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Legal Education in India Needs Comprehensive Revamp, Says Supreme Court

By - King Stubb & Kasiva on May 5, 2023

Since time immemorial, the legal profession has been considered one of the most noble and revered professions among all other professions due to its deep connection with society and other paradigms. In a recent observation by Hon’ble Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, it was observed by the bench that there is a need for a complete revamp of the legal education system and structure in India.

According to the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the present system of legal education needs a complete revamp starting from the system of imparting legal education in law colleges to the placement of graduate lawyers in various law firms. The Bar Council of India (BCI) was also recommended to make appropriate and adequate changes in the legal education system and curriculum after thorough research.

Need For Changes

The Hon’ble Supreme Court has highlighted various concerns pertaining to the system of legal education. The Bar Council of India was also told to enact and maintain several standards for proper training and education for lawyers at every step of legal education.

The Court also observed that there was a need to tighten the yardsticks in various examinations pertaining to the legal profession and education, strengthen the control mechanism at the entry level for law students and legal professionals and monitor closely the functioning of law colleges across the country in order to maintain a check on the quality of legal education being imparted to law students and develop a system of checks at the grassroots level of the profession. These steps were also conveyed to the Bar Council of India for implementation and administration of these reforms across the country.

In the present case, after hearing the background of the case, where a working professional wanted to enrol as an advocate without resigning from her gainful employment at another place, the Supreme Court noted that there were pertinent questions in the present scenario that the bar council needed to ask itself and instructed it to resolve them as soon as possible.

Firstly, the Hon’ble Supreme Court instructed the Bar Council of India to reconsider the rules framed by it prohibiting individuals employed in other professions to be enrolled as a member of the bar council. The court suggested that a balance was needed to be stuck between the right to practice other profession and ethics of the legal professionsin order to allow the former category of candidates to sit for the exam. The Court also took note of the suggestions of Amicus Curiae KV Vishwanathan and suggested the bar to extend the validity of the exam to three years which could enable individuals to decide between the legal profession and other professions.

The court also took upon the quality of academic infrastructure and faculties in various law colleges across the country and held that there was a need for a stricter monitoring and surveillance system of BCI-approved law institutions so that they do not become lackadaisical after obtaining recognition and continuously work towardsmaintaining, upholding, and updating the quality of lawyers in the country.

On the issue of standards of law entrance exams across the country, the court lamented while observing that the entrance exams should not be based upon the candidate’s ability to rote-learn the provisions of the law but upon analytical and logical thinking process. The entrance exams should focus more on the skills and abilities of the candidates to make the exams more meaningful.

Issue Of Placements For Law Juniors

The Hon’ble Court took into note the pressing issue of lack of adequate placements for junior advocates in law offices and chambers and instructed the Bar Council of India to evolve a just and fair system of recruitment where all law graduates get a just and fair chance of recruitment and employment.

As per the data provided by the Bar Council of India, out of 1500 law colleges in India, 75% were private colleges with a strength of 1.7 million registered lawyers across the country and around 80,000 new enrolments every year. It was suggested to the Bar Council to evolve stringent and equitable standards for recruitment and effective utilisation of such law graduates in order to prevent increasing unemployment in the profession.

The court also instructed the Bar Council to keep a check on the anti-social elements of society who manage to obtain law degrees without passing exams or attending regular classes, which leads to the degradation of the legal profession due to unrestricted and unchecked access to it.

The Viswanathan Commission which is based upon “Miller Pyramid Scheme” of evaluation in different aspects like reading, writing, expression, and communication was also referred to the Bar Council of India for taking inspiration in the domain of legal entrance exams and various allied professional examinations.


In conclusion, the legal profession and education in India require long overdue reforms. The legal education system, which has evolved over centuries, needs to be re-evaluated and reformed to facilitate the holistic growth and development of the profession. The Bar Council of India has taken affirmative steps towards implementing the guidelines suggested by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, and further changes are necessary to build a solid foundation for the legal profession. By implementing the suggested reforms, the profession can be developed in a better way, which will ultimately lead to improved quality for both the bar and the bench.


What are some of the specific reforms being proposed for the legal profession and education in India?

The Hon'ble Supreme Court of India has suggested various reforms for the legal profession and education in India, including improvements to the curriculum and teaching methods in law schools, stricter regulations on the establishment of new law schools, and the implementation of a uniform entrance exam for admission to law programs.

What is the Bar Council of India, and what is its role in legal education and regulation in the country?

The Bar Council of India is the statutory body responsible for regulating legal education and practice in India. Its functions include setting standards for legal education, regulating the establishment of law schools, and overseeing the professional conduct of lawyers.

Are there any potential drawbacks or challenges associated with implementing these reforms?

One potential challenge associated with implementing these reforms is the resistance from existing law schools and legal professionals who may be resistant to change. Another potential challenge is the cost of implementing the proposed changes, which could be a barrier for some institutions.

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