Consentia on Multidisciplinary Research


 World Trade Organization had come into effect from 1st January, 1995 with support of 85 founding member countries including India. India signed the agreement as one of the founder members. The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) of WTO agreement consists of six parts, xxix Articles and 8 Annexures. GATS impose number of general obligations on signatory countries. All signatory countries are bound to abide by the rules of the WTO. GATS require nations to accord “most favoured nation” status. As per this agreement a member country must provide both market access and “national treatment” to other member countries. As a consequence, we cannot prevent the entry of foreign lawyers into India. If we do so that will amount to an infringement of the provisions of GATS and WTO. Globalization has brought a tough competition in educational service sectors. We are facing tough competition not only from within but also from outside the country. Internationalization and Globalization of the legal profession and the probable entry of foreign lawyers into India in the near future, poses a serious threat to the legal professionals in India. We have to compete with the knowledge of foreign lawyers. Globalization of the legal profession is likely to introduce a sea- change in the entire fabric of law teaching and legal profession in India. The profession of law, today to a large extent, requires lawyers to represent clients not only within but also outside national frontiers. After the establishment of WTO and India gets actively involved in trade liberalization, including trade in legal services (under GATS), there is no escape from allowing equal treatment to law persons from other jurisdictions. As a result of the unprecedented changes induced by technology and globalization, all professions including legal profession are forced to re- think their method of management and delivery of services.[1]

            Globalization has changed dynamism of entire polity and society. Now the whole world is giving importance upon knowledge economy. Since the development of knowledge economy remains an important goal of the developed and developing countries, the establishment of educational institutions of global excellence along with changed new curriculum of global standard ought to become the priority of the developing country like India. Universities worldwide are preparing them to face the challenges of globalization. Some of the famous Universities of the world like Cambridge, Harvard, New York, Oxford, Stanford and Yale are gearing themselves up to cope with the changing situation of internationalization of education. Globalization and the changing dimension of the Indian economy and polity have thrown up new challenges before us.[2]

            Law is parochial yet it plays a considerable role in globalization. With few exceptions legal education has continued listing towards the local away from the global. The starting point is that political economy has profound influences on the shaping of legal education via the research agendas of legal academics, types of jobs available for graduates, regulatory structures created by government, licensing of law schools, etc. As economies and legal markets adapt to globalization so does the knowledge it is perceived to need. Law schools like to promote themselves as global either in their names like Jindal Global Law School or in their courses and faculty.

            The future legal education is a sort of a “poly-jural or trans-systemic” curriculum. The result is that “individual courses and the curriculum as a whole consciously integrate civil and common law perspectives, domestic and international perspectives, the perspectives of state law and of non-state legal systems, and legal perspectives with those of other disciplines. The idea of otherness is not to be the same but, through the freeing of law from jurisdiction or systemic boundaries, perspectives multiply and understanding is increased. This is in contrast with Justice Scalia’s disdain for foreign cases as meaningless dicta.[3] Thus, under globalisation, law is unbounded, legal systems interpenetrate or meet resistance, common law is mixed with civil and religious, domestic and international law struggle with each other, and law is found in transactions, discourse, and the quotidian routines of life.

            Globalisation has posed multiple challenges to the future of legal education in India, but it has provided an opportunity to challenge the status quo, which is an essential condition for seeking any reform. India has huge challenges to confront in promoting legal and judicial reforms, with a view to establishing a rule-of-law society. The role of lawyers and judges will become critical for addressing future challenges of governance. In this regard, the training that is imparted to future lawyers and judges in our law schools needs to be thoroughly re-examined to suit the social and economic transformation that is underway in the country.[4]

