the largest legal profession in the world (1.3 million attorneys), though not all of them are in legal practice in the conventional sense (i.e. litigation-oriented practice). If solo practice has been the dominant pattern in the past, the trend today is more towards partnerships and large firms involving multiple areas of specialisation.

Though the legal profession has been the monopoly of the male gender in the past, women are now joining legal practice in increasing numbers and are finding their places in the judiciary as well. The steady influx of people from the lower socioeconomic strata to legal careers is changing the composition of the profession, and strengthens democracy and rule of law in the country. Legal practitioners are finding lucrative ways to practice outside courts and litigation, compelling reforms in organization, management and disciplinary control of the profession.

On the negative side, one must mention the paucity of competent teachers even in the best of law schools to guide the growing body of motivated students. There are vacant positions in every law school. Bright law graduates do not join post-graduate studies in Indian law schools nor are they attracted to teaching and research positions in them. Many of them migrate to U.S. and U.K. law schools for LL.M. education and either do not return to India or agree to take up teaching positions in India. This situation has led policy planners to consider restructuring post-graduate legal studies (the LL.M. degree is still a pre-requisite for teaching position in law schools) making it a one-year programme geared to teaching, research and specialization (the proposal is under consideration of the University Grants Commission which regulates post-graduate programmes in law). The Bar Association of India and Society of Indian Law Firms have come forward to address the shortage of teachers, offering to send senior advocates to act as adjunct faculty in selected law schools. Some law schools have started recruiting teachers from outside India, paying them attractive service conditions distinct from the rest. Others are entering into exchange arrangements under which students and teachers are provided opportunities to learn in different environments under credit transfer arrangements. Everyone now realizes that unless the faculty position is improved, the future of legal education is bleak and students with financial capacities will migrate to other jurisdictions for their education.

Measures To Improve Pedagogy And Methods of Teaching[27]
New technologies to be used in legal education-These would include not only measures such as the use of presentations in the classroom, but would also embrace web-based technologies that allow for collaboration and discussion amidst faculty and students across the country. This would also allow for the sharing of resources, and enabling access to resources for students and faculty who may not otherwise be able to access them. Faculty would be required to publish the syllabus they propose to follow, along with prescribed texts and resources for students, so that there may be peer review and discussion on the same. Furthermore, the Bar Council will identify software that may be used to counter plagiarism in publications and student assignments.

Measures to attract and retain better faculty -The Bar Council recognises that the success of any reform measures, and, at a larger level, the quality of legal education in the country, is dependant upon the quality of teaching faculty at the law schools. As one step towards addressing this concern, and in accordance with the recommendation of the Supreme Court-appointed 3- Member Committee on Reform of Legal Education, the Bar Council of India has already taken measures to ensure that all law faculty are paid according to the minimum pay scales prescribed by the UGC Pay Commission.

Further, in line with the recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission in its Report of March 2009, and the 184th Report of the Law Commission of India, the Bar Council proposes that the requirements of an Ll.M. degree to teach law be relaxed in the case of candidates with an Ll.B. degree who have an exceptional and demonstrable ability to teach.
Mix of small and large class sizes for teaching- Law Schools and faculty would be encouraged to use a mix of small and large classrooms for teaching. While large classrooms may be employed for a certain proportion of classes, it is equally imperative to encourage the use of smaller classes to ensure learning.

Medium of instruction- The medium of instruction at all law schools would be English, and this would be a mandatory and strict requirement for accreditation of the law school.

Use of contemporary teaching techniquesand adoption of the Outcomes Model- The Bar Council will encourage the use of teaching techniques employed at the best law schools across the world, such as the problem-posing method, and the adoption of the outcomes model in order to embellish language, computer, and public speaking skills, would be encouraged. Emphasis would also be laid on the outcomes model, so as to:
• Identify the desired outcomes from legal education, in terms of knowledge, skills, and professional attributes;
• Ensure curriculum design that is in line with the identified outcomes desired, and enables the achievement of those outcomes;
• Ensure that students are aware of these desired outcomes, and what is expected from them in the duration of their study;
• Provide for continuous feedback to students, and guidance on how they may achieve progress in the direction of the desired outcomes; and
• Ensure that evaluation methods are accurate in measuring student proficiency in the context of the outcomes articulated.

Continuous education and skill upgrades for faculty -Institutes / initiatives for the continuous education / training of law faculty will be established to ensure that faculty are aware of, and trained in, contemporary teaching techniques.

