National Law Universities

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National Law Universities (NLU)

In India, National law universities (NLU) or National law schools are law schools founded pursuant to the second-generation reforms for legal education sought to be implemented by the Bar Council of India. These universities are public institutions established by the government and are regulated by the Bar council of India and Ministry of Law and Justice (India). The first NLU being The National Law School of India University (NLSIU), located at Bangalore, which admitted its first batch in 1988. Since then, every state in India has established a National Law University. Since their inception, these law schools have continuously been ranked as India's top-most law schools[1] [2] and also been ranked amongst the world's best law schools by leading agencies like Quacquarelli Symonds (QS)[3] and Times Higher Education.[4] With steep placement packages [5] and high-end research output with global recognition, there are 23 "National law universities" in India.

Historical setting[edit]

Traditionally legal education in India was conducted through the medium of non-specialized universities of India which granted law degrees like any other graduate degree. These Universities referred and taught the curriculum prescribed by the Bar Council of India but since they were under the overall control and supervision of the University Grants Commission and therefore it was not possible for the Bar Council to effectively pursue reforms in legal education.

This system continued for more than two decades with the overall legal education supervision by the Bar Council, since its establishment in terms of the Advocates Act, 1961. However, there were calls for reforms from all quarters of the country in general because of the falling standards of the bar and there were mounting pressures over the Bar Council of India to bring forth change in the way in which legal education was imparted in India.

The first concrete decision to this end was taken in 1984 when various proposals to modernize legal education were considered and approved by the "Legal Education Committee" of the Bar Council, in an attempt to improve legal education throughout India. One of the major proposals was the decision to establish specialized institutions to impart legal education in an integrated and diversified manner. The aim was to revitalize the legal profession by making law as an attractive profession and making it competitive to attract talent, which was hitherto diverted to other professional areas such as Medicine, Engineering, etc.

Structure of National Law Schools[edit]

Quite in contrast with the existing pattern of legal education in India, the proposed autonomous law schools varied in structural design and in various other respects. Some of these can be identified through the characteristics they carry, these being;

  • Autonomous status of the law schools: This implied that the law schools carried either a 'deemed university' or a 'university' status, which empowered them to grant their own degree and which was recognized by other institutions in terms of the University Grants Commission regulations.
  • Five year law programme: Earlier law degrees were granted only to those candidates who had already completed their graduation and after three years of formal legal education. However, the admission to these autonomous law schools were only to those candidates who had completed Grade 12.
  • Integrated degrees: In these autonomous law schools, students studied for a law degree in integration with another degree of their choice. This allowed prospective advocates to have understanding of areas other than law. It also compensated for the lack of three years of formal education of other subjects that candidates in traditional three year law degree programme carried. Initially the choice of second degree was confined to B.A. (Bachelor of Arts). However, later with time other choices were also being offered like B.Sc. (Bachelor of Science), B.B.A. (Bachelor of Business Administration), B.Com.(Bachelor of Commerce), etc.
  • Intensive legal education: These law schools were given autonomy to devise the imparting of the curriculum in a manner which would best suit the candidate's ability to understand legal concepts and ability to appreciate various issues involved in legal setting and instill in them the merit and reasoning standards required for a high professional conducts. Also a standout features of these institutions is that these are single subject universities where the main thrust of education is on law with other complementary social sciences.
  • National status of law schools: These Schools are recognized by the university grants commission as "state universities" and are affiliated to the Bar Council of India. Each of these law schools were to be established under a specific legislation, to be passed by the State legislature of the State desirous of establishing a law school. In terms of these legislation, these law schools were required to establish and practice excellent and high standards, at par with other national level institutions imparting education in other wakes of social life. The conferment of national status also make admittance to these law schools at a prestigious choice and thus inviting meritorious students to get inclined to join legal profession.
  • Involvement of legal luminaries: To improve standards of legal education and ensure education imparted in these institutions met desired standards, the Bar Council of India involved various prestigious and talented individuals with these law schools. The most notable of these was the involvement of highly placed constitutional functionaries, such as the Chief Justice of India or the Chief Justice of various High Courts as the "Visitors" and often "Chancellors" of these law schools, which implied a constant involvement and supervision of elite figures of legal profession in India with these law schools.