As stated in the Report of the Working Group on Legal Education of the National Knowledge Commission, in the era of globalization, the production of ideas has assumed a critical role both for social justice and for economic and technological advancement. If India has to fulfil its promise of becoming a global power it is crucial that we invest in knowledge production and the dissemination as well as make provision for adequate research. This is as true in the domain of law. The ongoing liberalization process raises complex issues relating to the nature of legal reforms necessary to ensure the development of all sections of the population. The growing harmonization of legal rules at the international level in different areas of economic and social life also poses its own challenges of determining our national interests. The need to understand other legal traditions and cultures also require attention. If India has to fulfil its promise of becoming a global power it is crucial that we invest in knowledge production and dissemination as well as make provision for adequate research to address the range of issues and questions involved. There is, therefore, an urgent need to set up four centers for advanced legal studies and research (CALSAR), one in each region. Such regional centers may be established using a base model with the mandate for promoting legal studies and research, and shall enjoy full autonomy. Some of the tasks to be assigned to these advanced legal centers would include cutting edge research on developing subjects and related areas, as well as serve as a think-tank for advising the government in national and international fora. Some of the specific functions and objectives of these centers would include the following: bringing out a peer reviewed journal of international quality; encouraging interaction across disciplines to facilitate a multi disciplinary approach to understanding law; institutionalizing arrangements for having national and international scholars in residence; organizing workshops and conferences on contemporary developments and issues of law; Undertaking in-depth research projects on new and developing areas of law, including specializing in some branches of law; providing continuing legal education for faculty members of law schools (all faculty members would be required to attend and clear minimum number of courses for promotion to professor grade); courses / research subjects to include pedagogy, university management and administration, use of technology in legal education, etc; building a world-class library, with up to date and easily accessible resources, including on-line resources and a national network’ and establishing a network with other international law research institutions to exchange information and access resources worldwide. Self-sustenance could be achieved in the following ways: Nominal fees could be charged for faculty training that could be levied on the faculty member’s institution alone or could be shared with the faculty member. Paid training programs for the industry/profession should be conducted on the lines of executive training programs for business managers. The programs shall also be open for faculty members to ensure that training relevant for the industry is delivered to the academia as well. Lectures delivered to be recorded and sold in India and abroad. Government may tie-up with universities abroad for lectures to be transmitted to these universities through video conferencing for a price. These lectures may also be exchanged for lectures by faculty of leading universities. Foreign scholars may be invited to these institutes for short term stays (from a semester to a year) to create a stimulating environment for serious research. These institutions would need to be provided with appropriate academic infrastructure that matches the best in the world (e.g. Max Planck Institutes in Germany).”

 Legal Education: Global Scenario

            In many countries other than the United States, law is an undergraduate degree. Graduates of such a program are eligible to become lawyers by passing the country’s equivalent of a bar exam. In such countries, graduate programs in law enable students to embark on academic careers or become specialized in a particular area of law. In the United States, law is a professional doctorate degree known as a Juris Doctor. Students embark upon only after completing an undergraduate degree in some other field (usually a bachelor’s degree), and is considered to be a first professional degree program. The undergraduate degree can be in any field, though most American lawyers hold bachelor’s degrees in the humanities and social sciences; legal studies as an undergraduate study is available at a few institutions. American law schools are usually an autonomous entity within a larger university.

            Faculty of law is another name for a law school or school of law, the terms commonly used in the United States. This term is used in Canada, other Commonwealth countries and the rest of the world. It may be distinguishable from law school in the sense that a faculty is a subdivision of a university on the same rank with other faculties, i.e. faculty of medicine, faculty of graduate studies, whereas a law school or school of law may have a more autonomous status within a university, or may be totally independent of any other post-secondary educational institution.  In addition in some countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada and some states of Australia, the final stages of vocational legal education required to qualify to practice law are carried out outside the university system. The requirements for qualification as a barrister or as a solicitor are covered in those articles.

United States

            As early as 1917, when serious initiatives were taken to reform legal education at the Yale Law School, it was noted that the purpose of the law school should be “the study of law and its evolution, historically, comparatively, analytically, and critically with the purpose of directing its development in the future, improving its administration and on perfecting its methods of legislation”.[5] The education of lawyers in the United States is generally undertaken through a law school program. The professional degree granted by U.S. law school is the Juris Doctor or Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.). Once a prospective lawyer has been awarded the J.D. (or other appropriate degree), he or she is usually required to pass a state bar examination in order to be licensed to practice as an Attorney at Law. Historically, as many as 32 states have recognized a diploma privilege method of bar admission which does not require sitting for a bar exam. As of mid-2007, Wisconsin and Vermont are the only states that continue to recognize this privilege. The J.D. degree, like the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), is a professional doctorate. The Doctor of Juridical Science (J.S.D.), and Doctor of Comparative Law (D.C.L.), is research and academic-based doctorate level degrees. In the U.S. the Legum Doctor (LL.D.) is only awarded as an honorary degree. Academic degrees for non-lawyers are available at the baccalaureate and master’s level. A common baccalaureate level degree is a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies (B.S.). Academic master’s degrees in legal studies are available, such as the Master of Studies (M.S.), and the Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.). Such a degree is not required to enter a J.D. program. Foreign lawyers seeking to practice in the U.S., who do not have a J.D., often seek to obtain a Master of Laws (LL.M.) (or other degrees similar to the LL.M., such as the Juris Master (J.M.), Master of Comparative Law (M.C.L.) and Master of Jurisprudence (M.J.)).

