Report No. 14
21. The case for a three-year law course.-
The trend of modern opinion seems to be in favour of a three-year course. Most of the American Law Schools prescribe a three-year course in law following a University degree in Arts as an essential pre-requisite for admission. Professor Sivasubramanian of the Delhi University and Dr. R. U. Singh of the Lucknow University (since deceased) made before us a strong plea for a three-year degree course in law. In his dissenting minute to the Report of the U.P. Legal Education Reforms Committee, Dr. Singh observed that there was hardly any time at the student's disposal for mentally digesting what was placed before him and the result was that the student indulged in unprofitable cramming. According to him "a good training in law is not possible in two years.
The Universities of Calcutta, Delhi and Punjab have already discarded the two-year law course in favour of a three-year one. The necessity of a three-year law course is recognized in all the leading countries of the world, the course of legal studies in France, Germany, England and the United States of America generally covering a period of three years."1 Indeed, Dr. Singh went so far as to plead for a minimum period of three years for a law degree in addition to a year's professional course of study after a student had graduated in law.
1. Cited in the Bombay Legal Education Committee Report, p. 37. The statement that the Delhi and Punjab Universities have adopted a three years' course for the law degree appears to be inaccurate.
22. views of the Bombay Legal Education Committee (Views of the All-India Bar).-
The Bombay Legal Education Committee of 1949, however, recommended a three year scheme of legal studies which comprised the study of law for two years at the University for a law degree followed by a third year spent in the study of vocational subjects ending with a professional examination conducted either by the Bar Council or by the Council of Legal Education, the establishment of which was proposed by it.
Committee.- The question of the duration of a course of legal studies was also considered by the All-India Bar Committee of 1951. Its recommendation was as follows:-
"After considering all the aspects of the question the Committee has come to the conclusion that the uniform minimum qualification for admission to the roll of Advocates should be a law degree obtained after at least a two years' study of law in the University after having first graduated in Arts, Science or Commerce and a further apprentice course of study for one year in practical subjects after attending a certain percentage of lectures arranged for imparting instruction during this apprentice course."1
1. Report, p. 23, para. 60.
Two years full-time study: Exclusion of procedural subjects from University course.-It will be observed that those who have advocated a three-year course of legal studies at the Universities seem to proceed on the basis that legal education for the University degree will be imparted in part-time institutions, as generally done at present, and that the courses at the Universities will include also the procedural and other cognate laws. However, as will appear later, what we envisage is a system of legal education in which instruction for a law degree will be imparted only in properly equipped and full-time law colleges.
Further, what we contemplate is that teaching at the Universities should not include procedural, taxation, and local laws and other cognate subjects which may, with advantage, be left to be taught later to those who intend to take a professional career, in a course where teaching will be imparted by professional men. We are of the view that, on the basis of the recommendations which we propose to make, a two year course at the University would be adequate to give the students a sufficient and sound knowledge of the theory and principles of law.
We have reached this conclusion because the full-time institutions will be able to give instruction to the students for a larger number of periods so as to cover mere closely the different aspects of the subjects taught by them and at the same time the training imparted at these institutions will be more intensive than that now in vogue. Further, the vocational and procedural subjects being removed from the University courses, the scope of the subjects to be taught will be more wide.
23. Universities to teach only theory and principles.-
We have indicated our view that the teaching of law at the University should be confined to a scientific and academic study of the theory and principles of law, the more practical aspects being left to be dealt with later in the instruction to be imparted by the professional bodies. In this connection, we may refer to the observations of Mr. A. E. W. Hazel:
"The function of University law teachers is in the main to teach fully those subjects which, while valuable to the properly equipped lawyer are not definitely practical, and the main principles only of those subjects which are definitely practical. The detailed study of procedure, of the law of evidence, of conveyancing, and of specialized topics such as negotiable instruments or bankruptcy is not well suited to a University course"1
1. "Law Teaching and Law Practice", 47 Law Quarterly Review, p. 511.
24. Procedure to be taught during professional training.-
When the fundamental principles of substantive law have been fully grasped, the student will more easily appreciate the procedural and practical aspects which are but the application of the general and fundamental principles. Moreover, the procedural and practical aspects of law would have more importance to the students aspiring for a professional career.
25. Subjects of the degree course.-
Though a certain body of evidence was brought before us in regard to the actual subjects, which should form the subject of instruction in the University courses and the order in which they should be taught, we feel that it would be outside the scope of our inquiry to enter into a detailed examination of this subject. We shall content ourselves with making a few general observations.
