LEGAL NEWS WEBSITE FROM NEPAL

Legal Education in Nepal: Recent Reform and Need to Change

२०७७ असार २३ गते १६:४४ Lexnepal

Abstract

In 1905, Sresta Pathshala was established for the first time in Nepal for imparting legal education at school level with the objective of producing low level human resources for courts. The higher education was started only after establishment of Nepal Law College in 1954 under affiliation of Patna University of India. It came under Tribhuvan University after the establishment of TU in 1959.

In 1972, the Institute of Law, introduced a two year Certificate Level (CL) programme and a three year Diploma in Law (D.L.) programme. Consequently, the Institute of Law was converted as the Faculty of Law. A two year Certificate Level (CL) programme and a three year Diploma in Law programme were renamed as Proficiency Certificate in Law (PCL) programme and Bachelor’s Degree in Law (B.L.) programme respectively.    

The Proficiency Certificate in Law was phased out in 1995 and Bachelor’s Degree in Law (B.L.) was replaced by a three year Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) in 1996. In the same year, a two year LL.M. programme was introduced. Likewise, a five year B.A.LL.B. and a three Year LL.M. are introduced in 2010 and 2012 respectively. Now, Faculty of Law, TU, has 3Years LL.B., 5 Years B.A.LL.B., 2 Years LL.M., 3 Years LL.M. and Ph.D. programmes for imparting legal education in Nepal

Key Words- Sresta-Pathshala, Globalization, Academician, Plaint, Petition, Groom, Rana, Pathashala, Madhyama, Bhasha Pathashala, Bajhangi King, Ain-Sresta, Srestedar, Bahidar, Lekhandas, Compatible,  research, Indigenous, Madheshi, Dalit, Backward, disseminate, socio-cultural, inculcate, comparative law

  1. Introduction

In the era of globalization, legal education requires highly qualified, trained and well equipped human resources as a lawyer, judge and academician having considerable knowledge of law with the sense of humanity. For this, legal education must be developed at par with global. Legal education is an instrument which trains law professionals for all-round development of country as well as the contemporary society. Native legal system need to be reformed and modernized through legal education to cope the problems arise due to emergence of multinational trading organizations. Government and private sectors require highly educated and well trained law professionals, which can only be built by introducing proper legal education. Modern legal education has developed various methods and techniques of teaching for preparing human resources on law and development. It is supposed to provide comprehensive theoretical knowledge and structured professional training in law through the University education.

Modern countries, around the world, have introduced and developed curriculum and duration of legal education and considerably changed the method of instructions. Legal education can considerably influence the development of the national legal system. Comparative study of the different legal systems is essential to introduce and develop a proper and adequate curriculum of the law.

  • Objective of Legal Education

Generally, education should be based on need analysis of the country by which the objective of education could be shaped. Education is a process, which primary objective is to bring positive change in human behavior. In other words, education, generally, should have the objective to teach the way of living, to enable to learn, to bloom the internal talent, to bring positive change in attitude, to enlighten to love and respect human values and lives, to enable to earn for the prosperity and to enable to return to the society at large. Likewise, the legal education, specifically, should have the objective to produce lawyers for ensuring justice; therefore, legal education should stand for enhancing human sensibility and injecting a sense of human liberty and equality to the lawyers. Therefore, the prime goal of legal education is not only to produce professional lawyers but also to produce academic lawyers having theoretical knowledge for ensuring social justice and liberation.

A professional lawyer, without theoretical knowledge, cannot contribute for the development of valued society. Therefore, legal education should contain theoretical knowledge of law since bare practical knowledge is not sufficient to solve the legal disputes in the globalized era. Lord Macaulay’s expression; “some great English judges became great because they spent a few more years in the University struggling with the works of Cicero and Thucydides rather than spent their time in drafting plaints and petitions”; has rightly emphasized the importance of theoretical knowledge of law imparted by the Universities. However, practical professional skills for drafting plaints and petitions as well as all litigation procedures are also considerably required. The national goal of legal education must be to train skillful law professionals highly equipped with theoretical and practical knowledge of law of the country and abroad. Hence, the responsibility of legal education is very profound; therefore, it should train lawyers as healer and social engineer to preserve the just society by balancing the conflicting interests. They should have to contribute not only to their purse but also should perform further for the greatest happiness of the mankind as a whole. Therefore, the objectives of education, in general, and legal education, in specific, are:  

  1. To provide basic knowledge in general and legal knowledge in specific
  2. To groom student as human

The objectives of legal education should have the following three formulas: 

  1. to learn,
  2. to earn and
  3. to return  

 The objective of legal education should have to empower a law student with in-depth knowledge of law in various aspect of law. Bare knowledge of law is not sufficient to the student, therefore, legal knowledge should have to empower him to earn for his livelihood. Such earning should support for his economic prosperity. Only learning and earning through legal education is not adequate for the all round development of a citizen as well as nation. The learned and earning law students should have to contribute in the nation building process as a ration human; therefore, the most important and a significant objective of legal education should have to empower and build a lawyer, who can return from his legal knowledge to the society and nation at large for the all round development of the modern society. If a lawyer cannot return to the society, his learning and earning would be fruitless and such education, sometimes, would also be detrimental to the society. Therefore, the prime objective of the legal education should have to groom a valued lawyer, generically, as human. Legal education should also focus to produce an academic and a professional lawyer with full sense of human values. However, the lawyers of contemporary society need to earn rather to learn and return.  

