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National Law School of India University

National Law School of India University
Motto Dharmo Rakshati Rakshata
("Those who protect justice are protected by justice")
Established 1987
Type State University
Vice-Chancellor R. Venkata Rao
Undergraduates 400
Postgraduates 100
Location Bangalore, Karnataka, India ()
Campus Urban
Visitor Chief Justice of India

The National Law School of India University (NLSIU) is an institution constituted by the Karnataka Legislative Assembly for undergraduate and graduate legal education in India. It was the first ever National Law University to be established. By popular estimates, the school consistently ranks as the most prestigious law school in India.[1]

Located in Bangalore, NLSIU was established by a statute passed by the Legislative Assembly of the State of Karnataka.[2] The school was officially founded on August 29, 1987. The statute provides that the Chief Justice of India serves as the school's Visitor. The Vice-Chancellor, currently R.Venkata.Rao, serves as the school's chief administrator.


  • History 1
  • Admissions 2
  • Academics 3
    • Undergraduate 3.1
    • Postgraduate 3.2
    • Rankings 3.3
  • Melgiri Memorial National Law Library 4
  • UNHCR Chair for Refugee Law 5
  • Student activities 6
    • The Student Bar Association 6.1
    • Competitive debating 6.2
    • Moot court competitions 6.3
  • Journals published 7
  • NLSIU in fiction 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


The 10th Asian Law Institute Conference took place at the university on 23 and 24 May 2013

In 1987, NLSIU was established under the stewardship of its founder, then Vice-Chancellor N. R. Madhava Menon. The University has since had four more Vice-Chancellors, namely N. L. Mitra, A. Jayagovind, G. Mohan Gopal, and incumbent R. Venkata Rao, who took over in 2009.

The first batch of law students joined the school's undergraduate program on July 1, 1988. Interestingly, classes commenced before the school's buildings had been fully constructed; thus, NLSIU actually began instruction at the premises of the Central College of Bangalore University and continued therein until November 1991. The school then formally moved to its present-day location in Nagarbhavi, a suburb of Bangalore.


Admissions to NLSIU were originally done on the basis of a separate entrance exam conducted by the University itself. After a Supreme Court ruling directing that all law entrance examinations must be clubbed together, the Common Law Admission Test(CLAT) was introduced in 2008. The first CLAT was conducted by NLSIU. As of now, all admissions in NLSIU, for both undergraduate and postgraduate programs are made on the basis of performance in the CLAT. In 2014, for the Undergraduate CLAT, a total of 33,000 students contested for a mere 55 seats, making the examination one of the most competitive in India.[3]



One of the university buildings

NLSIU offers undergraduates a five-year integrated B.A./LL.B. program which, upon completion, qualifies the student to sit for the bar to practice law in India.

The LL.B. is the standard undergraduate degree in law offered in most common law countries.[4] The United States is the only common law nation that no longer offers the LL.B. degree. While the LL.B. was conferred by Yale University until 1971, all U.S. law schools have since conferred the professional doctorate J.D.[5]

The undergraduate B.A./LL.B. curriculum at NLSIU consists of a mix of social science and legal subjects. In the first two years, the law student attends courses on history, political science, sociology and economics alongside standard legal subjects, such as torts, contracts and constitutional law. In the latter three years, legal subjects dominate the curriculum. Students are selected by merit through the nationally-administered Common Law Admission Test (CLAT).


NLSIU offers both coursework and research degrees at the postgraduate level. The LL.M. is a two-year coursework degree. The M.Phil., LL.D. and/or Ph.D. degrees, all aim at producing leading research scholars in all forms of legal academic pursuit, from legal history to jurisprudence. Therefore, postgraduate students are designated Research Scholars by the school.

For LL.M. postgraduate students, NLSIU presently offers two lines of specialization: Business Law and Human Rights Law. There are currently 25 seats for Human Rights Law and 25 seats for Business Law. Two seats are reserved for foreign nationals. A detailed prospectus can be obtained from NLSIU on payment of the requisite fee or downloaded free from the university's website.

On its 25th year, NLSIU has launched a new Master of Public Policy programme. MPP is a two year residential programme organised in six trimesters. Candidates are admitted on the basis of a Policy Aptitude Test, followed by interview. The class size of MPP programme is 40 for the batch of 2014-16, out of which ten seats are reserved for scheduled caste, scheduled tribe and physically disabled candidates. Five seats are available for foreign nationals. Admission for a candidate belonging to foreign national category is based on the mark/grade of graduation, aptitude exhibited in the application form and work experience.