List of National Law Schools[edit]

The list of National Law Schools in India according to their year of establishment are:

  1. National Law School of India University, Bangalore
  2. NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad
  3. National 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


Admission to LLB and LLM in the National law schools in India are based on performance in Common Law Admission Test (CLAT), with acceptance percentages being less than 5% as of 2018.

Proposed National Law Universities[edit]

The state of Jammu & Kashmir has passed the Jammu and Kashmir National Law University Act [6] in 2019 to set up the state's National law university, The Jammu & Kashmir National law University (JKNLU) in the capital city of Srinagar, India.[7] The state of Sikkim is set to establish its National law university as the Sikkim National Law University [SNLU] in 2021 at the state capital, Gangtok.[8] The state legislature has passed the Sikkim National Law University Act in 2018.[9] The state of Uttrakhand is establishing its National law University after passing the NLU of Uttarakhand Act by the state legislature in 2011 at Ranipokhari, 50 km from Dehradun.[10] The Government of India gave its permission to the state to establish the NLU in Uttrakhand after eight years in 2019.[11] The state of Uttar Pradesh is planning to establish its second National law university in Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad).[12] The state has earmarked 25 acres of land in Jhalwa, Prayagraj.[13] Prayagrag being the home of Allahabad High Court's principle bench has long been earmarked for the devleopment of an NLU in the city. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is proposed to be the Chancellor of this university.[14] The state government's cabinet has approved the proposal of the Department of Justice to establish the NLU by 2022.[15] The states of Nagaland, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Meghalaya, Manipur and Mizoram are the only states which do not currently have a NLU or any existing plans to establish one.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ INDIA, 2019. "INDIA'S BEST LAW COLLEGES 2019". INDIA TODAY. INDIA TODAY. Retrieved 28 March 2020.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ law, law. "Law school ranking". National Institutional Ranking Framework Ministry of Human Resource Development Government of India. Government of India. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  3. ^ India, JGLS (04/03/20). "JGLS, NLSIU break into 100-200 global best law schools in QS world university rankings [UPDATE: QS methods explained in-depth]". Legally India. Legally India. Retrieved 28 March 2020. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ India, National. "NLS Bangalore". Top Universities. Times Higher Education. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Placements". NLU Jodhpur. NLU Jodhpur. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
  6. ^ Kashmir, Governor. "Governor clears way for setting up NLU in Jammu and Kashmir". Times of India. Times of India. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  7. ^ Kashmir, Governor. "Governor clears way for setting up NLU in Jammu and Kashmir". Times of India. Times of India. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  8. ^ University, Sikkim. "Sikkim National Law University Act, 2018 (Act No. 05 of 2018)". Retrieved 20 May 2020. External link in |website= (help)
  9. ^ Assembly, Sikkim. "Sikkim National Law University bill passed by Assembly". Business Standard. Press Trust of India. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  10. ^ Uttrakhand, Come. "Come in, No. 23: Foundation stone laid for NLU Uttarakhand". Bar & Bench. Bar & Bench. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  11. ^ NLU, Uttrakhand. "Uttarakhand To Get National Law University (NLU)". NDTV. IANS. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  12. ^ Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh. "Uttar Pradesh to get 2nd NLU with 25 acre campus in Prayagraj/Allahabad". Legally India. External link in |website= (help)
  13. ^ soon, National. "National Law University will open in Prayagraj, Yogi government's approval soon". Live Hindustan. Live Hindustan. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  14. ^ "UP Budget 2020: National Law University approved in Jhalwa, will be made on this line". Jagran. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  15. ^ "UP Budget 2020: National Law University approved in Jhalwa, will be made on this line". Jagran. Retrieved 21 May 2020.