The objectives of Nepalese legal education were considered to supply learned, competent and audacious lawyers, to develop an independent, impartial and competent judiciary and to produce eminent scholars and jurists[1].     

  • Brief History of Legal Education in Nepal  

The then Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana, after return of his Europe visit, had established English School to teach English in 1854 AD. This school was not open for the general public; it was only for children of Ranas. This school was started in Thapathali Palace of Junga Bahadur. This was conducted under the inclusive control of Ranas and lasted for thirty eight years. This was the first formal school, in the history of education of Nepal, which was initiated in government level. This school was called Durbar School.

At the time of establishment of this first school, English Education System was being conducted with initiation and direction of Lord Macaulay in India. The curriculum of English Education System of British India was adopted by this first formal school of Nepal. Later on, this school was opened for general public and renamed as Durbar High School with the special initiation of, the then Director General of Public Instruction, Dhir Shamsher. This Durbar High School was affiliated to the Calcutta University of India. In 1877, another Sanskrit Pathashala was established. This Sanskrit Pathshala had the programme of Madhyama (certificate level) and curriculum of this programme was based on the curriculum of Government Sanskrit College of Banaras of India and students had to go Banaras for the final exam.  

In 1901, Dev Shamsher came into power[2]. He established 16 schools, popularly known as Bhasha Pathashala (Vernacular Schools), for the exclusive study of Nepali language, in the country within the one month of his regime with the initiation of Bajhangi King Jaya Prithvi Bahadur Singh. Some arrangements were made for conducting two pass examination systems which refers to completion of two papers[3]. This two pass exam system included two papers in law, which was the first legal education in school level of Nepal.

In 1905, the first elementary school for legal training, popularly known as Sresta Pathshala, had started. The main objective of this school was to produce clerical level trained human resources like: Lekhandas (draftsman of plaints and petitions), Srestedar, Bahidar etc. working for the administration of justice[4]. This school had introduced two papers of law.  The original two pass exam system was elevated to eleven pass gradually by aiding three, four, five, eight, nine and eleven pass[5]. A book on procedure of thumb impression was written by Master Hari Gopal Banarji, M.A.; which was published in Nepali Paper in 1920. Another text book on “Thumb Impression” was also published in 1920 by Gorkha Bhasha Prakasini Samiti, which was written by Master Durga Prasad Upreti. Gorkha Adalati Shikhsya Pahilo Bhaga (Gorkha Court Education, Volume 1) and Gorkha Sresta Shikshya Pahilo Bhaga (Gorakha Legal Education, Vol. 1) were also published in 1921 and 1922 respectively[6]. Other various text books on law were also published in 1922[7]. This pass system was converted as Prathama and Madhyama, which lasted till 1961. In 1964, Sresta Pathshala was abolished since the curriculum of this school was not reformed in the changed context of Nepal.

Since 1956, the curriculum of Ain-Sresta, as an optional paper on law and procedure of 50 marks, was also introduced in School Leaving Certificate (SLC), which continued up to 1971[8]. The objective of Ain-Sresta was to impart elementary knowledge of law.  

Legal education in University level was introduced in 1954 with the objective of producing low-level clerical human resources in Nepal. The Nepal Law College was established for the first time in private sector, which was affiliated to Patna University of India, in 21 October 1954[9]. The founder professors of the college were Ram Raj Pant, Ratna Bahadur Bist and Ashutosh Ganguli. This college was inaugurated by the then crown prince Mahendra Bikram Shah[10]. The college started to produce law graduates in the country; however, the courses of study consisted of, for the most part, theoretical papers on law and some Indian laws[11]. The classes were conducted in the evening as part-time classes[12]. This was the first law college which started to teach modern principles of law in Nepal. The examination center was established in Nepal for final examination for students of Nepal Law College but result was published from Patna. The first result was published in December issue of 1955 of ‘The Indian Nation’, which was published from Patna, India[13].    

Nepal Law College was de-affiliated from Patna University and placed under Tribhuvan University[14], which was organized in 1956 and established in 1959[15]. The curriculum of Legal education was revised and some papers on Nepalese laws were inserted for the first time in University level legal education when Nepal Law College came under Tribhuvan University[16]. However, the curriculum had included only theoretical papers and did not include any practical courses[17].    

In 1965 (2022BS), private examination system in law was introduced, which increased the number of students that contributed to lessen the objective of legal education since private exam system exempted students from regular classes. Private exam system existed up to 1996 unless LL.B. and LL.M. courses introduced[18]

In 1972, under Tribhuvan University, Institute of Law was established and legal education was reorganized under the National Education System Plan (NESP). The objective of the National Education System Plan (NESP) was to produce necessary competent of human resources of different levels and in different areas in order to meet the country’s need of human resources for its development goals. Accordingly, under Institute of Law, two level programmes on law, a 2 year Certificate in Law (C. L.) after School Leaving Certificate and a three year Diploma in Law (D. L.) after passing C.L., were commenced under the Institute of Law. These two programmes together covered a period of five years after School Leaving Certificate (S.L.C)[19]. It tried to make a great breakthrough in the legal education system in the country by incorporating Nepalese laws in the course of study. In the process of implementation of the NESP, the Institute of Law was made responsible for formulating plans and policies to promote the cause of legal education in the country and also to undertake academic activities in legal sector. Under Institute of Law, the then Nepal Law College was renamed as Nepal Law Campus in 1972 as central campus and subsequently various constituent colleges were established to impart legal education to achieve the National goal as sought by NESP in the different development regions of the country.   

