It is official now. From September this year, law graduates will have to clear an entry-level exam to be eligible for legal practice.
In a widely anticipated move, the Bar Council of India — the regulator for the legal profession — has decided to implement its decision of making aspiring lawyers walk the extra mile from this year itself.
“The BCI has informed the law ministry of its decision to make it mandatory for law graduates to pass an entry-level exam to be eligible for a lawyer’s licence. We welcome it,” law minister M. Veerappa Moily said on Saturday.
The minister said the decision was taken by the Bar at its meeting on Friday. HT had first reported on April 28 about the likely introduction of an exam for new lawyers soon.
The move, which was contemplated for many months, got a fresh impetus with Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam being elected chairman of the Bar on April 18. Subramaniam’s first major decision was the introduction of the test, within a fortnight of his taking over.
“The Supreme Court had last year suggested there should be an entry-level Bar exam, and the BCI will seriously implement it. It will apply to law graduates passing out from this year and those who passed the LLB earlier but had not applied for licences till now,” Subramaniam said. There are more than a million lawyers in India “and we need to raise the standard of the profession”, he said.
At present, a law degree from a recognised university or a law institute is the sole eligibility criterion for getting registered as a lawyer.