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Common Law Admission Test

Common Law Admission Test
Acronym CLAT
Type Computer Based Standardised Test
Developer / administrator CLAT Committee
Knowledge / skills tested Legal aptitude, Logical reasoning, English, General knowledge, Elementary mathematics
Purpose Entrance to National Law Universities
Duration 2 Hours
Score / grade range -50 to 200
Score / grade validity 1 year
Offered once a year
Restrictions on attempts none
Languages English
Annual no. of test takers Increase 45,000 (in 2015)
Prerequisites / eligibility criteria Senior Secondary Exam (12th)
Fee 4000 INR
Scores / grades used by National Law Universities, Private Law Colleges, PSU's
Website .in.acclat

Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) is a centralised test for admission to 16 prominent National Law Universities in India. The test is taken after the Higher Secondary Examination or the 12th grade for admission to integrated undergraduation programmes in Law and after Graduation in Law for Master of Laws(LL.M) programmes conducted by these law universities. This test was conducted for the first time on 11 May 2008. The two-hour admission test consists of objective type covering questions on Elementary Mathematics or Numerical Ability, English with Comprehension, General knowledge and Current affairs , Legal Aptitude and Logical reasoning.[1] The CLAT scores are used by other private law colleges across the country and Public Sector Undertakings for admissions and recruitment respectively.


  • Background 1
  • Eligibility 2
    • Under-Graduate Courses 2.1
    • Post-Graduate Courses 2.2
  • Participating law schools 3
  • Non-participating schools 4
  • Institutions utilising CLAT scores 5
  • Method of allocation 6
  • Formal structure 7
  • Controversies 8
  • CLAT 2013 9
  • CLAT 2014 10
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13


Before the introduction of CLAT, the autonomous law schools in India conducted their own separate entrance tests, requiring the candidates to prepare and appear separately for each of these tests. The schedule of the administration of these tests sometimes conflicted with the other or with other major entrance tests such as the Indian Institute of Technology Joint Entrance Examination and the All India Pre Medical Test. This caused students to miss tests and experience much stress.[2]

There are seventeen National Law Universities in India, the first of which is the National Law School of India University, which admitted its first batch of students in 1987. Out of the seventeen, the National Law University, Delhi conducts its own separate entrance test known as All India Law Entrance Test.[3] With the emergence of other law schools, which also sought to conduct their admission tests at around the same time, students faced a hard time preparing for them. From time to time this issue to conduct a common entrance exam to reduce the burden of the students to give multiple test was raised, but given the autonomous status of each law school, there was no nodal agency to co-ordinate an action to this regard.[4]

The matter drew national attention when a Public Interest Litigation was filed by Varun Bhagat against the Union of India and various National Law Universities in the Supreme Court of India in 2006. The Chief Justice of India directed the Union of India to consult with the National Law Universities to formulate a common test. The move was strongly supported by the Bar Council of India.[5][6]

Given the lack of a central nodal authority to bring forth a consensus on the issue, the

  • Official Website

External links

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  20. ^ Answers underlined in a part of CLAT paper
  21. ^ CLAT committee release flawed CLAT 2012 answer key, Students baffled
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See also

CLAT 2014 was conducted by GNLU, Gandhinagar and was heavily criticized for being poorly conducted[22] with results being withdrawn and declared again.[23] Even lawsuits had been filed for re-examination.[24] The uploaded OMRs were then allowed to be physically verified in the GNLU Campus after students demanded the same.

CLAT 2014

CLAT 2013, conducted by HNLU, Raipur saw the introduction of provision of negative marking. For every wrong answer, a deduction of one-fourth of the right answer, i.e. -0.25, is made.

CLAT 2013

The 2012 CLAT organised by NLU, Jodhpur was marred by number of controversies, which includes allegation of setting questions out of syllabus and out of the pre- declared pattern.[18] The declared rank list also contained error, due to which the first list was taken down and a fresh list was put up.[19] The declared question-answer keys contained several error, which resulted in petitions being filed by the aggrieved students in different High Courts.[20][21]

The CLAT 2011 candidates were disappointed with the standard of exam, as up to 12 questions in the various sections had underlined answers due to the oversight of the organisers and students also found the paper lengthy in comparison to the time limit provided (i.e. 2 hours).[17]