            Legal education in the United States normally proceeds along the following route: Undergraduate education (usually 4 years); Law school (usually 3 years); Admission to the bar (usually by taking a state’s bar exam); and Legal practice. A law school is an institution where prospective lawyers obtain legal degrees. In the United States, law is a Doctoral degree, the pursuit of which students undertake only after having completed an undergraduate degree in some other field (usually a bachelor’s degree). The undergraduate degree can be in any field, though most American lawyers hold bachelor’s degrees in the humanities and social sciences. American law schools are usually an autonomous entity within a larger university.

            In most cases the degree awarded by American law schools is the Doctor of Jurisprudence or Juris Doctor (J.D.), degree. In contrast, the LL.B. degree is still the standard qualification in other common law jurisdictions, mostly in the Commonwealth of Nations. Once a student has graduated from law school he or she is expected to pursue admission to the bar in order to practice. Requirements for membership in the bar vary across the United States. Once admitted, most attorneys must meet certain Continuing Legal Education (CLE) requirements.[6]

            Ten major changes effected in legal education in the U. S, are globalisation of law and legal practice, continued diversification of law school community, revolution of digital technology, increased attention to professional skills training, growth of interdisciplinary teaching and research, professionalisation of legal research and writing instruction, financial reliance on  external constituencies, ramifications of the rising cost of legal education, emphasis on professional ethics and responsibility and effects of the U. S. news ranking.[7]


            In Canada, the system of legal accreditation is somewhere between that of the United States and those of the other Commonwealth countries, or (in the case of Quebec) Continental Europe.           The first-professional degree in law is the Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) or Juris Doctor (J.D.), for common law jurisdictions, and the Bachelor of Laws, Licentiate of Law or Bachelor of Civil Law for Quebec, a civil law jurisdiction. Admission to a LL.B. or J.D. program requires some previous undergraduate education. In practice, however, the vast majority of those who are admitted have already earned at least an undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree. The change in academic nomenclature redesignating the principal common law degree as J.D. rather than an LL.B., currently completed or under consideration at a number of Anglophone Canadian schools, has not affected the level of instruction.

            Generally, entry into common-law LL.B. or J.D. programs in Canada is based primarily on a combination of the student’s undergraduate grades as well as their score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Factors such as community involvement, personal character, extracurricular activities and references are sometimes taken into account, but the LSAT remains far more determinative of admission than comparable standardized tests for other disciplines, such as the MCAT or GMAT. However, McGill, which enrolls all of its law students in a bilingual program of study, does not require applicants to write the LSAT; and the Universities of Calgary and Windsor are well known for assigning additional weight to extra-curricular factors. Quebec civil law schools do not require the LSAT, nor does the Université de Moncton École de droit, which offers the common-law LL.B. program in French only. In the case of the University of Ottawa‘s common law school, the LSAT is required for the program given in English, but not for the program given in French.

            Unlike the United States, all of Canada’s law schools are affiliated with public universities, and are thus public institutions, a practice that is generally held to have helped reduce disparities in the quality of students and instruction between them.       After completing the Juries’ Doctor, LL.B. or equivalent, students must article for one year (in Quebec, “stage” is the equivalent to “articling”); this can be a challenge for those with lower grades, as there are often a shortage of articling positions, and completion of articles is required to be able to practice law in Canada. Articling involves on-the-job training, at a lower introductory salary, under the supervision of a lawyer licensed by the Provincial Bar who has been practicing for a minimum of 5 years. After twelve to sixteen months of articling and call to the bar, attorneys are free to practice in their own right: many are hired by the same lawyer or firm for which they articled, while some choose to begin independent practices or accept positions with different employers. Others may leave the private practice of law to work in government or industry as a lawyer or in a law-related position. The great majority of Canadian lawyers do not elect to seek further academic degrees in law.[8]

United Kingdom

            Legal education in the United Kingdom[9] is divided between the common law system of England and Wales and Northern Ireland, and that of Scotland, which uses  hybrid of common law and civil law. Dundee, in Scotland, is the only university in the UK to offer students a choice of either English/Northern Irish or Scots Law LL.B. degrees. It now offers a dual-qualifying LL.B. degree in Scots Law and English/Northern Irish law.

            Requirements for becoming a lawyer in England and Wales and in Northern Ireland differ slightly depending on whether the individual plans to become a solicitor or barrister. All prospective lawyers must first however possess a qualifying law degree, or have completed a conversion course. A qualifying law degree in the England and Wales consists of seven modules drawn from the following subject areas: Public law (constitutional/administrative); European Union law; Procedural Law (including law of evidence); Criminal law; Law of obligations (contract, restitution, and tort); Property law (real property); and Trusts and equity.

