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National Law University (Delhi) Integrates Paralegal Advocacy Into Curriculum

This article originally appeared on The Times of India.

June 18, 2012

National Law University , Delhi (NLUD), is going to introduce a clinical course on legal services and paralegal advocacy as a compulsory subject in the 9th semester of their BA LLB (Honours) programme from this academic session in August 2012.

According to Srikrishna Deva Rao, professor of law and registrar, NLUD, legal education in India is currently facing challenges about the goals, mission and its social relevance. In response, clinical legal education has emerged as a new method of learning to introduce issues on social justice to students and to prepare them as public interest lawyers.

He says, “The course attempts to develop proactive role in educating the public about law and strategise legal empowerment using legal services and paralegal education. The course will also make an attempt to critically examine the contribution of legal education to bring the law closer to people and to reach out to communities. It will also examine the various efforts in India in strengthening legal aid and institutionalising paralegal education.”

Elaborating on the subjects’ concept, Rao says that legal aid is a basic human right and integral to right to life and personal liberty provided in the Indian constitution. The ignorance about law is a major reason behind the perpetuation of injustice. The vast majority of people have no resources to protect their rights. There are not enough lawyers to provide legal aid services. Legal literacy is the first step in the legal aid movement to bring law closer to the communities .

Paralegal education is an important duty of the state and academia to build legal knowledge and skills among people. It is an important tool and method to fulfil the unmet legal needs of the people. It will improve the overall quality of professional legal education while expanding the services for the poor.

As to the advantages of the course, Rao says, “This course will facilitate the community-based initiatives , combining participation and legal empowerment through the student support-groups.”

As part of this clinical course, students will also visit the NLUD project site of Legal Empowerment of Construction Workers in Noida and Dwarka and engage in two clinical tasks.

Admission to the five year BA LLB (Honours) programme is on merit, based on the All India Entrance Examination. To be eligible for the course, candidates need to have cleared +2 securing an aggregate of not less than 50% of the total marks.

June 18, 2012 | Namati