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Efforts on to streamline legal education

T.V. Sivanandan

Bar Council of India plans collaborative efforts towards enhancing lawyers' competency


All-India test for entry into the legal profession on December 5

Those clearing it will get a certificate of merit


GULBARGA: The Directorate of Legal Studies of the Bar Council of India (BCI) has initiated several measures to streamline legal education, in an effort to meet international educational standards and improve the competence of advocates in the country.

Bridging gaps

The steps are aimed at helping Indian lawyers to be on a par with those working with international law firms, which will soon start operations in India.

The first Director of Legal Studies of the BCI, V.B. Coutinho, told The Hindu that the directorate proposed to hold a six-day intensive training programme for young and as well as experienced advocates so that they could achieve professional excellence. “Eminent advocates from different countries will be invited as faculty to train lawyers in India”.

Prof. Coutinho said the first training programme would be conducted in collaboration with the National Law University in Delhi. This would be followed by another training programme in Bangalore in association with the National Law School of India University, and the third one in Goa in association with the University of Goa.

The directorate had also decided to tighten the process by which law graduates could become eligible to practice in courts.

Prof. Coutinho said an all-India examination for entry into the legal profession would be held at different centres on December 5.

“This is the first time such a test is being conducted by the BCI, and every candidate who clears it will be given a certificate of merit by the BCI, which would qualify him or her for legal practice,” Prof. Coutinho said.

He clarified that the examination would be conducted in English as well as the regional languages, and candidates appearing for the test would be allowed to take one book into the examination hall for reference. The directorate would also provide study material and model question papers in advance.

“Students who pass out of the law school during the current academic year are eligible to write the test. Without writing this examination, nobody can become members of the Bar associations,” he added.

Anguished

Expressing anguish over the lack of basic infrastructure in law schools in the country, Prof. Coutinho said the BCI had accepted the recommendations of the directorate to include professors of eminence in law as part of inspection teams that would visit law institutions across the country. BCI chairman, Gopal Subramaniam, who is also the Solicitor-General of India, had directed that all law colleges provide the best of education. To a question, Prof. Coutinho said the directorate would also conduct “competence tests” for law graduates from other countries before they were allowed to practice in India.

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