In addition to the above full-time programs, NLSIU also offers several part-time distance learning programs, including a Masters Degree in Business Law and Postgraduate Diploma programs in Human Rights Law, Medical Law, Environmental Law and IP Law.


University Rankings
Law – India
India Today[6] 1[7]
Outlook India[8] 1
Mint[9] 1

NLSIU was ranked first on both the Outlook India Top 10 Law Colleges of 2011[8] and Mint Top 15 Law Colleges of 2009,[9] and first on the India Today India's Best law Colleges 2012.[6]

However a recent School Review Commission appointed by the Chief Justice of India, and headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice K.T. Thomas and having Prof. Virendra Kumar Director Academics of the Chandigarh Judicial Academy (CJA, Chandigarh) and Prof. Mahendra Pal Singh former Vice Chancellor of the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata to review the 24-year old University strongly criticized the “dismal state of affairs” at NLSIU, and found evidence of just 4–6 hours of classroom teaching a week, rising instances of drug abuse and indifference to plagiarism in student project reports and decline in serious research pursuit and academic rigour.[10]

Melgiri Memorial National Law Library

The Narayan Rao Melgiri Memorial National Law Library at NLSIU is the largest law library in the country, housing a collection of over 40,000 bound volumes in addition to periodical holdings.[11][12][13]

The Melgiri Library was inaugurated by Chief Justice of India R.C. Lahoti on August 27, 2005.[14] The library was built through generous contributions from the University Grants Commission (India), New Delhi and Chairwoman Sudha Murthy of the Infosys Foundation.[15]

UNHCR Chair for Refugee Law

In 1995, the first UNHCR Chair for Refugee Law was inaugurated at NLSIU.[16] N. Subramanya worked on issues pertaining to refugees during his tenure as researcher under the UNHCR Chair and in 2004 two of his books about refugees were published.[17]

Student activities

The Student Bar Association

A cultural performance during the 10th Asian Law Institute Conference at the university

The Student Bar Association (SBA) is the umbrella body that coordinates all student activities; all students are de facto members of the SBA. The SBA has created various Activity-Based Committees (ABCs) which are in charge of specific student activities.[18]

NLSIU has a total of twelve ABCs which coordinate the activities of the Student Bar Association (SBA). These committees are re-constituted every year. The Co-ordination Council consists of the Convenors/Joint Convenors of the ABCs. This Council is responsible for ensuring that the various ABCs function coherently. A wide range of internal as well as inter-institutional activities throughout the academic year are organized by the ABCs and the Co-ordination Council.

Competitive debating

NLSIU plays an active role in promoting parliamentary debate in India. The school regularly participates in many international competitions and is currently the highest-ranking Indian team in the World rankings.[19] NLSIU reached the ESL Finals in 2002 and in 2007 at the World Universities Debating Championship. It also recently won the 15th All Asian Debating Championships held in Dhaka in 2008. Three out of the four semi-finalist teams, and six of the top ten speakers, were from NLSIU. Another boost for the Parliamentary Debate movement in NLSIU came in the form of the Cambridge University Debate Competition 2009, where the NLSIU team became the first South Asian team to "make the break" and reach the second round of the competition.[20] NLSIU teams have also performed extremely well in the inaugural Asians BP Tournament held in Chulalongkorn University, with all three of its teams reaching the semi finals of the tournament, and two out of the top ten speakers (and four in the top 20). Since then, NLS has reached the Semi-finals of the United Asian Debating Championships held at Assumption University, Bangkok, in 2010.

NLSIU also hosts South Asia's biggest Parliamentary Debate Competition.[21] The inaugural edition of the NLS Debate was held in 2002. The competition brings together participants from across South Asia. In 2011, NLSIU's Literary and Debating Society launched two new initiatives – the NLS Union Debate[22] and the NLS Debate Junior. Christ Junior College is also organizing a parliamentary debate, in a tie-up with NLS.[23]

Moot court competitions

The entrance to the Justice Hidayatullah Moot Court Hall, named after former Chief Justice of India Mohammad Hidayatullah, at the university

As regards its performance in Surana and Surana Moots. It has won the Jessup Cup twice, in 1999 and 2013. Raag Yadava was named Best Oralist at the 2013 tournament.[24] NLSIU is also the only law school in India to have won the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court competition, again on 2 separate occasions. In 2009, NLSIU emerged as the World Champion of the Manfred Lachs Space Moot Court Competition, defeating State University of New York School of Law in the final round held at Daejeon, South Korea.[25] In 2012, NLSIU won the competition for the second time, also picking up the best team, best memorandum and the best oralist awards.[26] NLSIU also participates regularly in the annual Monroe E. Price Media Law Moot Court Competition at the University of Oxford.[27]

