An Institution of Excellence in Legal Education and Research
The concept of a national law institution to act as a “pace-setter and a testing ground for bold experiments in legal education” came up before the Bar Council of India in the context of the Council’s statutory responsibility under the Advocates’ Act, 1961 for maintaining standards in professional legal education. The idea was transformed into reality by the Legal Education
Committee of the Bar Council of India and eventually assumed the character of an autonomous institution with “Deemed University” status from the University Grants Commission. Since its conceptualisation and over the years the co-operation of the Karnataka Government and the Bangalore University and the initiatives of senior members of the Bar Council of India as well as that of Karnataka State Bar Council gave the project distinct possibilities of realisation. The idea gained more supporters in course of time both within and outside the Council who worked at different levels to establish the institution in the interest of better legal education and higher standards of legal research and training. The promoters of the institution finally succeeded after thirteen long years of suspense and uncertainty, when the Karnataka Government established on August 29, 1987 through a Gazette Notification, the National Law School of India University at Bangalore under the National Law School of India Act (Karnataka Act 22 of 1986). The Act is a unique piece of legislation, which incorporates complete administrative and academic autonomy together with flexibility for innovation and experimentation in the pursuit of excellence by the University.
By and large, the management of the institution rests with the organized legal profession of the country. Outside the mechanism of administration of justice, the National Law School is, perhaps, the best example of Bar-Bench co-operation in the field of Law in India today. The Chief Justice of India, as Chancellor of the School and the Chairman of the Bar Council of India as Chairman of the General Council of the School provide a stature and prestige which has few equals in the history of legal education in the country. A large number of retired judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts as well as senior advocates have offered to assist the school in its teaching and research programmes making education at NLSIU a rare and truly exciting experience to the student seeking legal education.
Through the ages, civilization has developed techniques for establishing order in social relationships and resolving disputes amicably. The lawyer brings to these techniques a professional talent and expertise acquired in law school and nurtured through experience. There cannot, therefore, be a proper answer to the question as to what is the ideal pre-law education for the law student. Education at the National Law School, although based on a rich heritage of legal thought and tradition, provides a wide spectrum of instructions not comparable to legal education elsewhere. While law is studied as a professional discipline with emphasis on analytical and reasoning abilities as well as on practical skills, the Law School is concerned with the propagation of law as a socio-cultural phenomenon.
The legal process is a part of the social process. Every legal problem arises in its own unique setting of political and economical environments. It is in this sense that the NLSIU offers integrated legal education where law and other behavioural disciplines are seen in the context of their functional inter-action in society. The substance of these disciplines and their concerns are carried appropriately in the syllabi of the course of study prescribed at the National Law School.
The School is expected to advance and disseminate knowledge of law and legal processes in the context of national development. In other words, the School shall endeavour to look at law as an instrument of social development and human well-being. This major focus of the School’s curriculum is on the study of law from broader socio-cultural perspectives and developmental needs. Therefore, one of the primary objects of the School is to inculcate in every student a sense of responsibility towards society and respect for human life besides developing in them the highest standards of professional behaviour and personal integrity.
The National Law School of India University is open to all persons irrespective of sex, race, caste, class or religion. Its Faculty and student body are drawn from all over India and abroad purely on merit. However, it does reserve seats in admission to the courses for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes students according to the Constitutional prescriptions.
The University is a residential institution with only one campus at Bangalore. At the under-graduate level, it offers the five-year integrated B.A., LL.B.(Hons.) Programme for students after passing the Higher Secondary School / Preuniversity or its equivalent examination. At the post-graduate level it offers LL.M., M.Phil. and LL.D. programmes in law and Ph.D. programme in social science subjects. Besides the regular teaching programmes, the University in collaboration with the Bar Council of India and other Organizations conducts Workshops, Conferences, Training Programmes, etc., periodically for practicing Advocates and Executives of Corporate Bodies on themes of topical and professional interest. It also holds Seminars for Lawyers, Judges and SocialActivists.
The University is one of the Centres recognised by the University Grants Commission for conducting Refresher Courses for Law Teachers.