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Thursday, April 22, 2010


Article Collected by - Education is My Passion

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Author : Surbhi Bhatia  
In order to introduce reforms in the legal education system, the law ministry will organise a national consultation in the month of January. The consultation will result in unveiling a vision document and a national policy on legal education. Issues pertaining to legal education are already being charted out. National Law University (NLU), Delhi, organised a discussion with representatives of law schools and university departments, which was chaired by Veerappa Moily, law minister. 

Moily, while announcing the decision to hold a national consultation, said, "There are more than 900 law faculties and departments in our country along with national law schools to offer legal education. We have made a lot of progress with respect to creation of law schools. However, university departments are still ailing from issues that need to be critically addressed." Calling national law schools 'islands of excellence' he said that it was important to take these schools to the masses. "We must encourage more people to apply to national law schools. The number of applications are not adequate and hence we have discussed strategies to bring about improvement," he informed. "To address all issues we will hold a national consultation process and invite stakeholders in legal education. It would result in a national policy on legal education," added Moily. 

The decision to reform legal education assumes greater significance in context of the recent 'vision statement' by the Centre on judicial reforms. The statement draws out a package of judicial reforms to reduce cases pending from 15 to three years and make the justice delivery system efficient, transparent and more accessible to the poor. "A quality legal education system is mandatory to meet these aims," said Ranbir Singh, vicechancellor, NLU. 

The session highlighted five key issues: attracting and retaining faculty, infrastructure, funding, curricula and students' admission. "We are constituting five task forces to study these issues and the observations will be submitted in January to help formulate a draft of vision document," the minister informed. 

In order to have better teachers, Moily proposed freedom to practice law and better monetary incentives for law teachers. He also suggested inviting teachers from other countries. The idea of having 'floating faculty' was also mooted. "Any good law school overseas has at least 150 faculty members, but not all are permanent, around 50% of the faculty teaches at various institutions. We cannot have experts in all the subjects in all the institutions. But we can have few experts for all the institutions," Singh observed. 

Ajit Prakash Shah, chief justice, Delhi High Court, pointed out that the inability of many legal institutions to recruit full-time quality teachers along with poor infrastructure were at the root of the problems. He laid emphasis on ethical values and alternative dispute resolution skills and integration of social sciences in the curricula. 

 Elaborating on student admission, the minister said, "There is a need to raise the minimum requirement for admission to law courses." Many vice-chancellors also emphasised the need to make LLM a oneyear programme. "We are losing bright students to foreign countries that offer one-year LLM courses. Hence, we propose that duration of the LLM course be reconsidered," Singh said. However, SN Singh of law faculty, Delhi University, said, "The LLM in India has certain topics that cannot be covered within a short duration. We need a lot of consultation before taking any such move."

Source : Times of India 
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