            Following graduation, the paths towards qualification as a solicitor or barrister diverge. Prospective solicitors must enroll with the Law Society of England and Wales as a student member and take a one-year course called the Legal Practice Course (LPC), usually followed by two years’ apprenticeship, known as a training contract. Prospective barristers instead complete the one-year Bar Vocational Course (BVC), followed by a year’s training in a set of barristers’ chambers, known as pupilage.

            As in England & Wales, lawyers in Scotland are divided into two groups: solicitors and advocates. Solicitors are members of the Law Society of Scotland, and are only entitled to practice in the lower courts of Scotland, while advocates are members of the Faculty of Advocates and are permitted to appear in the superior High Court of Justiciary and Court of Session. Membership of either (but only one) body can be attained either by sitting that body’s professional exams, or by obtaining exemption through the award of a qualifying law degree and successful completion of the Diploma in Legal Practice.

            The Diploma in Legal Practice trains students on the practical elements of being a lawyer in Scotland, and consists of a broad range of compulsory modules. The Diploma is currently taught at the Universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Sterling and Strathclyde, and the Robert Gordon University. After completion of the Diploma, students wishing to become solicitors undertake a two-year traineeship with a law firm, before being admitted as full members of the Law Society. In order to become an advocate, students undertake a period of training of twenty-one months with a solicitor, before a further nine-month unpaid traineeship with an experienced Advocate, known as devilling. Scottish solicitors and advocates are entitled to practice elsewhere in the European Union, provided that they satisfy the requirements of the relevant EU Directives. However, to practice elsewhere in the United Kingdom, further courses and examinations are required.

            There are also conversion courses available for non-law graduates, available as an alternative to the full-length LL.B. degree course. The two most common such courses in England and Wales are the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), and Common Professional Examination (CPE), both are one year long. Alternatively, a number of institutions are now offering two-year conversion courses, usually at a lower cost with a more distinguished qualification, such as a Masters degree.

            Scots Law regulations usually require a full LL.B qualification. It is possible to complete an Honours degree in any subject, whether in Scotland, England, or indeed anywhere in the world, and subsequently undertake an accelerated two-year LL.B. for graduates degree in Scotland, and thus obtain a qualifying LL.B. qualification in Scotland. Universities offering these two-year conversion degrees include Aberdeen, Caledonian, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Strathclyde and Stirling.


            Law in France is studied in a law school which is an entity within a larger university. Legal education starts immediately after high school (there are no French Grandes écoles in law). Unlike the United States, French law schools are affiliated with public universities, and are thus public institutions. As a consequence, law schools are required to admit anyone holding the baccalauréat however the failure rate is extremely high (up to 70%) during the first two years of the “licence de droit”. There are no vast disparities in the quality of French law schools. Many schools focus on their respective city and region.

            The law school program is divided following the European standards for university studies: first a license program: three-year period and then a Master of law program: two-year period.

            The first year of the master program (M1) is specialized: public law, private law, business law, European and international law, etc. The second year of the master of law program (M2) can be work-oriented or research oriented (the students write a substantial thesis and can apply to doctoral programs – PhD Law -). The second year is competitive (entry is based on the student’s grades and overall score and on extracurricular activities) and generally more specialized (IP law, contract law, civil liberties, etc). Students must pass a specific examination to enter bar school (CRFPA, école du barreau). They must successfully finish the first year of a Master of law (M1 or maitrise de droit) to be able to attend. If they succeed, then after 18 months (school, practical aspects, ethics and internship) they then take the CAPA examination and diploma (Certificat d’Aptitude à la Profession d’Avocat). Successful students also take the Oath in order to practice law.[10]


            In Australia most reputable universities offer law as an undergraduate-entry course (LLB, 4 years), or combined degree course (e.g., BSc/LLB, BCom/LLB, BA/LLB, BE/LLB, 5–6 years). Some of these also offer a three-year postgraduate Juris Doctor (JD) program. Bond University in Queensland runs three full semesters each year, teaching from mid-January to late December. This enables the Bond University Law Faculty to offer the LLB in the usual 8 semesters, but only 2 -3 years. They also offer a JD in two years. The University of Technology, Sydney will from 2010 offer a 2 year accelerated JD program.