Journals published

NLSIU in fiction

NLSIU forms part of the setting of Satyajit Sarna's 2012 bestselling novel The Angel's Share. NLSIU is described in the following terms:

To understand why, I suppose you have to look at the epistemology of the institution. Take one part AngloAmerican liberal arts college, with its homoerotic GraecoRoman heritage and interminable quest for the Truth. Add one part German technical institute, with its Teutonic backbone and commitment to producing professionals. Toss in two tablespoons of post-Nehruvian idealism and a pinch of postmodernism as seasoning, bake for fifteen years and garnish with the southern sunshine. Serve hot with cold lager. Even after the lunar sadness of the end game, I cannot think of Law School with anything but warmth. It was still a young institution, vibrating with the different strokes it accommodated, when Sasha and I were there. Poverty and development activists, who were arrested for protesting big dams, coal mines, nuclear plants. Gay rights activists, trying to get the courts to read down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and allow them to joyfully bugger each other without being arrested for it. Constitutional and governmental theoreticians, feverishly rejigging concepts so big it was hard to see how they related to anything on the temporal plane. Feminists like Rohini, with her voluptuous body and melancholy eyes, so beautiful that she would make women angry and boys guilty. Corporate and commercial nuts so determined to serve money that they made it look noble. Even with all this in the air, it was a dreamy world, a paradise of pot, beer and sunshine, a culture of dissent and idiosyncratic actions, of practical jokes.[28]

The Angel's Share attracted controversy upon its publication due to its frank descriptions of sex and drugs on the campus of India's premier law school as well as its outspoken criticism of corporate law firms.[29]

See also


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Retrieved 7 April 2013. 
  3. ^ Legally, India (28 May 2012). "CLAT 2012 result: Top 200 ranks sit on 20 marks, highest 159/200". Legally India. Retrieved 7 April 2013. 
  4. ^ John H. Langbein, "Scholarly and Professional Objectives in Legal Education: American Trends and English Comparisons," Pressing Problems in the Law, Volume 2: What are Law Schools For?, Oxford University Press, 1996.
  5. ^ Association of American Universities Data Exchange. Glossary of Terms for Graduate Education. Accessed May 26, 2008; National Science Foundation (2006). "Time to Degree of U.S. Research Doctorate Recipients," InfoBrief, Science Resource Statistics NSF 06-312, 2006, p. 7. (under "Data notes" mentions that the J.D. is a professional doctorate); San Diego County Bar Association (1969). ‘'Ethics Opinion 1969-5. Accessed May 26, 2008. (under "other references" discusses differences between academic and professional doctorate, and statement that the J.D. is a professional doctorate); University of Utah (2006). University of Utah – The Graduate School – Graduate Handbook. Accessed May 28, 2008. (the J.D. degree is listed under doctorate degrees)
  6. ^ a b "India's Best Law Colleges 2011".  
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b "Top 10: Other Professional Colleges".  
  9. ^ a b "Top 15 Law Colleges of 2009" (PDF).  
  10. ^ "Law School has lowered quality, says CJI committee". Times of India. 2011-01-15. Retrieved 7 April 2013. 
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Karnataka / Bangalore News : Director thanks Dharam Singh". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 2005-08-29. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  15. ^ "National Law School Of India University, Bangalore - 560072, Karnataka". Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  16. ^ United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (1995-09-11). "Information note on UNHCR's activities for refugee law promotion, dissemination and training". UNHCR. Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  17. ^ V. C. Keshava, Exploring Mysore: a complete data map in a special style, V.S.R. Prakashana, 2004
  18. ^ "ABC Overview". 2009-09-14. Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  19. ^ "World Debate Website". Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  20. ^ "NLS Debate | Organisers". Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  21. ^ "Lanka Law School wins NLS Debate". Retrieved 2011-11-23. 
  22. ^ "NLS Debate Union is Back". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 2011-09-15. Retrieved 2011-11-23. 
  23. ^ "NLS Students Teach Student Debaters Verbal Warfare". The Bangalore Mirror. 2011-11-04. Retrieved 2011-11-23. 
  24. ^  Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition
  25. ^ "NLSIU makes mooting history: India wins Manfred Lachs for the first time". Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  26. ^
  27. ^ "2011 International Rounds in Oxford - Results". University of Oxford - Price Media Law Moot Court Programme. Retrieved 3 June 2012. 
  28. ^ The Angel's Share. Satyajit Sarna. (HarperCollins India, New Delhi, 2012)
  29. ^

External links

  • Official website
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