Standards for faculty evaluation -A balance between the value accorded to research and peer-reviewed publication, and the quality of teaching in class, when evaluating faculty in law would be emphasised. The Bar Council would release guidelines for faculty evaluation, including measures such as the number of publications, as well as student feedback. Steps would also be taken to ensure effective measures are put in place against plagiarism These parameters would be used not only to measure faculty quality and performance, but would also be a part of the factors evaluated when accrediting law schools.

Conclusion And Suggestions
Legal education in the India generally refers to the education of lawyers before entry into practice. Legal education in India is offered by the traditional universities and the specialized law universities and schools only after completion of an undergraduate degree or as an integrated degree. After studying the scenario of legal education prior to the ascendency of British in India it can be concluded that no strict legal education existed. In ancient India, dharma was the guiding source and the king dispensed justice. He was usually advised by a Sabha of officials. The Mughal era marked the beginning of establishment of a system to administer justice wherein courts to adjudicate were set up. The requirement of legal experts was felt. The Portugese period saw administration of justice through courts. The decree of 1836 established a High Court in Goa. It divided Goa into three Comarca and each Comarca had a judge. First concrete step in the direction of organizing legal profession was taken in the British era through Regulating Act of 1773which empowered to enroll advocates and Attorneys-at-law to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court was established in Fort William in Bengal through a charter issued in 1774. Formal legal education in India came into existence in 1855 when the first professorship of law was established at the Government Ephistone College in Bombay and Madras and Hindu College at Calcutta. At that time the primary aim of legal education was to equip law students so that they could help the lower courts and the High Courts in the administration of justice by enrolling themselves as Vakils or becoming judicial officers, and thus serve the interests of the Administration.

After Independence, the situation changed completely. In 1950, we adopted a democratic form of government of which rule of law became the foundational doctrine. The Law Commission of India has taken preferable steps to widen the outreach of legal education, even to the remotest corners of our nation. Law colleges are given considerable importance and the criteria are fixed for the admission procedure.

In the above context, the Bar Council of India developed a strategy of sponsoring a model law school with university status to act as a pace-setter for legal education reforms envisaged by its five-year integrated LL.B. curriculum. Taking note of an urgent need to bring about reforms in the university education generally, Parliament, in exercise of its legislative power under Entry 66 of List I enacted the University Grants Commission Act, 1956.. This initiative led to the birth of the first National Law School at Bangalore in1986 which was supposed to become "the Harvard of the East" according to its sponsors. The success of the National Law School experiment was indeed a turning point in Indian legal education, particularly in respect to academic excellence, social relevance and professional competence.

On the negative side, there are vacant positions in every law school. Bright law graduates do not join post-graduate studies in Indian law schools nor are they attracted to teaching and research positions in them. Many of them migrate to U.S. and U.K. law schools for LL.M. education and either do not return to India or agree to take up teaching positions in India. This situation has led policy planners to consider restructuring post-graduate legal studies (the LL.M. degree is still a pre-requisite for teaching position in law schools) making it a one-year programme geared to teaching, research and specialization (the proposal is under consideration of the University Grants Commission which regulates post-graduate programmes in law). The Bar Association of India and Society of Indian Law Firms have come forward to address the shortage of teachers, offering to send senior advocates to act as adjunct faculty in selected law schools.

For overcoming the short comings of legal education system in India,
• Legal education must be given its status of a professional course of study and like any other professional course its standards must be regulated.
• The content of legal education must be given its due importance.
• Legal education should be uniform in the country and should be a five-year course after 10+2.
• The standard of legal education should be laid down and the minimum norms that law schools must satisfy must be prescribed.
• Notice to all the law schools should be given by the Bar Council of India/university thereafter to ensure that within the time allowed they must satisfy the norms and if they fail to do so, the university concerned should withdraw the recognition or affiliation from such school or college and that would once for all put an end to those law schools which do not deserve to exist.
• The Legal Education Committee of the Bar Council of India, in consultation with the representatives of the Judiciary, the Bar, the Universities and the UGC should lay down proper norms for conduct of bar examinations. Norms should be fixed not only for maintaining the quality of questions that are set, but also for the marks to be awarded for the evaluation of the question papers.