In 1984, Tribhuvan University began the task for making overall structural changes and readjustments and Institute of Law was converted into the Faculty of Law. The then prevailing semester system of examination, introduced by NSEP, was also superseded by the annual examination. The Certificate in Law (C.L.) got renamed as Proficiency Certificate Level in Law (P.C.L.) and the Diploma in Law (D.L.) as Bachelor’s Degree in Law (B.L.)[20]. Even as the years when it was running as the Institute of Law, the Faculty of Law was engaged in improving, developing and promoting legal education system and expanding research activities in Nepal.  

With restoration of multiparty democracy in 1990, TU again started restructuring higher education sector in law. A new three year after graduation Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) programme was introduced which replaced a three year Bachelor’s Degree in Law (B.L.) programme in 1996. Consequently, P.C.L. and B.L. were phased out after introduction of Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) and Master of Laws (LL.M.) in 1996; however, the need of abolition of PCL level was felt from the right beginning of its commencement[21].  The rationale behind the introduction of these courses was to develop critical thinking, humanistic values and holistic perception to law students as needed for the modern society. In February 2009, the curriculum of LL.B. and LL.M. were completely changed to respond the need of 21st century as well as to accommodate the new development in law, justice and political system of the country[22].

In 1999, Kathmandu School of Law was established to impart legal education in private sector with the affiliation of Purvanchan University and offering LL.B. and LL.M programmes[23]. Purvanchal University has revised the courses and LL.B. degree was renamed as B.A.LL.B. in 2011.

Tribhuvan University, Faculty of Law, has introduced a new five year B.A.LL.B. course from 2010 in order to make legal education compatible with changed national and international context. The course, basically, aims to enrich law students with comprehensive theoretical and practical knowledge in indigenous as well as foreign legal traditions, lawyering skills, and research to meet the challenges of the age[24]

In 2012, Tribhuvan University, Faculty of Law has introduced another three year LL.M. course in the morning shift. This programme seeks to impart highly academic knowledge to those students who cannot give their time for a two year full time LL.M. in daytime. The nature of B.A.LL.B. and this LL.M. is different than other two programmes. These programmes are being conducted in full fee. The teaching faculties of these programmes are not in payroll of Tribhuvan University, however, some University teachers are also involved in this programme and they are also paid by the programme. 

Recently, Higher Secondary Education Board of Nepal has also introduced two papers of law as optional subjects each in grade 11 and 12 in the name of General Law in 2008. Consequently, an additional paper of law is also inserted in grade 12 by HSEB from 2013. The objective of this course is to provide elementary knowledge of law in this level. 

  • Existing Programmes Imparting Legal in Nepal

Currently, Tribhuvan University, Faculty of Law has five programmes namely: an after graduation three year LL.B., a five year B.A.LL.B., a two year LL.M., a three year LL.M. and Ph.D.

Ph.D. is being offered by Faculty of Law and other programmes are being conducted in the constituent colleges of Tribhuvan University. However, a five year B.A.LL.B., a two year LL.M. programmes are also being conducted in one affiliated college of Tribhuvan University from 2012. Besides, Purvanchal University is also offering a five year LL.B. and two year LL.M. programmes under its affiliated Private Colleges since 1999. Here, I would like to discuss about the programmes in short individually. 

  1. A three Year Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) Programme

The Tribhuvan University, Faculty of Law introduced a three year Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) programme in the academic year 1996. The classes of LL.B. were conducted since academic year 1996 in ten constituent campuses and three private campuses affiliated to Tribhuvan University. However, the campuses having LL.B. courses have subsequently been reduced to six constituent Campuses[25].

In February 2009, a new curriculum has been introduced, which replaced the old curriculum of 1996 since it was felt inadequate to respond the need of present national and international development in law, justice as well as political change of Nepal. Consequently, the existing curriculum was extensively overhauled to meet the needs of the day in the profession and academics in the light of political and constitutional changes in the country. The whole course was updated, improved and revised in tune with need of the nation[26].

Curriculum Objectives

The course has the following curriculum objectives[27]:

  • to provide the students with in-depth knowledge of law and develop in them skills or reasoning, investigation, analysis and critical thinking, and practical skills necessary for legal career;
  • to enable them to communicate and write legal documents in a clear and effective way;
  • to convey to them knowledge of law in action and of the role of law in society and to enable them to handle complex legal situations effectively;
  • to promote the values of justice, rights and liberty and to make the law graduates from Tribhuvan University able to compete with the law graduate from other universities;
  • to broaden intellectual horizon and develop the personalities of law students; and
  • to prepare middle-legal manpower for new roles in national development efforts and private sectors. 

