Legal education emerged in India after independence. The growth has been exponential predominantly in the last three decades. Legal education makes people responsible and disciplined. It is a key to strengthen the legal system. The entire world has adopted law and order in order to maintain peace and tranquility. The law ensures social economic development. In other words, it protects individual rights and freedom to maintain peace and order in the society. On the same path, legal education furnishes a relationship of law with societies.
What is legal education?
The Law Commission of India has defined the term ‘legal education’ as an art and science which imparts knowledge and awareness to students regarding principles, rules and provisions of law. The same enable them to enter the legal profession.
Encyclopedia of education defines legal education as a skill for human knowledge which is relevant to the lawyer’s art and which deserves special attention in educational institutions. It means legal education has its own standard. The Bar Council of India (BCI) has introduce five years integrated law course. Now it is known as the under graduate law course. The standard of higher education is now maintained by the University of Grant Commission, governed by the University Grants Commission Act, 1956. This aims to produce good lawyers, judges, administrators, counselor and legal scientists. It has adopted different ways to maintain peace and the ethics of human governance.
Under S. 7(1) h of the Advocates Act, the BCI is empowered to promote legal education and to lay down standards of such education. Any institution providing legal education must meet the required standards. The BCI recognizes the institution and the degree conferred by it. The Commission has suggested that practitioners and judges should teach as well.
Challenges and problems faced by the legal education sector:
1. Infrastructural need
At present, the legal educational system can be put on three tires. They are national law schools, private universities and deemed to be university. While the national law schools have funds, infrastructure and other necessities, smaller colleges in semi-urban and rural districts have a completely different story. They do not have the funds to even afford basic necessities such as law books. They do not have proper infrastructure and resources. The system of training is not the same. As a result, the quality of education takes a huge hit.
2. Limited moot court exposure
Moot court is one of the most important practical exposures in the field of law. When there is no guiding system for preparation, it limits participation in moot court competitions. Students from other countries participate in international moot competitions, whereas talented students from India simply don’t get such enriching experiences. To train law students and make them able to compete on a global level is a great challenge for law schools.
Internships are crucial for law students. It gives them an opportunity to practically apply what they are learning. Via internships, a law student does not only indulge in theoretical knowledge, but also takes a footstep in the practical world. It is imperative that law students find the right platform that will help enhance their personalities and professional skills. Internships also helps to build strong and effective resumes. However, majority of the law colleges are unable to provide adequate internship opportunities to the students. This limits their learning and growth.
Everyday a new technology emerges. In this modernized world, it is very important to remain aware of such technological changes and their importance. Technology helps in enhancing the efficiency of the legal education system. However, use of technology, especially in small-town colleges, is found to be negligible. Thus, it is impacting the quality of legal education. The lack of use of advanced technology is one of the major challenges in the legal education in India. They must harness the power of technology to train law students for the future.
5. Lack of Researchers
Another problem in the legal education in India is lack of researchers. Lack of importance to research and publications in law schools is the biggest hindrance. This has led to the absence of an intellectual environment. Research can contribute towards perfection in teaching and addressing number of challenges relating to law and justice. If we look at the faculty profile of the world’s top law schools we will find that there is great emphasis on research and publications. In India, the researcher legal fraternity is not at the same level as with other disciplines.
6. Good Faculty
Apart from national law schools, private institutions fail to get good and full time faculty. Indeed legal education requires good, experienced and full time dedicated teachers. This is crucial so as to ensure perfection in teaching. Most of the colleges do not have any criteria for selection of faculty. They often appoint teachers who have not even cleared the eligibility test. They recruit generally on seniority and not on skills. The issues in relation to faculties are severe in almost every law school of the country.
7. Curriculum and pedagogy
Teaching methods have always been a debatable topic throughout the world. The Indian legal education system is still based on lecture method. Which is a very primitive one. Students are given lectures which are one-sided. They are dictated important concepts of that subject. Majority of the students do not find the lecture method efficient. Sometimes, teaching along with practical exposure becomes very important. Which is currently lacking across the country.
8. Medium of curriculum
Medium of curriculum in law colleges is very crucial. The language used in High Court or Supreme Court is exclusively English. However, trial courts or subordinate courts work in Hindi. Having knowledge of local language is very important to enter the judiciary sector. But it becomes difficult when the cases, the treatises and commentaries, the laws themselves are all written and available in English.
9. Doctrinal exposures
It is common in every law school that students need to submit research papers every semester. Writing research projects without knowing the research techniques or plagiarism rules is a waste of time. This is currently not addressed in law colleges in India. Therefore every university/college must introduce or effectively implement doctrinal courses / research projects for competitive legal education.
10. International programs and experience
Indian Law colleges and universities must promote innovation. International programs and courses are very common now. However, Indian law schools are far behind. It is pertinent now for our law schools to encourage their students to participate in such program. It must be noted that the Indian law fraternity still lacks expertise in international laws.
Law is all about change, the only thing one can find constant here.Anonymous
Also read: every law student must check this out!
The BCI, law Schools, judicial academies, etc. play an important role in imparting legal education in India. The above discussed challenges and problems are impediments to the growth of country’s legal sector. The Indian society is facing various problems relating to administration of justice and competitive legal education.
Various judges and law scholars have expressed their concern on position of legal education in India as there is an urgent need to update and bring innovation in legal education. The same is essentially required to meet the present day challenges and resolve pertinent issues.
Legal education is an investment.
It aims to produce most valuable results for the nation in terms of justice. It brings rapidity in the social development. Law degree should not be seen as a course. There is no end point of a law. Regular and continuous innovation and amendment are necessities. Once said by Martin Luther King, that a static law is an impediment to the growth of the society and it ultimately leads to failure in its ability to provide justice. Knowledge of law comes from legal education. Therefore, ultimately the blame will shift on the legal education which the prospective lawyers are getting at their law schools.
We need to appoint sincere, devoted and dedicated faculties in law schools. Teachers have very crucial role to play here. They are keys to produce hard working lawyers, honest judges and distinguished jurists. Ultimately the thing which matters is the art of interpreting the provisions. This is a hard-hitting and a challenging task. Only an enthusiastic teacher can produce hard-working students, honest professionals, and informed citizens. This is what the whole nation as well as the legal fraternity need today. This is the need of hour that law schools must take quick action to these challenges. These challenges are obstructing the growth and development of the students.