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Breaking: Moily's 2nd gen education reforms: transactional law LLBs, new unified law school entrance test

Veerappa Moily
Veerappa Moily
The Union Government has announced a 'National Consultation' to radically overhaul Indian legal education, which will include the introduction of a common admission test for all Indian law schools, three new super-specialised LLBs focusing on transactional, litigation or public law as well as shortening LLM courses to one year.

The major proposals include the creation of an entrance test that will apply to all law colleges in India, rather than just to national law schools like the Common Law Admissions Test (CLAT).

The Government also wants to create three separate LLB programmes that specifically focus on training transactional, litigation or public lawyers, as well as to introduce a new one-year LLM degree.

Law minister Veerappa Moily (pictured), additional solicitor general Mohan Parasaran and Moily's special adviser T K Vishwanathan announced the radical reform plans at a press conference in Delhi today (21 April).

Moily said that the law ministry was collaborating with the Bar Council of India (BCI) and National Law University Delhi to organise a National Consultation for a "second generation" of reforms in Indian legal education.

He explained that the consultation would create a road map to bring radical institutional reforms in legal education to meet not only the requirements of the bar but also the needs of trade, commerce and industry in view of the growing internationalisation of the legal profession.

Moily said: "Our aim is to focus on legal education as an instrument of economic and social architecture. The aim of this National Consultation is that the advocate in a Munsif court can have access to a system of continuing legal education and he can aspire to appear before the Supreme Court."

Additional solicitor general Parasaran added that the Government was also proposing three specialised LLB courses, to enable students to focus on either of litigation, transactional or public law.

"The syllabus in most of the law colleges is more than 20 years old and is not relevant to present-day requirements," said Parasaran. "Reforms are the need of the hour. We propose to have a common law entrance test for all the colleges across India just like we have a common entrance test for national law colleges."

Parasaran also announced that India would have a one-year LLM course, just as countries such as the US and UK. "The change has been proposed and the decision to this effect shall be taken in near future," he said.

Parasaran continued: "There is a proposal to establish a National Council for quality and standards of legal education. Experts from all the fields, namely Bar Council of India, state Bar Councils, attorney general, solicitor general and various jurists and academicians shall prescribe the syllabus for the law colleges."

Moily also supported a compulsory entrance test to become a lawyer, mirroring the proposal by the new Bar Council of India chairman Gopal Subramaniam. "We are working in tandem with Bar Council of India and we support the proposal," said Moily.

He also said hat in an era of globalisation there was a need to raise the standards of legal education in India. "The domain of the Indian lawyer shall be the entire world and not only this country."

Moily also expressed concern over the fact that most law students joined the corporate sector after completing their degrees. One of the issues before the National Consultation would be why students from national law schools seemed to prefer careers in corporate law firms and how the legal education system could cater to the emerging needs of the new economy.

The National Consultation would also examine how to organise training and education for alternate dispute resolution systems, particularly arbitration.

The National Consultation first meeting will be held on 1 and 2 May 2010, said Moily, and would be inaugurated by India's prime minister Manmohan Singh, with Moily presenting a vision document on the India's second generation of legal reforms.

When asked about the issue of entry of foreign lawyers at today's press conference, Moily said that the Bombay High Court had already decided on the issue and the Government would deal with the issue at an appropriate stage after consultation with all the sectors on the issue.

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