Reformation of Indian Law School Teaching

Law School Teaching
Spread the love for law

About the Author:

Moksha Jain is a lawyer by profession.

It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge”

– Albert Einstein

ABSTRACT

Education is an important aspect in an individual’s growth and development perspective. When it comes to legal education, it is an asset to promote justice and integrity of the well-defined laws of the country. This makes is crucial to impart such legal education in a very efficient way, in order to bring skilled lawyers in the field. The article lays emphasis on the need to reform the  law school teaching techniques as theoretical aspect in the Indian teaching system overpowers the need for skill development. It is necessary that legal education embeds ideals of integrity, justice, equality, and fraternity amongst students. While walking further, we will discuss the ways to improve the current system of education and ways to make law school teaching more empirical and pragmatic.

INTRODUCTION

Law school teaching, in particular, plays a tremendous role in producing soldiers for the administration of justice. The knowledge and skills taught to the budding lawyers in the law schools plays an important role in their future endeavors. But, is the current pattern of the education system in the Indian law schools sufficient? Are the law schools providing enough knowledge to place efficient lawyers in the field?

Law is the language of justice. It brings reforms to the society and facilitates justice. It is something that evolves with time, and such dynamic nature of laws is not easy to understand for a layman. Additionally, the Indian laws comprise of Latin and Greek terms, common law principles, and laws adopted from various states. It requires effective training and skills to interpret these laws. So, it is important to enhance the quality of the Indian legal education system and precisely reform the same.

NEED FOR THE CHANGE

India ranks 135th in Global Education Index by United Nations Development Programme,1 which depicts an alarming state of education in the country. The unemployment statistics are quite awakening. The quality of education and training is absent in the education system. It is the theoretical aspect in the Indian teaching system which overpowers the need for skill development. The shortfall of a competent teaching system in India is affecting the economic growth from a wider perspective. And this shortcoming in the system is a highlighted feature of concern in Indian law schools as well.

The Law Commission of India has described legal education as a science which imparts to students, knowledge of certain principles and provisions of law intending to enable them to enter into the legal profession.2 It is necessary that legal education embeds ideals of integrity, justice, equality, and fraternity amongst students. The Law Commission of India, in its 184th report on The Legal Education & Professional Training, took up the subject of ‘Legal Education’, suo motu, as the said subject is fundamental to the very foundation of the judicial system. The Law Commission has viewed that accreditation and quality assessment of law schools in the country must be introduced by the BCI and UGC, so that a healthy competition environment be generated.3

Rutherford B. Hayes said,

“Law without education is a dead letter. With education the needed law follows without effort and, of course, with power to execute it; indeed, it seems to execute itself.”

It is high time to bring changes in the law school teaching patterns, and bring progressive techniques to produce competent lawyers and judges in the field. The current system of education in law schools is theory-based and it needs a shift to the practical based structure of education. The focus is to impart knowledge that can be put into practical application. The aim must be to maintain standards of skills and transmit efficiency in the law students. It is required to bring significant changes in the legal education system and completely reform the way it is beheld.

The reading of laws and its background in law books and journals doesn’t fulfill the knowledge requirement. It becomes monotonous when the practical aspect is detached in the class-room teaching. The law school curriculum is outdated and even after repeated requests of BCI and UGC; it has not been amended to include new and contemporary subjects in the course. Besides the law books aren’t adequately updated and revised. The system is not technology-friendly and lacks research initiatives. The scarcity of skill development process in the course makes it inefficacious.

WAYS TO IMPROVE THE EDUCATION SYSTEM

The focal point of this article is to scrutinize ways to reform legal education in our country. The schools of law must be determined in providing an environment favorable for the growth of professionals. The aim is to impart knowledge which: (a) Creates competent professionals. (b) Develop skill based education. (c) Emphasis study of contemporary legal issues. (d) Raise the standard of legal education. (e) Imbue professional ethics. (f) Provide know-how of drafting and pleading.

Even the Law Commission recommended that “Every university shall endeavor to supplement the lecture method with the case method, tutorials and other modern techniques of imparting legal education”.4 The education must be more empirical and pragmatic. It is necessary that exposure is provided within the walls of the law schools so that competent professionals pass out every year. It is seen that most of the law schools in India do not impart any specialized training for moots and seminars. These lack of skills will retrograde if sufficient attention and training is not imbibed in the curriculum. In addition, law schools must provide practical knowledge before setting out students for internships.

In India, the education system lacks technology vibrant environment. The introduction of E- media for teaching will enhance sources to impart better knowledge. Such introductions will captivate the interest of students. Instead of long and monotonous lectures, the focus must be diverted on the student’s ability to comprehend. The teaching faculty must undergo constant pieces of training to cope up with the dynamic nature of laws and come up with interesting ways to make lectures more practical. The textbooks are not the limits, it’s just a beginning. For the shift from the theoretical aspect of education to skill-oriented methods, visits to courts and legal departments will work as a seed for professionals to bloom.

Moot training societies, debate clubs, and legal aid clinics must be established in every law school for proficient training to the students. Governmental organizations such as District Legal Service Authority can be involved in conducting weekly events for the students. The seminars and legal events would enhance interest in knowledge and would widen the ambit of  legal.

education. The law schools in India lag behind when it comes to legal research and writing. The legal methodology is taught in the courses but often it is taken very insignificantly. Law schools must develop regulations to inculcate the habit of writing research papers and must publish student journals to promote legal research.

Under Section 7(h) of the Advocates Act 1961, it is the duty of Bar Council of India (BCI) to promote legal education and to lay down standards of such education in consultation with the Universities in India imparting such education and the State Bar Councils.5 It is the duty of central and state government and concerned authorities to bring concurrent reforms in the legal education system. The relation between good lawyers and better administration of justice is direct. This calls for steps to reform the Indian legal education system.

CONCLUSION

The change can’t be brought in an hour, but there must be a time when the starting point is to be marked. The vacuum between the education in law schools and training required for professional lawyers is huge; but combined efforts of authorities, faculty, and students can bring requisite changes. The reformation will surely be one step at a time, but strict rules must be made by university boards for a better system of education. Stern measures are necessary for the implementation of reforms in the education system. The effort must be to produce lawyers who are competent, determined, dedicated, trained, and well versed in the law. The legal education must be progressive to tackle the dynamic changes in the legal environment.

References

 http://hdr.undp.org/en/content/education-index

The Curriculum U.G.C. Guidelines, Report : The Curriculum Development Centre in Law (1990)

Law Commission of India, 184th Report on The Legal Education & Professional Training and Proposals for Amendments to the Advocates Act, 1961 and the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, December, 2002

 Law Commission of India, 184th Report on The Legal Education & Professional Training and Proposals for Amendments to the Advocates Act, 1961 and the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, December, 2002

Advocates Act 1961, s 7 (h)

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