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LL.M. IN LAW AND DEVELOPMENT

Azim Premji University launched a one-year Post Graduate Programme in Law and Development (Masters in Law / LL.M.) in 2016.

Why an LL.M. in India?

The Azim Premji University LL.M. 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. The LL.M. in Law & Development at Azim Premji University is unique in having a law faculty dedicated exclusively to post graduate teaching.

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 the 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 underemphasised 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 socially engaged practitioners given that a majority 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.

Why an LL.M. at Azim Premji University?

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.
  • The second is to develop an ability to use the law to respond to critical problems in 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.

PROGRAMME DESIGN

Academic objectives

The LL.M. in Law & Development is a full-time one year programme that is spread over two semesters. The programme consists of three components- core and elective courses, field work, including a four- week external internship and a dissertation. Students must achieve a minimum of 36 credits spread over these three components in order to complete the programme successfully.

The programme is intended to achieve the following objectives:

  • facilitate the creation of a diverse cohort of academically proficient and socially engaged scholars and practitioners of law;
  • introduce students from law backgrounds to the context, debates and imperatives of the processes of development in India, and the significant role of legal institutions in conditioning these processes; and
  • Enable students to critically engage with the possibility and the means of using law as an agency of positive social change.
Curriculum Structure

How many core and elective courses do I have to do?

The programme includes four core courses - Law & Justice in the Globalising World, Research Methods & Legal Writing, Law & Development, and Comparative Public Law/ Systems of Governance. In addition, you will complete three elective courses over two semesters. A wide range of elective courses that intersect the domain of law and other related areas such as anthropology, ecology, education and political philosophy are available for students to develop their areas of academic interests. You will also participate in a year-long mandatory field engagement programme that will expose them to an experiential understanding of law and society.

The LL.M. in Law and Development programme requires a mandatory component of dissertation writing. This will help you develop your skills and confidence in conducting more advanced research such as a doctoral degree or conceptualising an independent research project. The dissertation spans over the two semesters

The curriculum has four components

  • Core courses
  • Elective courses
  • Field work (including an external internship)
  • Dissertation

These components are arranged in the following manner:

Semester (1) (2)
Taught Courses
(Core and Elective)
Law and Justice in a Globalising World
(4 Credits)
Comparative Public Law/Systems of Governance
(4 Credits)
Law and Development
(4 Credits)
Elective Course 2
(3 Credits)
Research Methods and Legal Writing
(4 Credits)
Elective Course 3
(3 Credits)
Elective Course 1
(3 Credits)
Field work
(including an external internship)
(Runs across the length of the programme)
(6 Credits)
Dissertation (Runs across the length of the programme)
(5 Credits)
Total Number of Credits = 4 * 4 (Core courses) + 3 * 3 (Elective courses) + 5 (Dissertation) + 6 (Field work) = 36
CURRICULUM COMPONENTS

Core Courses

The core courses are compulsory for all students. These courses are:

  • Law and Justice in a Globalising World
  • Law and Development
  • Research Methods and Legal Writing
  • Comparative Public Law/Systems of Governance

Electives

Along with the core courses, students will be required to take three elective courses as a part of the programme. Students can take one elective course in their first semester, and two in their second semester. These electives form a vital component of the curriculum, and build substantially on the inter-disciplinary enquiry initiated in the core courses, particularly in the core course on Law and Development.

For details of core courses and tentative list of electives click here.

Field work

The LL.M. in Law and Development programme includes a sustained empirical engagement with the field to promote experiential learning and critical interrogation of received normative and analytical frameworks. The compulsory field engagement requirement extends across both semesters. Students will be assigned to one or more faculty advisors who will supervise their field engagement. Small groups of students will work with faculty supervisors to design, implement, evaluate, and digitally archive a unique project relating to their chosen theme within the area of law and development. The skills and tactics utilized in projects include litigation, community organizing, legislative drafting and advocacy, strategic planning, policy research and analysis of media relations, or a combination of these. Through projects, the field engagement will work towards systemic change and law reform. At the same time, field projects will help students appreciate the role that lawyers and developmental practitioners can play in advancing justice through service.

Our field projects have dealt with issues related to Criminal Justice, Constitutional and Public Law, Human Rights, Legal System Reforms, Politics between Elections, Ecological Justice, Media and Politics, Education Law and State Public Service Commissions Reforms.

Dissertation

The LL.M. in Law and Development programme has a mandatory component of dissertation writing. The dissertation is a critical component of the LL.M curriculum and provides an important opportunity for students to be exposed to the methods and skills essential for scholarly academic writing based on interdisciplinary research. The dissertation process spans across both semesters, and the final output will be a substantial written work of around ten thousand words, of publishable quality.

Dissertation topics have included “The Viability of the Uniform Civil Code”, “The Doctrine of Consideration in Indian Contract Law’’, “Analysing Notions of Development in Environmental Decisions of the Supreme Court”.

Selection

Prospective Students

The LL.M. in Law and Development seeks bright, motivated students who are interested in the social context as well as the social impact of the law, and are interested in contributing to development practices and discourse through the medium of the law. The programme will attract graduates with:

  • 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.
  • Applicants must clear the entrance examination held by Azim Premji University for the post- graduate programmes.
  • Motivation for work in government and civil society or an academic career in the law.
  • Social awareness and engagement with the role of law in development.
  • Proven academic ability and potential.
Selection Process

Early Admission: We have opened the Early round of admissions for LL.M. in Law & Development programme for the year 2021. Students will select through the National Entrance Test conducted by Azim Premji University on March 21 2021 and a personal interview.

Regular Admission: University may decide to conduct second round admissions for LL.M. in Law and Development Programme, provided there are vacant seats available. The decision on the second round will be taken by the end of June 2021.

Only candidates who are appearing for CLAT or LSAT India 2021 will be eligible to apply. Candidates, who are shortlisted based on their CLAT / LSAT India scores, will be called for a personal interview.

Note: Applications of candidates, who are not selected in the Early round of admission will not be considered again for the Regular round. Such candidates can apply in the next year.

Career Pathways

What are my career options after the LL.M.?

The LL.M. in Law & Development programme recognizes that the domains of law and development are intrinsically linked. The programme will allow students to hone their skills in research, advocacy and legal and social work. The interdisciplinary nature of the programme will equip students with sufficient skills to approach a problem from multiple vantage points.

Upon completion of this programme, students can embark upon the following career paths:

  • Work in regulatory and governance roles with public and private sector institutions.
  • Opt for careers in research and advocacy on issues of development, social justice and public policy.
  • Secure academic positions at the various law schools and universities.
  • Opt for a socially engaged critical legal practice.

Of the previous batch of our LL.M. students, several are pursuing a career in academics as assistant professors and research associates at law universities. Some have chosen to be litigators and legal officers, others are engaged as researchers with civil society organisations working in the sectors of health, education and socio-economic empowerment.



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