Method of Instruction

Methods of instructions include lecture (exposition), case study, group discussion, simulation, moot-court, demonstration, role playing, workshop practice, independent study, observation, research activity, problem solving etc[28]. However, lecture method becomes a common method of teaching. Other methods are not being used as sought. Language of instruction is either English or Nepali or both as per the convenience of teacher.  

Evaluation System

Annual examination is being conducted in accordance with the examination rules and regulations of Tribhuvan University as a method of evaluation. The students will have to pass both theoretical and practical examinations. The grading system is as follows[29]:

75 and above              Distinction

60 to below 75%        First Division

45 to below 60%        Second Division

35 to below 45%         Pass  

Eligibility for Admission

Completion of Bachelor’s degree (10+2+3) in any discipline or an equivalent program recognized by Tribhuvan University is the requirement of admission. Selection criteria are determined on the basis of the marks and percentage obtained in the previous Bachelor’s Degree in any discipline[30]. There is no seat limit in this programme for admission.

Appraisal of the Programme

An appraisal of the programme can show the tendency of LL.B. Degree seeking students. It may also show the effectiveness of the programme. I have taken the data of the last four academic years which shows the number of admitted students, exam attended and passed students in each year throughout the course. The detailed data is given hereunder.

Table 1

Batch Nos. of First Year Students Nos. of Second Year Students Nos. of Third Year Students
admitted attended Passed admitted attended Passed admitted attended Passed
2008 1261 884 114 614 614 139 485 485 198
2010 1679 1420 162 1083 1083 297 933 933
2011 899 720 531 531
2012 1067

Data Analysis 

In 2008 batch, altogether 1261 students were admitted in first year and only 884 students were present in final exam. Among 884 students only 114 students were passed in first year. Among the total numbers of students, only 70.10 % students attended the final exam. Passing percent is 09.04 among the admitted students. In second year of the same batch, altogether 614 students were admitted and all were present in final exam. Among 614 students only 139 students were passed in second year. Among the total numbers of students, 100% students attended the final exam. Passing percent is 22.63 among the admitted students. In third year of the same batch, altogether 485 students were admitted and all were present in final exam. Among 485 students only 198 students were passed in second year. Among the total numbers of students, 100% students attended the final exam. Passing percent is 40.82 among the admitted students. Among the total admitted students in the first year, only 48.69 % and 38.46 % students came to second and third year respectively.     

In 2010 batch, altogether 1679 students were admitted in first year and only 1420 students were present in final exam. Among 1420 students only 162 students were passed in first year. Among the total numbers of students, 84.57% students attended the final exam. Passing percent is 11.40 among the admitted students. In second year of the same batch, altogether 1083 students were admitted and all were present in final exam. Among 1083 students only 297 students were passed in second year. Among the total numbers of students, 100% students attended the final exam. Passing percent is 27.42 among the admitted students. In third year of the same batch, altogether 933 students were admitted and all were present in final exam. The result is not out of this third year. Among the total admitted students of this batch in the first year, only 64.50 % and 55.56 % students came to second and third year respectively.

In 2011 batch, altogether 899 students were admitted in first year and only 720 students were present in final exam. Among the total numbers of students, 80.08% students attended the final exam. In second year of the same batch, altogether 531 students were admitted and all were present in final exam. Among the total numbers of students, 100% students attended the final exam. The result is not out of first and second year of this batch. Among the total admitted students of this batch in the first year, only 59.06 % students came to second year. 

The dropout rate, in average, in academic year is 21.75 % in first year. On the basis of the first year admission, dropout rate in second and third year is 42.58 % and 54.99 % respectively. On the basis of this analysis the average dropout rate is 39.77 %, which shows that only 60. 22% students attend the final exam. The average passing percent is 10. 22 %, 25.02% and 40.82% of the first, second and third year respectively. Total passing percent in average is only 25.35% of the LL.B. students. 

On the basis of the analysis, LL.B. Programme is not being effective in order to render the practical and skillful legal education. Unlimited number of admission, frequent absence of students in the classes, no special scheme and plan to regulate the classes are the major causes of degradation of the programme. Therefore, admission system and class regulation scheme must be modified. Entrance system must be introduced in this programme. The number of students must be confined to the limited seats. In average, 100 to 150 students could be manageable in three sections comprising 50 students in each section for the effective education.

  • A Five Year B.A.LL.B. Programme 

The Tribhuvan University, Faculty of Law, has introduced a new five year B.A.LL.B. Course since 2010 in order to make legal education compatible with changed national and international context. The course, basically, aims to enrich law students with comprehensive theoretical and practical knowledge in indigenous as well as foreign legal traditions, lawyering skills, and research to meet the challenges of the age. This type of course is also being conducted by Purvanchal University.

Objectives of the program

 The main objectives of this programme are[31]:

  • to produce human resource equipped with necessary skill, competency and integrity
  • to impart sense of responsibility towards society, nation and the world.
  • to produce human resources for respecting human life and values
  • to develop a base of legal excellence with international and indigenous understanding;
  • to  promote research and understand insights of law and society,
  • to prepare competent human resource in the field of  law and justice;
  • to  inculcate legal knowledge from socio-cultural and developmental perspective,

Duration:  

B.A.LL.B. is a complete and full time five years course. Students must be dedicated & be regular in whole five years course and must be presented in each class. Classes are being conducted in day time. A teaching period is of 1 hour for each subject. The numbers of classes are of 4 hours for 100 marks and 2 hours for 50 marks subjects per week[32].