The initiative of the Bar Council of India in sponsoring the National Law School of India University is indeed praiseworthy. If market condition has any significance National Law School students have, broadly speaking, an assured professional career. If national focus is any relevance, the decision of the Law Ministers of the country about replicating such an institution in each of their States is an indicator of success and if the opinion of the international teaching community and professionals is required they are the people eloquently speaking in favour of the National Law School experiment in legal education. It is perhaps the best experiment in the country in the field of legal education after the experiment in technology education in IITs and management education in IIMs. It is desirable that we reap the benefit of this successful experiment. I must, however, hasten to add that the profession is not the true beneficiary of the products of the National Law School. Students who pass out from there find lucrative positions waiting for them in the corporate world. It is a matter of anxiety and concern that the profession is losing talent. The senior members of the Bar must apply their mind to this problem and suggest means for attracting the students to the profession.

All those connected with the maintenance of standards of legal education must, therefore, be prepared to take hard decisions to save the situation. A concerted action on the part of Bar, the Bench and the law teachers is called for to improve the deteriorating standards of legal education. Act now – it is already late. If you fail to check the deterioration now, posterity will not forgive you.

End-Notes
[1] Meghna Bajpai, Samiksha Singh, students, Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur.
[2]The encyclopedia of Education, Indo and Libr, (1971), Vol.5, p.355.
[3] Agarwal,S.K.,"A Report on Legal Education in India-Problems and Perspectives"(1972)
[4]Legal Education and its aims, as on http://www.legalservicesindia.com/article/article/legal-education-&-its-aims-126-1.html
[5]Chapter 3: Reforms in Legal Education in India as given on shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/12649/.../07_chapter%203.p
[6]http://sarins.org/lectures/legal-education-in-india-past-present-and-future-justice-as-anand/
[7] http://strippedlaw.blogspot.in/2010/11/history-of-legal-education-in-india.html
[8]Supra note 5.
[9]Ibid.
[10]Supra note 5.
[11] Adv. Devdas T.M, History of Legal Education in India, as on http://strippedlaw.blogspot.in/2010/11/history-of-legal-education-in-india.html
[12] D.N.Mishra, "Legal Education in India: Present Status and Prospects"in book, "Legal Education in India in 21st Century", Jan.1999,p.19
[13] Dr.Mohammad Farogh, 'Legal Education: Contemporary Trends and Challenges", AIR, 1998(6)
[14]Hassant Azmi, "Legal Education in India in the 21st Century", (1999)
[15]Vincent Luizi, "Philosophy in Legal Education",Journal of Legal education,Vol.29,No.4,1978
[16]Leonard L.Baird,"A Survey of the Relevance of Legal Trainning to Law School Graduates", Journal of Legal education,Vol.29,1978,pp.264-75
[17]AIR 1989 Bom 296
[18]C. Raj Kumar, Associate Professor and Juris Doctor Programme Leader at the School of Law, City University of Hong Kong, for 'The Hindu'.
[19]NKC Report, 2006.
[20]University Grants Commission Act, 1956.
[21]Supra note 5.
[22]Bar Council Rules
[23]Bar Council Rules
[24]Supra note 5.
[25]1993 AIR 2178
[26]The Transformation of Indian Legal Education, N.R. Madhava Menon.
[27]Reform of legal education in India, BCI report.

Law Article in India

You May Like

Lawyers in India - Search By City

Delhi - Chandigarh - Allahabad - Lucknow - Gurgaon - Faridabad - Noida - Ghaziabad - Jalandhar - Agra - Ranchi - Jodhpur - Mumbai - Pune - Nagpur - Surat - Ahmedabad - Indore - Belgaum - Jalgaon - Nashik - Vapi - Jamshedpur - Kolkata - Siliguri - Durgapur - Guwahati - Dimapur - Ludhiana - Jaipur - Janjgir - Amritsar - Khandwa - New Delhi - Chennai - Bangalore - Hyderabad - Visakhapatnam - Eluru - Cochin - Coimbatore - Pondicherry - Rajkot - Bengaluru - Trivandrum

LawArticles

Case Note on The state Cyber Cell v Yoge...

Titile

This case deals with the Section 509 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Section 67 and 67A of Informa...

India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement...

Titile

With the purpose of giving effect to the Land Boundary Agreement, 1974 signed between the Govern...

Jurisprudential Voyage of Freedom of Inf...

Titile

“Let the noble thoughts come to us from every side.”– Rig veda, 1-89-1 “Tamaso Ma Jyotir...

Types of Writs In Indian Constitution

Titile

The supreme court, and High courts have power to issue writs in the nature of habeas corpus , quo...