            In 2008 the University of Melbourne introduced the Melbourne Model, whereby Law is only available as a graduate degree, with students having to have completed a three-year bachelor’s degree (usually an Arts degree) before being eligible. Students in combined degree programs would spend the first 3 years completing their first bachelor degree together with some preliminary law subjects, and then spend the last 2–3 years completing the law degree. Alternatively, one can finish any bachelor degree, and providing their academic results are high, apply for graduate-entry into a 3 year LLB program. Some law schools are located at the Australian National University, Flinders University, Bond University, Macquarie, Monash, Deakin, UNSW, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland University of Technology, and the University of Queensland.[11]

Hong Kong

            In Hong Kong, law can be studied as a four-year undergraduate degree (LLB), a three-year postgraduate degree (Juris Doctor), or the Common Professional Examination conversion course for non-law graduates. One must then pass the one-year Postgraduate Certificate in Laws (PCLL) currently offered at the University of Hong Kong, Chinese University of Hong Kong and City University of Hong Kong, before starting vocational training: a year’s pupillage for barristers or a two-year training contract for solicitors. The move to a four-year LLB was recent and, in the case of HKU, was aimed at shifting some of the more theoretical aspects of the HKU PCLL onto the LLB, leaving more room for practical instruction.[12]


            The Japanese legal education system is driven more by examination than by formal schooling. The profession of barristers, known as bengoshi, is highly regulated, and the passage rate for the bar exam is around three percent. Prospective attorneys who do pass the exam must take it three or four times before passing it, and a number of specialized “cram schools” exist for prospective lawyers. After passing the bar exam, prospective barristers undergo a 16-month training period at the Legal Research and Training Institute of the Supreme Court of Japan. The training period has traditionally been devoted to litigation practice and virtually no training is given for other aspects of legal practice, e.g. contract drafting, legal research. During this period, the most “capable trainees” are “selected out” to become career judges; others may become prosecutors or private practitioners.

            In 2004, the Japanese Diet passed a law allowing for the creation of three-year law schools (,hōka daigakuin). The 2006 bar examination was first in Japanese history to require a law school degree as a prerequisite. In the past, although there has been no educational requirement, most of those who passed the examination had earned undergraduate degrees from “elite” Japanese universities such as the University of Tokyo, Kyoto University or Hitotsubashi University. Since 2004, the J.D. degree is also awarded in Japan, the only civil law country to do so, where it is known as Hōmu Hakushi.

            A number of other law-related professions exist in Japan, such as patent agents (benrishi), tax accountants (zeirishi), scriveners, etc., entry to each of which is governed by a separate examination. It should be noted that attorneys (“bengoshi”), being qualified to practice any law, can automatically be qualified as patent agents and tax accountants with no additional examination, but not vice versa.[13]


            Similar to the Japanese legal education system, the legal education in Korea has been driven by examination. The profession of barristers, is highly regulated, and the passage rate for the bar exam is around five percent. Prospective attorneys who do pass the exam usually take it two or three times before passing it and a number of specialized “cram schools” exist for prospective lawyers. After passing the bar exam, prospective barristers undergo a two-year training period at the Judicial Research and Training Institute of the Supreme Court of Korea. During this period, the most capable trainees are “selected out” to become career judges; others may become prosecutors or private practitioners.

            In 2007, the Korean government passed a law allowing for the creation of three-year law schools. According to the new law, the old system of selecting lawyers by examination will be phased out. The U.S.-style law schools will be a sole route to become a lawyer.

            In February 2008, the Ministry of Education of Korea selected 25 universities to open law schools. The total enrollment for all law schools is capped at 2,000, which is a source of contention between the powerful Korea Bar Association, and citizen groups and school administrators. There is uproar among the schools which failed to get the government’s approval and even among the schools that did get the approval; there is dissatisfaction due to an extremely low enrollment number. Several law schools are permitted to enroll 40 students per year, which is far below the financially sustainable number. Once a student has graduated from law school he or she is expected to pursue admission to the bar in order to practice. A number of other legal professions exist in Korea, such as patent attorneys, tax attorneys, scriveners, etc., entry to each of which is governed by a separate examination.[14]


            To become a lawyer in Serbia, students must graduate from an accredited faculty of law. Studies last for five years (ten semesters) in accordance to the Bologna Convention. To become a student of the faculty of law, a candidate must pass the admission test. Students are divided into full-time students and part-time students. The practical training for students is organized at courts of law, and local and international moot court competitions. A lawyer must pass the national bar examination to become an attorney, a judge, or a prosecutor.[15]

South Africa

            In South Africa, the LL.B. is the universal legal qualification for admission and enrolment as an Advocate or Attorney. LL.B. programmes may be entered directly at the undergraduate level (since 1998), and continue to be offered postgraduate – these may be accelerated depending on whether “Law” was studied as a subject in the bachelor’s degree. (Several South African universities offer B.A. and BCom degrees with Law as a major subject.) The programme lasts between two and four years correspondingly; compare Australia, above. (Historically, the B.Proc. and B.Juris degrees were offered at the undergraduate level; these did not allow for admission as an advocate. The completion of courses in Latin was previously a requirement for the LL.B., but has been discontinued.)