Method of Instruction

Teaching strategies consist of lecture, case study, discussion, question-answer, problem solving, research, seminar, workshop, tutorial and self-study. The important feature of teaching include inter-disciplinary approaches, participatory and instructional materials include power point, overhead projector, white board, note books, teaching guides, case materials etc[33]. The language of instruction is exclusively English. Visiting faculties among the eminent professors, experts, law personals of Nepal and from abroad are also requested.

Eligibility for Admission

The admission of a five year B.A.LL.B. programme opens generally with other bachelor programmes of the Tribhuvan University. Students seeking admission to this programme can apply while the faculty announces for admission. Applicants, seeking admission, except foreigners, should face entrance exam to conducted by the Faculty of Law,TU. Those students who have completed +2 or equivalent can apply for this course. 70 seats are available comprising 35 students in each section. Eleven seats in each section, like two for woman, two for Indigenous/Janjati group, two for Madheshi, one for Dalit, one for disable, one for backward area and two for foreigner are reserved only for admission purpose. Any type of economic privilege is not available among those students who are eligible for admission in such reserved seats[34]

Evaluation  

Internal and external evaluation in respective subjects is being carried out. Annual written examination is taken at the end of each academic year except for Clinical law, Seminar and thesis writing. No student is allowed to appear in the final examination unless she/he meets attendance and presents necessary term papers in each subject. Minimum requirement for passing in the annual exam is 45 percent. The degree will be graded as follows[35]:

75% and above                       : Distinction

60% to below 75 %                 : First Division

45 % to below 60 %                : Second Division

  • A Two Year Master of Laws (LL.M.) Programme

The Faculty of Law has started a two year Master of Laws (LL.M.) programme since 1996 for those who want to take career as jurists, academicians, legal scholars, legal consultants and likewise, legal professionals. This programme is designed to orient the students towards research so that they can play a more constructive role in the development of law and the legal system in Nepal’s new democratic set up.

The programme, by virtue of the rich heritage of legal thoughts and traditions around us, aims to promote and disseminate the knowledge of law and of legal processes in the light of the country’s socio-cultural perspectives and development goals. To this end, the programme is designed to produce human resources possessed of the essential skill, competence and integrity for assuming responsible roles in such way that they can make positive contributions in the area of the administration of justice and the functioning of a just, dynamic and democratic society. This course envisage to inculcate in the minds of the students a strong sense of responsibility towards society and a great sense of respect for humanity and at the same time develop in them highest standards inter-alia of professional behavior and a spirit of dedication for welfare of the people and the betterment of their life style[36]

The need for this LL.M. programme is crucial for achieving the goal of legal excellence backed by a body of highly trained jurists, scholars and lawyers of national standing as well as of international status in Nepal. It is sought that the LL.M. course will be able to enrich law students with firm grounding in Nepal’s legal traditions, research and recent development in the world. The LL.M. programme is also being offered by the Purvanchal University; however, course details are different[37].

Objectives

The main objectives of LL.M. programme are[38]:

  • to impart legal knowledge from socio-cultural and development perspective;
  • to produce manpower equipped with necessary skill, competence and integrity;
  • to inculcate in students a sense of responsibility towards the society, the nation and the world and of respect for human life.
  • to develop a base of legal excellence with international and indigenous understandings;
  • to promote research by the faculty and the students in order to understand the insights of law and justice
  • to prepare legal scholars, jurists and academicians to enter the professions of law teaching, research, judicial and government services and legal consultants for public and private enterprises

Methods of Teaching

The method of teaching includes lectures, discussions, case study, tutorial, self-study, question-answer, case studies, research, workshop, seminars, etc. The main features of the teaching method include inter-disciplinary approach, and Socratic and co-operative (Participatory) method. Guest lecturers or as resource persons among the eminent legal personalities of Nepal and from abroad are being invited by the LL.M. management Committee or the Conveners of different subjects with the consent of the Head of Central Law Department[39]

Evaluation and Examination

At the end of each academic year, in the courses prescribed except for Seminar and Thesis Writing, a written annual examination is conducted for both the first year and second year courses as the basic criterion for the evaluation of the performance of students. The students have to pass each paper as prescribed in the course separately. Minimum pass marks in each subject is 50 percent out of full marks. A student who passes two years of study is graded on the basis of two year’s average marks as follows:

75  and above %               Distinction

60  to below 75%              First Division

50  to below 60%              Second Division

Less than 50 percent         Fail

Eligibility for Admission

The admission of a two year LL.M. opens generally with other masters’ degree programmes of the Tribhuvan University. Applicants seeking admission should face entrance exam except foreigners. Candidates who have completed graduation in law are eligible to appear in entrance examination for 50 seats. A candidate passing the entrance exam shall be eligible for admission only on the basis of marks obtained in entrance[40]. The course of study of Bachelor of Laws is considered as the syllabus for LL.M. entrance exam. Jurisprudence is compulsory and any two optional subjects can be opted amongst Constitutional Law, International Law, Commercial Law, Criminal Law, Environmental Law and Refugee Law for the entrance exam. Any two optional subjects chosen by the students in entrance exam must be chosen as optional area for the study in LL.M. and cannot be changed at any cost[41].

