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Report No. 184

Chapter X

Education on Legal Education Literature

10. Today, 'Legal Education' is in itself a specialized branch for study and there is abundant literature available, both Indian as well as foreign which refer to various concepts of legal education relevant both to teachers and students. The Commission is of the view that it is necessary for the Bar Councillors, the Faculty, the UGC and the Managements to keep abreast of the developments in legal education in India and abroad. The 14th Report of the Law Commission (1958) presided over by Sri M.C. Setalvad referred to legal education literature in India, USA , UK and Canada available at that time.

10.1 It is suggested that the Legal Education Committee of the Bar Council of India as well as the UGC should have Libraries on the subject of legal education, consisting of literature on legal education so that the two committees could have the benefit of all the reports, past and present in India and contemporary literature on legal education from other countries. In the context of liberalization, privatization and globalization, the methods of legal education may have to be modified and innovations elsewhere have to be kept in mind by our Committees. Several new subjects may also have to be introduced.

10.2 In a recent book on Legal Education and Profession in India by Shri P.L. Mehta & Ms. Sushma Gupta, the history of legal education is traced and the following reports are referred to in Chapter 4. The Reports are:

1. Legal Education during 1861-1961.

2. First India University Commission Report 1902.

3. Report of the Chagla Committee, 1955.

4. Report of the Bombay Legal Education Committee consisting of Dr. P.V. Kane, Justice N.H. Bhagwati.

5. Report of the Inter-University Board, 1950.

6. Report of the All India Bar Committee, 1953.

7. Report of the Rajasthan Legal Education Committee, 1955.

8. 14th Report of the Law Commission, 1958 presided over by Shri M.C. Setalvad.

9. Recommendations of the Gejendragadkar Committee, 1964 appointed by Dr. C.D. Deshmukh, VC of Delhi University.

10. Formulations of All India Seminar on Legal Education, 1972.

11. UGC Curriculum Development Report, 1988-90 presided over by Prof. Upender Baxi (in two volumes running into 800 pages).

12. Justice Ahmadi Committee Report, 1994.

We shall add to this list, the UGC Curriculum Development Report, 20.1. There are reports on legal education produced by leading Universities and academic bodies in UK, USA and other countries. There are also journals on legal education. Steps must be taken to see that the copies of all these reports are available both with UGC and the Bar Council of India and they will be of immense help to the two Committees on Legal Education.

10.3 Several of the above Committees in India have also emphasized on the practical aspects of law. In this context, it is necessary to note that today the emphasis abroad is also on the practical aspects of law and the recent Report in USA on the subject is the celebrated Mac Crate Report (also called the Report of the Task Force of the American Bar Association on 'Law Schools and profession: Narrowing the Gap')(1992) which has been subject of subsequent resolutions of the ABA House of Delegates in Feb. 1994 and there is a subsequent report called the Report on Learning Professionalism (1996)(Chicago).

Then there is the study of the Law Society of England and Wales on 'Preparatory Skills; Review of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies (Auckland) 1990; the US Crampton Report on Lawyer Competency 1979 (ABA); the Carrington Report on Training for Public Professions of the Law (1971)(Washington). The National Law School, Bangalore, is said to have brought about a new curriculum modelled on the Harvard & McCrate models.

10.4 There are again several important journals on legal education. For example, the Journal of Legal Education, published by the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) and the Journal of Professional Legal Education(USA) are leading journals and there are hundreds of articles in these journals on the subject in the past more than one decade. The journals also review books on legal education. There is, in addition to the above, a vast literature of articles by Judges, lawyers, academicians in India and abroad on legal education.

10.5 It appears that in the USA 20 new courses were added during 1989- 92 to the curriculum by the American Association of Law Schools. (see 102 'New Course Offerings in the upper-level curriculum by Deborah Jones Merrit & Jennifur Citon) (Vol 47). Journals of Legal Education, 1997, p. 5.4>). The Committee on Curriculum and Research in USA meets every three or four years to review the position (ibid. 569). (In footnote No 149, a long list of articles and studies in curriculum studies is referred to).

10.6 The Law Commission has referred to the above literature on legal education only with a view to impress one and all that Legal Education is a subject which requires in-depth study and research by members of both the Legal Education Committees so that our law schools and Universities can benefit by the said information and steps can be taken to improve the quality of teaching and produce students who can catch up with international standards.

10.7 It is true that in recent times a few specialized institutions have been started in various State.- in Hyderabad, Jodhpur, Bhopal, Calcutta etc. These statutory law universities or deemed universities have been started on the model of the National Law School, Bangalore. In fact, the need to establish such institutions was one of the recommendations of the Justice Ahmadi Committee in 1994.

These institutions, in each State, today project an image of excellence in legal education. (Unfortunately, most of these students are taking up jobs in big companies and only a few among them are coming to the Bar. May be, corporates also need some well trained personnel or else, otherwise the companies may go outside India for expert legal advice. But, most of these law graduates must be persuaded to come to the bar). We cannot, however, rest content with a few star colleges.

We must be concerned with all the rest of the hundreds of law 103 colleges located in cities and districts headquarters all over the country. It is these students who come to the Bar in great numbers at the grass-root level. It is the desire of the Law Commission that the Bar Council of India and academic community must co-ordinate and take steps which can result in upgrading the standards of legal education in these colleges which are spread over length and breadth of the country. A few bright-star colleges with limited number of student-intake based on all-India selection is not the end and may not result in an overall change in the level of legal education.

10.8 Upon the law student who emerges from the college depends the legal profession. Upon the legal profession depends the quality of the Judiciary. Once a lawyer practices for 3 years, he becomes eligible in most States to become a judicial officer at the level of a munsif. (Now, the Supreme Court has said that a law graduate can straight-away go as a Judicial officer).

With seven years experience, he becomes eligibl.- in most State.- to be recruited as a District & Sessions Judge directly, who can deal with civil cases of unlimited pecuniary jurisdiction and who can recommend a sentence of death. Such are the high stakes involved. Therefore, there is need to make the curriculum stronger, and lay a firm foundation. Legal Education has to be taken seriously and kept on a high pedestal.

10.9 We, therefore, recommend that in section 7, clause (ig) to be added as follows:

"(ig) to create awareness of the latest trends in legal education by establishing legal education libraries at the offices of the Bar Council 104 of India and all State Bar Councils and Universities and in law colleges."

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