            The requirements to enter private practice as advocates (Junior Counsel) are to become members of a Bar Association by undergoing a period of training (pupilage) for one year with a practicing Advocate, and to sit an admission examination. On the recommendation of the Bar Councils, an advocate “of proven experience and skill” with at least ten years experience, may be appointed by the President of South Africa as a Senior Counsel (SC; also referred to as a “silk”). For admission as an attorney, one serves as a candidate attorney (articles) with a practicing attorney for two years, and then writes a “board exam” set by the relevant provincial Law Society. (The length of articles may be reduced by attending a practical legal training course or performing community service.) The Act regulating admission to practice law (“The Qualifications of Legal Practitioners Amendment Act of 1997”) is being revised.

            Attorneys may further qualify as Notaries and Conveyancers, via an additional examination; those with technical or scientific training may qualify as patent attorneys. Although not formally required for practice, further training, e.g. in tax, is usually via specialised postgraduate diplomas or LL.M. programmes. Research degrees are the LL.M. and LL.D., or PhD depending on university.[16]


            China’s legal education is an important part of the national education as a whole. Before 1978, it had passed a tortuous course. But since 1978, legal education in China has been restored and developed rapidly. With the developments of more than 20 years, A new system of legal education with Chinese character has come into being. This system is one that encompasses many forms, levels and channels of legal education and training. Under the official statistics of 1998, there are 214 universities that offer legal education among more than 1,000 universities in China, about 80,000 students who are studying law (account for 2.5% of all students of higher education institutions); there are over 150 continued higher legal education institutions, around 86,000 students who are studying law (account for 4.6% of all students of continued higher education institutions); there are 57 secondary vocational law school, about 22,000 students; there are over 2000 schools or centers for training judicial administrators. In addition, China Training Center for International Lawyers (Shanghai), China Training Center for International Senior Legal Professionals (Beijing), China Training Center for International Senior Legal Professionals (Chongqing) and China Training Center for Senior Lawyers and Notaries were established cooperatively by the Ministry of Justice and some higher legal education institutions.

            In China, higher legal education applies a system of academic degrees. The legal academic degrees include LL.B. (Bachelor of Law), LL.M. (Master of Law) and J.S.D. (Doctor of Law). Until now, there are 43 universities, independent colleges and research institutes that have the status as a LL.M. degree-conferring unit, 9 universities and one research institute that have the status as a Doctor of Law degree-conferring unit. In the circle of legal education, these ten universities and research institute as a Doctor of Law degree-conferring unit enjoy great prestige.

            China’s higher legal education also applies a system of professional degree. This degree program aims at training candidates to become compound-and-applied-model senior specialists for legislative, judicial, administrative and legal service institutions.  The Professional Master of Law degree program is divided into two groups. As for one group, candidates are from non-law-discipline graduates at undergraduate level, similar to JD program in the United States. As to another group, candidates are from people who are working in courts, procurators or organs of civil affairs, public security, judicial administration and supervision. They are all part-time graduate students.[17]

Sri Lanka

            In order to practice law in Sri Lanka a lawyer must be admitted and enrolled as an Attorney-at-Law of the Supreme Court of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. To be admitted to the bar a law student must complete law exams held by the Sri Lanka Law College and undergo a period of apprenticeship under a practicing lawyer. There are two routes taken by students:

  1. Those who have gained a law degree, an LL.B. (which is 3–4 years long in Sri Lankan State Universities of University of Colombo and the Open University of Sri Lanka) are given direct entry to undertake law exams that the Sri Lanka Law College.
  2. Those who don’t hold a law degree could gain entrance to the Sri Lanka Law College via a competitive entrance exam to study law and prepare for the law exams.

Both groups of students must undergo a period of apprenticeship under a practicing lawyer. To become a judge one must be admitted as an Attorney-at-Law.[18]


            Law degree programs are considered graduate programs in the Philippines. As such, admission to law schools requires the completion of a bachelor’s degree, with a sufficient number of credits or units in certain subject areas. Graduation from a Philippine law school constitutes the primary eligibility requirement for the Philippine Bar Examinations, administered by the Supreme Court during the month of September every year.