  • A Three Year Master of Laws (LL.M.) Programme

The Faculty of Law has also started a three year Master of Laws (LL.M.) programme since 2012. The course of a two year programme is divided into three academic years.  The objectives of this programme are same as of a two year LL.M. programme. Admission criteria, evaluation system, grading system also are same to a two year LL.M. programme. This programme is conducted in the morning on full fee basis. Only 35 students can get admission in this programme. 

  • Ph. D. Programme

The Office of the Dean, Faculty of Law, is conducting Ph.D. programme on law since 1997[42]. In 11 November 1997, two scholars had enrolled for Ph. D., however, they did not complete their research. As per the record of faculty, altogether 63 scholars have been enrolled for the research and ten scholars are awarded Ph. D. Only those scholars, who have published at least three research articles, can apply for Ph.D. Earlier, the notice for application had been opened twice a year but currently it opens once in a year. Applicants should face the viva voce based on their proposals. A successful scholar can get admission for Ph.D. on the basis of his viva voce and evaluation of his published articles. He should spend at least three years in his research for completion his research. On the completion of three years, he can submit his report. Submitted report shall be duly evaluated by internal and external experts and after acceptance of his report by experts he should face the viva voce. After being success in viva voce, he will be awarded Ph. D., the highest degree in law, by the faculty of law. 

  • Legal Education in Higher Secondary Level

 In 2008, Higher Secondary Education Board of Nepal has also introduced the course of General Law in Grade 11 and 12. Altogether 3 papers of law, one in grade 11 and two in grade 12, are introduced in this level; however, these papers are optional as per the HSEB scheme since only English and Nepali language subjects are compulsory and rest of the subjects are optional. The objective of this course is to inculcate elementary knowledge of law to the students of this level. The course of grade 11 covers general knowledge of law, constitution, human rights and fundamental rights. Besides, it also contains the concept of state, organ of the government, some concepts of law like rights and duties, person and liability. General objectives of this course are to:

  • acquaint the students with the general principles of law, Nepalese law, legal status of person and liability;
  • inculcate in them necessary knowledge of constitution, fundamental rights, structure of the states, formation and separation of power of the organs of the government in Nepal;
  • provide them with adequate knowledge and information of human rights, human rights instruments, Nepalese efforts towards protecting and promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms; and
  • equip them with basic knowledge of general laws and constitution of the country.

Likewise, course of grade 12 contains general concept of criminal law, civil law, procedural law, basic concept of contract and knowledge regarding drafting of some official legal and domestic documents etc. General Objectives of this Course are to:

  •  impart and equip the students with the basic knowledge of substantive law (both criminal and civil) and principles of procedural law;
  • acquaint them with the general introduction of legal drafting;
  • inculcate in them basic skills of  preparing model of law-suit (complaint), FIR, charge sheet, model of defence, preparation of models of documents such as deed of transfer of ownership, deed of mortgage in the sight of asset, loan deed, deed of residuary will probate and so on; and
  • impart them basic knowledge about the major crimes, principles of criminal law, elements of crime, property law, family law and contract law, principles of procedural law, jurisdiction of courts and court proceedings.

But this course is not being offered by most of the junior colleges and students are not also attracted to this course. However, few colleges are offering but number of student is very nominal, the reason is: there is no immediate utility of this course and in what course they will get admission after completing 12 in law is not clear yet. It does not also create any job opportunity yet. For the sustainability of this course, state should take the properstep. State should formulate the policy to create job opportunity by setting grade 12 in law as a qualifying degree for clerical job at least in judiciary since judiciary has some posts in which grade 12 passing, in any discipline, students can apply. If grade 12 in law is made compulsory for such posts in judiciary, it may create attraction.    

  • Problems of Legal Education in Nepal  

Legal education of Nepal is facing number of problems since right beginning of the commencement. Mere theoretical legal education does not meet the goal and objective of Nation since it require practical knowledge to solve the real legal issues. State responsibility, traditional method of teaching, lack of IT friendly knowledge, lack of refreshment training to teachers, lack of research oriented education system, easy certificate getting tendency of the students and so on; are the major problems of Nepalese legal education. 

  1. No access and Low access to Reading Materials

We are just providing theoretical knowledge of principles of English common law; however, we seek to provide practical knowledge. Even we don’t have frequent access in theoretical books and whatever we got that would be out dated since books on principles of English common law do not come to us on time. When we get such books, new trends and principles would be occurred in the country of origin. We are not being able to develop our scholars who can contribute in such a field.  Therefore no access and low access in reading materials is one of the problems. 

  • Less Priority in Practical Education

The proper practical knowledge on law requires adequate budget. State is not being sincere to enhance practical legal education, therefore, the objective of imparting practical knowledge on law is not being achieved. Whatever objectives, set in the course, for practical knowledge are limited in the letters. Lawyering skill cannot be developed only through the theoretical knowledge. The effort of providing practical skill like: drafting of legal document, observation of court room, placement in Private Law Firm is not being successful due to time, budget, unmanageable number of students, frequent absence of students etc.    

