Govt moots qualifying test for law graduates

According to a Law Ministry blueprint on legal reforms, approved by the Cabinet, “the Advocates Act, 1961, may need to be re-visited in consultation with senior members of the Bar to consider re-introduction of mandatory apprenticeship before admission to the Bar and, possibly, the introduction of a qualifying exam for advocates.”

The ministry said the qualifying exam for advocates should be similar to that prescribed for advocates-on-record of the Supreme court.

The law ministry officials are already holding consultations with the Bar Council of India (BCI), which is the regulating authority of the legal profession in the country.
“In view of the fact that there are varying levels of legal education in the country, additional course inputs to increase professional competence amongst members have to be encouraged,” the proposal said.

The issue was discussed at length between the government and the higher judiciary in 2009 during national consultations on judicial reforms.

Subsequently, Law Minister M Veerappa Moily on Wednesday held a meeting with officials on legal education reforms in which several such suggestions and proposals were discussed.

As of now, a law degree is the only criterion for getting registered as a lawyer.
In 1996, the BCI had introduced a mandatory one-year apprenticeship for law graduates before they could earn their licence to practise. The move was, however, struck down by the Supreme Court.

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