The CLAT 2009, which was scheduled to be held on 17 May 2009 was rescheduled to 31 May 2009 due to leak of question papers.[16]


The first CLAT Core Committee consisting of Vice-Chancellors of the seven participating NLUs at that time decided that the test should be conducted by rotation in the order of their establishment. Accordingly, the first Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) was conducted in the year 2008 by the Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar.[15]

Formal structure

The CLAT form provides the students with a preference list. Each student fills the preference list, according to the colleges he/she desires.On the basis of these preferences and ranks obtained, students are allocated colleges. CLAT 2011 has seen a dramatic change. The previous system of asking applicants preferences of institution at the time of filing the application form has been done away with. In an attempt to allow for more informed choice, CLAT 2011 applicants would be asked to make a selection of institutions after the declaration of results.

Method of allocation

In addition to this, CLAT has also entered into a MOU with the Indian Oil Corporation, whereby IOC would be utilising CLAT scores as one of the selection criteria for recruitment of legal professionals to IOC.[13] Recently Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and NCIL advertised to fill up legal vacancy through CLAT-2015.[14]

  1. Jodhpur National University, Narandi, Jahnwar Road, Jodhpur
  2. Siddhartha Law College, Sahastradhara Road, Near IT Park, Dehradun
  3. SOA National Institute of Law, Faculty of Legal Studies, Siksha O Anusandhan University, Khandagiri Square, Bhubaneswar

The following institutions have been permitted to utilize CLAT scores for the purposes of admissions to their undergraduate and postgraduate courses:

Institutions utilising CLAT scores

Despite the efforts of the Ministry of Human Resources Development, not all law schools in the country could come to an agreement to be participants to CLAT. While the number of participating institutions has increased from seven to fourteen from 2008 to 2012, there are still a number of reputable law schools which choose to continue with their existing system. Some of the main ones are;

Non-participating schools

The first entrance examination through CLAT took place to admit students for the academic year 2008-09 on 11 May 2008.[10] While, in the first CLAT seven law schools participated, 3 other NLUs; Chanakya National Law University, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University, (Lucknow) and Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law agreed in principle to utilise the CLAT score for admission. The second entrance examination through CLAT for admitting students for the academic year 2009-10 held on 31 May 2009. From seven last year, the list of participating law schools for this year has increased to eleven. Eleven previous National Law University, Jodhpur on 13 May 2012. Also, National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi National Law University, Orissa, and National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam are the three NLU(s) who joined CLAT in 2012 making the total number of Universities to 14. Tamil Nadu National Law School was, however, provisionally included in CLAT as an interim order.[11] However, National Law University, Delhi conducts its own admission test.

Name of the Institution Location Year of joining CLAT
National Law School of India University Bangalore 2008
Nalsar University of Law Hyderabad 2008
The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences Kolkata 2008
National Law Institute University Bhopal 2008
National Law University, Jodhpur Jodhpur 2008
Hidayatullah National Law University Raipur 2008
Gujarat National Law University Gandhinagar 2008
Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University Lucknow 2009
Chanakya National Law University Patna 2009
National University of Advanced Legal Studies Kochi 2009
Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law Patiala 2009
National University of Study and Research in Law Ranchi 2012
National Law University, Orissa Cuttack 2012
National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam Guwahati 2012
Tamil Nadu National Law School Srirangam 2014
Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University Visakhapatnam 2014

Participating law schools

LL. B/B. L. Degree or an equivalent degree from a recognized University with not less than 55% marks in aggregate (50% in case of SC and ST candidates). The candidates who have passed the qualifying degree examination through supplementary/ compartment and repeat attempts are also eligible for appearing in the test and taking admission provided that such candidates will have to produce the proof of having passed the qualifying examination with fifty-five/fifty percent marks, as the case may be, on the date of their admission or within the time allowed by the respective universities.[9]

Post-Graduate Courses

Senior Secondary School/Intermediate (10+2) or its equivalent certificate from a recognised Board with not less than 45% marks in aggregate (40% in case of SC and ST candidates). Students whose results are awaited can also appear in the test.[9]

Under-Graduate Courses

The eligibility requirements are as follows:

Only Indian nationals and NRIs can appear in the test. The foreign nationals desirous of taking admission to any course in any of the participating Law Universities may directly contact the concerned University having seats for foreign nationals.[8]



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