  • Problem relating to Methods of Teaching 

Our teaching method is outdated and traditional which cannot give proper knowledge on law. Traditional type of lecture method is common, which would be monotonous for the students. Case study, discussion methods as participatory method is not applied well. Teachers and students are similarly responsible for not applying this method. Teachers feel convenient to give one way lecturer to avoid unnecessary debates and students are also not being prepared on subject matters for the discussion due to their time constraints, economic constraints and individual reasons too. Students are also being dependent on the lecture of teacher which could be easy way to pass the exams.         

  • Insufficient  Knowledge  on IT

IT friendly knowledge would ease the classes for teachers. But most of teachers are not IT friendly; therefore, they cannot use Power Point Presentation and all. Power Point Presentation would be one of the better ways of effective teaching.

  • Lack of Research Oriented Education System

The modern legal education requires more research based study. Research based study requires proper budget, which is not allocated in our context. Whatsoever researches are being done, they are only doctrinal but not empirical. For the empirical research, sufficient budget must be allocated. No department is established looking for research activities. Without institutionalized efforts, research cannot be carried out.

  • Easy Certificate Getting Tendency of the Students

Generally, most of the students of LL.B. and LL.M. do require the certificate rather knowledge since they need the certificate as extra degree which would support to their promotion if they are government officials. Most of the students of LL.B. never come to the classes since they are already either jobholders or students of other faculties; therefore, they are not sincere to the legal education, however, this cannot be applied to B.A.LL.B. students. Admission of LL.B. is open for graduates. There are no limited seats for admission like in B.A.LL.B. and LL.M. Therefore, easy certificate getting tendency of students is being common in law.

  • Problems related to faculty members

The teaching faculties of the law are facing various problems like: low salary, unavailability of quarters to the teachers, no refreshment trainings, no special programmes for their career development, no support for academic activities. Such problems hamper the teaching activities.  

  • Insufficient Budgetary problem

The budget allocation to the education sector of the government is nominal. It shows the government’s reluctance to enhance whole education system. Such tendency of the government is one of the problems for legal education.

  • Recommendation

On the basis of aforesaid discussion, the following recommendations can be made for the betterment of the legal education in Nepal as well as SAARC level.

  1. Reform in Existing System

Whatever problems are being faced in imparting legal education shall immediately be addressed by the concerned authority. The following steps need to be taken for the betterment of legal education:

  • Library must be well equipped including e-library for the availability of necessary reading/teaching materials.  
  • Sufficient budget for research and other activities for practical knowledge must be allocated.
  • A separate research division must be developed under faculty of law.
  • Regular orientation on various methods of teaching and refreshment training must be conducted.
  • Number of students in LL.B. level must be fixed and entrance exam for admission must be introduced.
  • Special programmes for the economic support of teachers and students should be developed.
  • Salary of the teachers must be made equivalent at par with SAARC level.
  • Faculty of Law should be developed as a residential faculty, therefore, quarters for teacher and hostels for students must be availed.  
  • Special programmes for supporting academic activities of the teachers should also be conducted like: support for publication of books and research reports.
  • Scholarship and fee exemption schemes for the Ph. D. seeking teachers must be introduced.  
  • Special support programmes for research activities like: scholarship and other economic, educational and social security support should be conducted. 
  • Teachers need to be full time scholars; therefore, necessary programmes for this should be introduced.
  • The existing courses of all programmes must be revised at par with SAARC level.
  • The existing annual exam system should be replaced by semester system and the existing grading system should also be replaced by credit system.   
  • Educational exchange programmes to various Universities of the World should also be initiated.  
  • Some PG Diploma Courses in law in different subjects like human rights, juvenile justice, labour law, ADR, company secretary, international trade law, intellectual property etc. should be incorporated by the faculty of Law.  
  • Need of Uniform Curriculum in SAARC Region

In this age of globalization and regional integration, laws are constantly being harmonized and unified on a global and regional basis, hence, SAARC laws need to be harmonized and unified due to the speedy emergence of multinational trading companies. Comparative study for harmonization and unification of the SAARC laws is essential. Bogdan rightly opines that it is not possible to limit the legal study within the watertight compartment of domestic law[43]. Therefore, uniform curriculum at least for SAARC level is the necessity of time on the basis of comparative study of laws of this region. Comparative law provides the law students new dimension by which it[44]:  

  1. Helps in the discovery of the models for preventing and resolving social conflicts developed by different legal systems of the world
  2. Extends and enriches the supply of solutions
  3. Offers critical capacity and opportunity of finding the better solutions as per time and place
  4. Gives rise to lively international exchange on legal topics
  5. Promotes international understanding
  6. Enhances law reform especially in third world countries
  7. Saves the  future generation of lawyers from errors of complacency and self-satisfaction, and
  8. is useful in legal practice to a lawyer to find a solution to a problem for which national jurisprudence may not have an adequate answer and provides employment opportunities in various agencies of UN and various governmental and nongovernmental organizations[45].
  • Conclusion

Comparative law has an important function in legal education. Thus, it is required to be taught in the law schools as legal science, since it offers a dimension by which a law student can learn special legal cultures of others. A student of comparative law can lead to the improvement of inconsistent native laws which will be useful for the future generation to compete internationally. For this, comparative law must be placed in university curriculum as being done since few decades in other countries. The need of comparative study of different legal systems was felt during 1970s[46]. However, faculty of law has inserted comparative law as a subject only on 2010 and 2011 in LL.B. and B.A.LL.B courses respectively.