            In order to be eligible to take the bar examinations, one must complete either of the two professional degrees: The Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) program or the Juris Doctor (J.D.) program. Advanced degrees are offered by some law schools, but are not requirements for admission to the practice of law in the Philippines. Legal education in the Philippines normally proceeds along the following route:

  • Undergraduate education (usually 4 years)
  • Law school (usually 4 years)
  • Admission to the bar (usually by taking a Philippine bar exam)
  • Legal practice and mandatory continuing legal education [19]


            Legal education in Indonesia has historically been generated since the time of Dutch colonization. It was originally started by the establishment of a Senior High School namely Rechtsschool in 1908. In 1924, the status of Rechtsschool was formalized and improved into the higher education of law which was named Rechtshoogeschool. Those law students who graduated in law from the school awarded an academic title of Mister in de Rechten (Mr.). Soon after Indonesia proclaimed its independence on August 17, 1945 the first higher legal education established in Yogyakarta in 1946 namely Balai Perguruan Tinggi Gadjah Mada (the Higher Education of Gadjah Mada), as well as in Jakarta based on Hoger Onderwijs Ordonantie 1946. The legal education directed to create graduates in law who not only had the courage to throw off the shackles of Dutch colonial law, but who also possessed the necessary skills to sustain the revolution from colony to independence.

            In 1983 the semester system replaced into the unit credit semester system (sistem satuan credit semester).[20] Legal education in the country has for a long time not distinguished between academic and professional legal education. Therefore, the curriculum was designed to expect graduates to have a thorough theoretical understanding of the law and at the same time, posses the skills and expertise that are demanded by the market of professional world.

            The effort of re-orienting and improving higher legal education curriculum has to be continued. The 1993 curriculum acknowledged the difference between the two; namely academic and professional legal education, but sought to achieve both objectives in a single curriculum.[21] This was in line with a general attempt to implement the applied approach to university education. However, the 1993 curriculum did not work enough to ensure that graduates were ready for employment. The fusing of academic and professional legal education is not a realistic objective. The allocation of time for students to garner both theoretical and practical legal knowledge is too short in which the law programs take place for only four years, and it is possible in some faculties to complete the course in three and a half years. Clearly, this time frame makes it too ambitious to successfully attempt the acquisition of both the distinctly different aspects of legal education.

            In 2000, it was decided that national curriculum should be replaced into core curriculum, and subjects classification of general subjects, legal basic skill subjects, legal skill subjects, legal practical education subjects have not remain been used. Those were changed into subjects group of personality development (MPK), scientific and skills (MKK), expertise in working (MKB), behaviour in working (MPB), and life in society (MBB).[22]

            The law curriculum in Indonesia is dominated by the personality of the drafters. In the past there was an institution within the Department of National Education that had specific responsibility over the development of a number of sciences, including law science. This institution was initially recognized as the Legal Science Consortium (KIH) which was later changed to become the Commission for the Discipline of Legal Science (KDIH). In January 2003, the KDIH was dissolved by the Department of National Education. Since then, the curriculum reform and matters relating to the organization of legal education has been decentralized. In theory, every law faculty for now has the freedom to amend and enhance the curriculum as they see appropriate. In spite of this apparent freedom, the Deans of the state-run faculties have taken the initiative to meet periodically in a forum known as the Deans of the Indonesia Public Law Faculties Cooperation Board (Badan Kerjasama Dekan-dekan Fakultas Hukum). The current membership of the Board is 34, including a Military Law School of Jakarta.

            The 1993 curriculum possesses legal education objectives which are neutral. This curriculum will have two distinct subject categories: One, subjects which will be important to any legal system, for example, civil law, criminal law, constitutional law, administrative law and international law; and two, subjects that focus on the laws of Indonesia, especially those that influence the development of the law in Indonesia. In particular, law in Indonesia is influenced by European (Western) law, Islamic law, and traditional Adapt law.

            The postgraduate legal education program needs to be reviewed. The postgraduate program, and in particular the Masters program, is perceived primarily as modern world, it is not necessary for Masters Program to be characterized solely as an academic program. The Masters program should have three main objectives. First, there is the academic agenda; second, there is need to enhance and deepen the law graduate’s knowledge of the law and finally, there is the professional agenda. The academic agenda seeks to prepare individuals who intend to become lecturers or researchers. This agenda also prepares student students for the next level, a Doctorate. The second objective focuses on providing law graduates with a means to update their knowledge or embark on a particular specialization. The professional agenda aims to qualify law graduates for a particular kind of practice. In Indonesia, at this time, those who have already completed the notaries education program, one of the conditions to enter the notary profession, are awarded a Masters in Notaries.[23]

 Status of Legal Education in India

            India is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with 1.18 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world. Four major religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism originated here, while Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam arrived in the first millennium and shaped the region’s diverse culture. India is a federal constitutional republic with a parliamentary democracy consisting of 28 states and seven union territories.  In a democratic country like India, where rule of law is the driving force of the Government, legal education assumes great significance.

