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--------------- Print Magazine --------------
  May 2016
  April 2016

A New Look at the Role of State

Bar Councils in Legal Education

Maj. Gen. Nilendra Kumar
Director, Amity Law School, Noida

Bar Council of Delhi is quite distinct from its counterparts set up in various other States.  This is so for the simple reason that Delhi is the National Capital and also the seat of the Supreme Court, Delhi High Court, various Tribunals, Authorities and Boards.  Delhi has a number of institutions of higher learning in law and related disciplines. Bar Council of Delhi has an important and positive role in legal education and that would involve regular and close interaction with different law schools.  The Council is also responsible to conduct and supervise the entrance examination for the Bar.  The co-location of the Bar Council of Delhi with the Bar Council of India gives the former increased scope for interaction and consultation with different stakeholders. The law students get an opportunity to interact with the lawyers practicing before different courts and tribunals in Delhi. 

There are a few areas in which the Bar Council of Delhi (in short ‘the Council’) may take a leading and pioneering lead. These would not only enhance the prestige and authority of the Council but also showcase it as a model Council to its counterparts in other States.

To begin with, it is suggested that the Bar Council could play a more pro-active role in the sphere of clinical legal education.  A first step in this regard may be to institute a running trophy for each of the three different modes of Clinical Legal Education e.g. mock trials, moots and legal writing.  The venue may rotate amongst the different law schools and colleges in the capital region. These trophies accompanied with book prizes and certificates of merit /participation may be sponsored by the Council.  Such a step, if and when taken, by the Council for different law schools in the NCR region would not only directly improve the exposure of students to trial and appellant advocacy, legal writing but also generate a sense of healthy competition amongst the participants.  Moreover, this would inculcate in them a respect for the Bar Council as a whole apart from the Council members getting an opportunity to directly meet, interact and enter into a dialogue with the faculty and students.  Needless to say, the cost involved would be too meager as compared to the significant benefits likely to accrue.

The second suggestion is with regard to the Council instituting a formal system to allow the scope for internship.  This is in the context of those students, who wish to take up litigation as a career. The Council may regularly inform the law colleges for submission of data regarding their students who wish to intern under a practicing advocate.  The colleges may respond by furnishing information indicating the name, number and semester of students and also the duration and the preferred period of internship. The data of interested students may be processed by the Bar Council to in turn apprise the practicing advocate the particulars of the students who may be accepted in their chambers for internship.  Such a policy would greatly enhance the authority and prestige of the Council.

The next suggestion is with regard to an active and direct trial by the Bar Council inspecting requests from the law colleges in the NCR for a scrutiny of syllabus at the undergraduate level of law programmes.  The necessary inputs and changes suggested by the learned advocates would greatly assist the academics in making suitable changes for the revision of the syllabus so as to make it more practical and meaningful apart from incorporation of latest case law.  The recommendations may also be based upon the observations by the practicing counsels with regard to the interning students.

Yet another area calling for a close support from the Bar Council in the area of legal education relates to legal aid clinics.  As part of clinical legal education, these are meant to train law students in client interviewing, counselling and legal remedies.  Bar Councils may come forward to operationalise the concept of legal aid as envisaged under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to keep the law schools and colleges organize such clinics.

Lastly, the Bar Council may allow and encourage the law colleges to depute their students to visit the Council office to actually attend and witness the actual proceedings relating to enrollment of law graduates and also the disciplinary committee hearings.

Law Schools and Colleges are the nurseries and training grounds for future lawyers.  Therefore, their growth and development is vital for a sound and vibrating legal profession.  Suggestions as indicated above may be likewise considered for suitable adoption by other State Bar Councils.

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