- Apprentice Lawyer
The Bar Council of India (BCI) has decided to scrap the one-year LL.M course which was introduced in India in 2013.
The post-graduate course in law leading to Master's degree, i.e LL.M has to be of two years spread over four semesters, the newly notified BCI Legal Education (Post Graduate, Doctoral, Executive, Vocational, Clinical and other Continuing Education) Rules, 2020 said.
Further, a pass in three-year or five-year LL.B will be compulsory for admission to LL.M course.
As per the Rules, a Master's degree in any specialized branch of Law offered in the Open System to any graduate, such as Business Law or Human Right, or International Trade Law without having LL.B./BA.LLB as the requisite entry level qualification shall not be designated as LL.M.
It can be designated in any other manner attracting the immediate attention of anyone that such a degree holder may not be a Law graduate, the Rules clarify.
The Rules will come into force from the date notified by the BCI.
The Rules further state that admission to LL.M will be through Post Graduate Common Entrance Test in Law (PGCETL) which is conducted by the BCI. Until the PGCETL is introduced the present system followed by respective Universities shall be followed. Once the BCI introduces PGCETL it shall be mandatory to admit the students from the merit list of the Test.
With respect to an LL.M obtained from a foreign university, the same shall be equivalent to LL.M obtained in India only if it is taken after obtaining the LL.B. degree from any foreign or Indian University which is equivalent to the recognized LL.B. degree in India.
Hence, one-year LL.M. obtained from any foreign University will not be considered equivalent to Indian LL.M. degree.
"However, one-year LL.M. degree obtained after an equivalent LL.B. degree from any highly accredited foreign university may entitle the person concerned to be appointed as a visiting professor in an Indian University for at least one year so as to consider such one-year LL.M. degree with one year teaching experience as a Visiting Faculty/internee faculty/clinical faculty the Master degree obtained on one year term may be considered equivalent," the Rules stipulate.
The Rules also lay down that introducing and running an LL.M. Program is the direct responsibility of a University and cannot be sourced out to any affiliating institutions.
They also prescribe the conditions to be satisfied to offer an LL.M course including student teacher ratio not exceeding 1:10 and maximum student strength of 20 in each branch of specialization subject to maximum of 50 students’ overall in the LL.M program of the institution.
The institution should also have a dedicated core faculty of not less than 10 of whom minimum 4 should be Professors/Associate Professors.
Besides, LL.M the Rules also seek to enhance and upgrade the efficiency of legal education and profession. Towards this end, the BCI will introduce two professional efficiency enhancement continuing education courses only for Advocates who are enrolled with any State Bar Council.
Further, it is also proposing to conduct para-legal (including land survey work, notarization, registration and all other judicial work of court and lawyers’ chamber management) and technology & court management courses of suitable duration on-line and/or off-line to facilitate para-legal works and court-management to cover updated education and training.