In Keshvanand Bharati v. State of Kerala,[24] Hon’ble Supreme Court held that rule of law is the basic foundation of our democracy. Rule of law says that “Be you ever so high, the law is above you”. Education has wider implication. It stands for development. Education makes men perfect. In the words of Swami Vivekananda “it is the manifestation of perfection already in man”. Again, legal education makes men law abiding and socially conscious. Legal education helps in bringing and establishing socio-economic justice. Change is the law of nature and law is the regulator of social change. It is sine qua non for the development of rule of law and a sustainable democratic order. In other words, legal education is the heart and the very soul of the society for administering rule of law in a democratic country like ours. Therefore, quality legal education is to be imparted to the people taking into consideration the changing needs of the society and in the changing era of globalization. In Manubhai Vashi v. State of Maharashtra [25] Hon’ble Supreme Court held that the legal education should be able to meet the ever growing demands of the society and should be thoroughly equipped to cater to the complexities of different situations.[26]

            There are more than 900 law education institutions in India. The available Indian labor pool for legal services is both well-educated and steeped in quality fundamentals. Estimates of the number of Indians with legal training vary widely, ranging from 1.5 million to as many as 6 million. What is clear is that Indians share with American counterparts a common business language (English) and the heritage of British common law. As in the U.S., judicial decisions in India are based on tradition, custom, and precedent. Conducted entirely in English, legal education in India follows a structure similar to that in the U.S., typically involving a two- or three-year graduate program. Based on the latest estimates, India today has over 500 law schools, 6 million attorneys and up to 200,000 new law students graduating every year.[27] It is important to note that lawyers educated in the Indian system are not eligible to take the American Bar Exam and are thus unable to practice law in the U.S. This means that they must be supervised and have their work product reviewed by a lawyer licensed to do so.[28]


Legal education institutions in the country can be broadly divided into three categories.  In the first category there are 16 Law Universities completely dedicated for imparting quality legal education.  Out of these 13 of them are National Law Universities which are stand alone Universities and couple of them are the affiliating Universities and one is stand alone state level law university.  National Law Universities have gained good reputation for evolving sustaining and maintaining the quality in legal education.

Author   Details:

Manjunatha N G,
Research scholar in law (UGC-JRF Fellow),
Karnataka State Law University, Hubli, 
Assistant professor in law Vjdyodaya law college, Tumkur

[1] Pradip Kumar Das, Curriculum of Legal Education to meet Challenges of Globalisation,, logged on July 11, 2010.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003).

[4]C.Rajkumar, Global Legal Education in India: Opportunities and Challenges, in

[5] C. Rajkumar, Global Legal Education in India: Opportunities and Challenges,

[6], logged on July 15, 2010.

[7] N. William Hines, Ten Major Changes in Legal Education over the Past 25 Years,, logged on July 15, 2010.

[8], logged on July 15, 2010.

[9], logged on July 19, 2010.

[10], logged on July 15, 2010.

[11], logged on July 15, 2010.

[12], logged on July 15, 2010.

[13], logged on July 15, 2010.

[14], logged on July 15, 2010.

[15], logged on July 15, 2010.

[16], logged on July 15, 2010.

[17]  Huang Jin, The Structure of Legal Education in China, logged on July 19, 2010.

[18], logged on July 15, 2010.

[19], logged on July 15, 2010.

[20]Decision Letter Director General of Higher Education No. 30/1983

[21]In 1993 Minister of Education and Culture enacted Decision Letter No. 017/D/0/1993 concerning Faculty of Law Curriculum, in which one year afterward revised by Decision Letter Minister of Education and Culture No. 0325/U/1994.

[22]Decision Letter No. 232/U/2000 concerning Guidance for Designing Higher Education Curriculum and Evaluation Study Result of the Student issued by the Minister of National Education.

[23] I Nyoman Nurjaya, Legal Education Reform: A Case of Indonesia, logged on July 15, 2010

[24] AIR 1973 SC 1461

[25] 1995 AIR SCW 3701

[26]Pradip Kumar Das, Curriculum of Legal Education to meet Challenges of Globalisation, html, logged on July 11, 2010.


[28] Ibid.


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