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Overview and Programme Rationale

Azim Premji University launched a one-year Post Graduate Programme in Law and Development (Masters in Law / LL.M.) in 2016. Admissions for the academic year 2017-2018 are now open.

This postgraduate programme in Law and Development seeks to initiate a decisive, novel and meaningful intervention at the intersection of the domains of Law and Development in India.

Law and the legal system provide a key normative and institutional foundation for social, political and economic realms of modern society as well as being primary instruments for their reform. Lawyers have at various points in Indian history been a professional community deeply immersed in progressive social change as:

  • the political vanguard of the Indian independence movement;
  • protectors of human rights and the constitution in post 1950 India and
  • everyday support to vibrant and independent civil society organizations that are essential for a just, equitable, humane and sustainable society.

In order for lawyers to play this vital role in our society, legal education needs to combine and replicate these core democratic and constitutional values with the highest standards of professional competence and skill.

In 1987 the first of the ‘national law schools’ was established to produce lawyers as grass roots ‘social engineers’ who would act as the agents of progressive social change. This experiment has led to an impressive growth in the number, and arguably the quality, of legal graduates in the last two decades. Despite its success, the academic programmes have privileged professional and technical competence and underemphasized the social, political and economic dimensions of this professional field.

The significant reasons for only a modest realisation of the stated goals of legal education in India – to create and sustain a socially progressive legal profession – are:

  • a failure to develop a generation of academically competent and socially engaged practitioners and scholars of the law given that a majority of proficient and socially diverse law graduates pursue professional opportunities.
  • the failure of graduate programmes in law to engage students with the context, debates and imperatives of the processes of development in India.

The Master’s degree in Law and Development at Azim Premji University aims to remedy these deficits with a postgraduate legal education programme that is:

  • inter-disciplinary,
  • empirically grounded, and
  • refocuses law and legal education to the ethical resolution of critical public policy problems.

This programme will integrate two distinct approaches to the study of law and legal institutions in India:

  • The first is to develop a textured, empirical understanding of how law and legal institutions operate in Indian society that avoids a purely doctrinal or instrumental approach to these phenomena.
  • The second is to develop the disposition to use the professional and academic knowledge developed through the LL.M programme to respond to critical problems in law and social policy.
Eligibility

To be eligible to apply applicants must possess a Bachelor of Laws degree from a recognized degree granting university in India or abroad. As the Bachelor of Laws is in most cases a non-specialist degree, the LL.M. Programme will be open to students with diverse interests in law.



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