• Legal Armor

Brief Analysis on National Law Universities In India

Updated: Jan 18

Legal Education In India

The law commission of India defines Legal education as a science that imparts to student’s knowledge of certain principles and provisions of law to enable them to enter the legal profession. Law, legal education, and development have become inter-related topics in modern developing countries. The key purpose of legal education is to create lawyers with social awareness. Moreover, in modern times legal education does not only produce lawyers, it should be viewed as a legal tool for social design.

Historically speaking, legal education goes back to the ancient, where the kings and princes were given instructions about dharma and Nyaya. Then the idea of legal representatives came into existence during the Mughal time. Legal education was in existence even before the independence of India as many of our freedom fighters are from legal backgrounds. But it gained its relevance only in post - post-independence era. Law courses are offered for a term of three years in some traditional universities, but it can be continued to pursue only after getting a degree.

Later, legal education became popular in the twenty-first century with the introduction of 5-year integrated law courses and the establishment of National Law University at Bangalore. At present, there are 23 national law universities in India.

What are NLUs?

Autonomous law schools in India are identified as National Law Schools (NLU) or National Law Schools (NLS) which are established through the second-generation legal reform proposal of the Indian Bar Council. These NLUs are governed by the Indian Bar Assembly and the Indian Ministry of Law and Justice. The first National Law University which enrolled its intake in 1987 was the Bangalore National Law School. After this, every state had set up their National Law Universities and these Universities then acted as the brands for the legal education improvement.

Historical background of NLU's

Earlier, non-specialized universities were the only medium for the traditional conduct of legal education which granted law degrees like other graduate degrees. These universities referred to the course as prescribed by the Bar Council of India but the Bar Council was not able to pursue reforms for law education effectively, as these were under the control of the University Grants Commission.

An alarming situation was found by the 14th Report of the Law Commission (1954) in the system of legal education in our country. A prediction of accomplishment of comprehensive reforms was made under the Advocates Act (1961) by the newly elected Bar Councils with universities teaching law. With the increase in law colleges through the professional perspective the quality of the legal education was declining. There was a sharp decline in the services due to the mandatory internship and entry examination proposed by the Advocates Act. Further, there was a failure in the plan of imparting ‘education’ with colleges through efficient training from the Bar Council.

A decision was taken in 1984 for the enhancement of legal education in India, in which proposals were studied and granted by the “Legal Education Committee”. The establishment of specialized institutions was one of the major proposals to convey legal education in a combined and diversified manner. The main aim was to rejuvenate the legal profession for making it an attractive and competitive profession, which was diverted to other specialized areas.

Characteristics of NLU's

The autonomous law schools carry some characteristics which are as follows:

  1. Autonomous status- The laws schools carried a ‘deemed university’ status which permitted them to give their degrees.

  2. Five-year law program- Admission here is given after the completion of grade 12 but earlier there were granted only after the graduation and after 3 years of legal education.

  3. Integrated degrees- The law schools provide integration of law degrees with other degrees of their preference. Earlier this choice was not given, and the second degree was limited to B.A. Later, the choices such as B.Sc., B.B.A., and B.Com., etc was offered.

  4. National status- Law schools are affiliated to the Bar Council of India and are recognized by UGC as the “state universities”. They are established under specific legislation that is passed by the state legislature of the state. Under these legislations, the law schools must establish excellent and high standards in comparison to national level institutions.

  5. Involvement of Personalities- For the improvement of standards, the Bar Council of India introduced the involvement of highly placed legal professionals, such as Chief Justice of India or various High Courts as ‘visitors’ or ‘Chancellors’ of the schools.

List of NLU's

  1. National Law School of India University, Bangalore

  2. NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad

  3. 4National Law Institute University, Bhopal

  4. The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata

  5. National Law University, Jodhpur, Jodhpur

  6. Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur

  7. Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar

  8. Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University, Lucknow

  9. National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi

  10. Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala

  11. Chanakya National Law University, Patna

  12. National Law University, Delhi

  13. National Law University, Odisha, Cuttack

  14. Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, Vishakhapatnam

  15. National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi

  16. National Law School and Judicial Academy, Assam, Guwahati

  17. Tamil Nadu National Law University, Trichy

  18. Maharashtra National Law University, Mumbai

  19. Maharashtra National Law University, Nagpur

  20. Maharashtra National Law University, Aurangabad

  21. Himachal Pradesh National Law University, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh

  22. Dharmashastra National Law University, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh

  23. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar National Law University, Sonipat, Haryana.


Akshita Kesharwani is currently pursuing BA.LLB from Alliance University.

They can be contacted at akshitakesharwani06@gmail.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/akshita-kesharwani-07aa511a4

Edited By: Swathi. Ashok. Nair.


We at Legal Armor do not endorse the Authors' views and are in no way responsible for the said views. We are just publishing the Write-ups as blogs with just light editing, and are in no way responsible for any legal claims. Legal Armor shall not be liable for any plagiarized content.