Students passing out without an adequate training in comparative law may not be able to contribute significantly to a discussion relating to major problems of modern jurisprudence, Roman Law, Hindu Law, Islamic Law, Civil Law and the regionalized and harmonized law of world. Therefore, the time has come to raise the voice in favour of uniform curriculum of the legal education at SAARC region, which will help a lawyer to come out from watertight compartment of domestic law, to remove national biasness, to make the law global and to reform national legal system. If we would be able to introduce such curriculum for this region, then we can claim that we are producing well equipped and trained human resources who can resolve the legal issues by selecting a proper law of the region.       

 Bibek Kumar Paudel
Associate Professor  
Nepal Law Campus, Faculty of Law, TU, Nepal


[1] A Speech of Balaram Kafle on Behalf of Faculty of Law in a Seminar Conducted by Institute of Law, Top Bahadur Singh (ed.), “Nepal Law Review”, Lalitpur: Institute of Law, Vol 1, No. 2,  July-September 1977, p. 9

[2] Purushottamshamsher J.B.R., Shree 3 Haruko Tathya Vrittanta Vol. 2, Kathamandu: Vidyarthi Pustak Bhandar, 2049, p. 3

[3] Institute of Law, TU, Prospectus: Bachelor of Law, Kathmandu: Tribhuvan University Press, 2040, p. 19

[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid

[6] Rewati Raman Khanal, “Prescribed curriculum for legal education and ways and suggestions for quality reform”, Top Bahadur Singh (ed.), “Nepal Law Review”, Lalitpur: Institute of Law, Vol 1, No. 2,  July-September 1977, p. 23, quoting History of origin and development of Sresta Pathshala 2000, p. 1, unpublished, available by Master Merunath Pandey.

[7] Prakash Osti (ed.), Some Historical Documents relating to Law, Kathmandu: Lawyers Club, 2063, p. 511

[8] Institute of Law, TU, Information Book: Certificate Level, Lalitpur, 2035, p. 2

[9] Monument, pasted on wall of Building of Nepal Law Campus

[10] Supra note 7

[11] Supra note 3, p. 20

[12] Supra note 8, p. 2

[13] Supra note 7

[14] Curriculum Development Centre, TU, Master of Laws (Curriculum), Kathamndu: Tribhuvan University Press, 2009, p.1

[15] http://www.tribhuvan-university.edu.np

[16] Supra note 3, p. 20  

[17] Supra note 8, p. 2

[18] Chandradhar Upreti, “Legal Education in Nepal: Theoretical Introduction”, Top Bahadur Singh (ed.), “Nepal Law Review”, Lalitpur: Institute of Law, Vol 1, No. 2,  July-September 1977, p. 40

[19] Supra note 3, p. 25

[20] Supra note 14, p. 2

[21] A Speech of the then Justice of Supreme Court of Nepal, Vasudev Sharma, in a Seminar Conducted by Institute of Law, Top Bahadur Singh (ed.), “Nepal Law Review”, Lalitpur: Institute of Law, Vol 1, No. 2,  July-September 1977, p. 16  

[22] Ibid

[23] http://www.ksl.edu.np

[24] Curriculum Development Centre, TU, B.A.LL.B. (Curriculum), Kathamndu: Tribhuvan University Press, 2010

[25] Ibid                       

[26] Curriculum Development Centre, TU, LL.B. (Curriculum), Kathamndu: Tribhuvan University Press, 2009, p. 3

[27] Ibid

[28] Ibid, p. 4

[29] Ibid

[30] Ibid, p. 5

[31] Supra note 24

[32] Ibid

[33] Ibid

[34] http://www.nlc.edu.np 

[35] Supra note 24

[36] Supra note 14

[37] Supra note 24

[38] Supra note 14, p. 3

[39] Ibid, p. 6

[40] Supra note 24

[41] Supra note 34

[42] Kantipur, Nepali National Daily, 16 Nov. 1997

[43] Michael Bogdan, Comparative Law, Norway: Kluwer Law and Taxation Publisher, 1994, p. 27

[44] Konrad Zweigert and Hein Kotz, An Introduction to Comparative Law, Third Edition, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998, p. 15

[45]  S. N. Jain, “The Research Programme in Indian Law Institute”, S. K. Verma and M. Afzal Wani (eds.), Legal Research and Methodology, New Delhi; Indian L aw Institute, 2006, p. 211, C.G. Weeramantry, An Invitation to the Law, New Delhi: Lawman Private Ltd., 2005, p. 52

[46]  A Speech of Sarbgya Ratna Tuladhar, the then Chairperson of Nepal Bar Association, in a Seminar Conducted by Institute of Law, Top Bahadur Singh (ed.), “Nepal Law Review”, Lalitpur: Institute of Law, Vol 1, No. 2,  July-September 1977, p. 12