26. The place of Roman Law.-
One of the subjects, the utility of which in the University courses was much debated upon was, Roman Law. The subject is, at present, included in the legal curricula of most of the Universities in India either as a compulsory or as an optional subject. It appears that this subject is taught at the Universities in a large number of the European countries. The Radhakrishnan Commission has expressed the view that "Roman Law, basic to practically all modern systems and the most complete and systematic body of law ever developed, should have a place."1
However, it appears that Roman Law is not taught in the Universities of the North American Continent. Even in the London University it is only an optional subject. There is also a very strong current of opinion both in this country and abroad favouring the exclusion of Roman Law as a subject from law courses. Professor W. I. Jennings of the London University and Mr. H. F. Jolowicz of the University of Oxford have expressed themselves in favour of omitting Roman Law from the syllabus of legal studies. Jolowicz remarks:
1. Report of the University Education Commission, p. 261.
"The ultimate difficulty is that we all feel that for us Roman Law is part of the theoretical side of legal instruction, and yet as our own law is not based on Roman principles, we cannot make the teaching of it part of an introductory course on law in general, as it is to a certain extent on the continent where the student, while learning Roman Law, is at the same time learning the elementary principles of his own law."1
1. Journal of the Society of Public Teachers of Law (1926) "The Teaching of Roman Law", p. 22; cited in the Rajasthan Legal Education Committee Report, p. 51.
The reasoning of Mr. Jolowicz is, perhaps, applicable in a greater degree to us in India as the principles of law taught to our students are based less on Roman principles than on the English Common Law.
An Indian student's ignorance of Latin which is commonly known to the English or the Continental student, is another factor which makes the study of Roman Law inept at the Indian Universities. The Indian University Commission of 1902 referred to this factor as a reason for not recommending Roman Law as a subject of study at the Universities. On the whole, we agree with the view that Roman Law should not be taught as a compulsory subject but that, as recommended by the Bombay Legal Education Committee, it may be studies only in comparison with modern law so that the teacher, while dealing with any principles of modern law, may also refer to the relevant principles of Roman Law having a bearing on the subject. In the words of the late Sir Percey Winfield, the teaching of Roman Law "might be humanised more so as to show the connection between Roman Law and existing systems."1
1. Journal of the Society of Public Teachers of Law (1930) 'Reforms in the Teaching of Law', p. 34; cited in the Bombay Legal Education Committee Report, p. 44.
27. Jurisprudence in the second year.-
The stage at which the subject of jurisprudence should be taught at the Universities has also been a matter of some controversy. The recent trend has been to teach it at a later stage so that the students who are imparted instruction in it may have some general idea as to laws and legal principles. Such knowledge would be necessary to enable them to grasp the principles of jurisprudence. This accords with the view expressed by Maitland1 and our own inclination is in the same direction.
1. Collected Papers Vol. III, pp. 427 to 429.
28. Law colleges to be full-time institutions.-
We have recommended a two-year course in law at the Universities on the basis that instruction in law will be given at full-time institutions. We have already referred to the very haphazard and cursory methods of teaching which now prevail-methods which would be unthinkable for the efficient teaching of any subject and which are wholly unsuitable to the teaching of an intricate and complex subject like law. If, therefore, the teaching of law is to have any purpose, whether it be the imparting of a cultural and liberal education or of instruction preparatory to undertaking a course of research or the training of young men in the profession of law, such teaching must be imparted only at full time institutions and by thorough and modern methods.
One has only to look at the institutions which teach law in countries like the United States, England and the Continent to realise how grievously backward we are in the matter of adequate and efficient institutions for legal teaching. As stated above, law is a social science closely related to other social sciences and if the country is to hold its own and develop so as to fall into line with advanced nations, it is indispensable that our institutions and methods of legal teaching should be of the same nature as are to be found in the advanced nations of the West.
29. Financial implications.-
The question of the financial implications involved must naturally arise. It may be asked how resources are to be made available for establishing full time institutions which will afford instruction to the larger number of law students in the various colleges spread over the country. We shall deal later with the question of the number of students seeking admission to the Law Colleges and the further question whether it is possible to limit or to divide them into categories and admit to the colleges only those who wish to study law seriously.
What, however needs to be basically recognized is that teaching and development in law are as much a vital concern of the nation as its development in other educational, cultural and industrial fields. Large sums have been set apart-and rightly set apart-for the building of the Nation in various directions by our Five-Year Plans. There is no reason why adequate-even ample funds-should not be made available for placing the imparting of legal instruction on a sound and modern footing.
Pointing out that legal education in the United States was being "starved financially" Dean Griswold of the Harvard University Law School stated in 1951:1.-
1. "Educating Lawyers for a changing world "American Bar Association Journal, Nov. 1951, p. 205, 303.
"The School with which I am associated is perhaps as well financed as any law school in the country. Yet the Law School's portion of the total endowment of Harvard University is about 3 per cent. And at the present time the Harvard Medical School spends seven times as much per student each year as the Harvard Law School".
30. Financial assistance from the States.-
We have not been able to obtain figures as to the relative expenditure on legal education and other education in our country. But the evidence before us shows that the authorities running a number of the law colleges make a profit out of these institutions. Clearly, therefore, the State and other authorities are not discharging their duty in a proper measure to legal education. It is, we consider, imperative in the interests of the nation that adequate finance should be made available for the establishment of these full time institutions.