LLM in Law and Development

For a young, new generation of lawyers empirically grounded in an interdisciplinary understanding of public policy problems and the process of development in India.


The law and the legal system are key foundations of modern society. The law is one of the primary institutions for reform and a better society.

In India, lawyers as a professional community have been deeply immersed in progressive social change, safeguarding human rights and the Constitution ever since the freedom movement. In 1987, the first national law schools were established with the hope of producing lawyers who would act as grassroots social engineers. 

In the spirit of this history of the law in India, we train you to be empirically grounded lawyers with a deep understanding of public policy problems and development in India. It is our belief that a legal education needs to foster core democratic and constitutional values with professional competence and skill.

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We foster decisive and meaningful intervention in the intersections of law and development in India. We hope you will become critical reflective practitioners with competence, integrity and social commitment.

To learn how the law works

We make sure you have an empirical understanding of the law. You will learn how legal institutions operate, while being well-versed in doctrinal and philosophical approaches. 

To work with a socially engaged faculty

We have a diverse cohort of socially engaged scholars and academics who will introduce you to the context, debates and backgrounds of the process of development in India. 

For a critical practice 

We believe that you need to become critical practitioners who can use your professional and academic knowledge to respond to critical problems in our country today. 

A chance at experiential learning

We offer experiential learning with legal clinics. You will use the law as instruments to bring positive social change with public interest lawyering and legal aid.

To participate in law and research networks

We are a part of The Asian Law Institute, National University of Singapore and The Law and Development Research Network. 

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Course structure

This programme will train you in a rigorous philosophical and conceptual analysis of legal doctrine, with a social scientific enquiry into law and society in India. You will engage with legal and social problems in field engagement and work in advanced legal research. 

These compulsory set of courses are an overview of legal arrangements and the foundations of modern legal systems. They examine notions of justice and the ways in which they are shaped in our globalised world. You will study how various legal arrangements operate and analyse the law’s interaction with social, economic, and political spheres. 

We train you in careful reading and writing and methods in social sciences in order to generate meaningful knowledge about the law and in order to work within legal institutions. An important component of this course is the relationship between law and development. We focus on theories of constitutionalism and rights, and how contemporary debates address constitutionalism.

You can deepen your understanding of the core ideas of law and development by choosing from an assortment of courses ranging from studies on legal system reform, human rights, environmental justice, global health and political economy. These courses help you understand the ways in which the law interacts with the social order and the role of the legal system in India.

We believe that experiential learning is an important part of your study. In this component of the programme, which includes two to three weeks of workshop style classes, you will use the law as a lever and instrument for creating positive social change. 

You will work with one faculty advisor who will assist you in a field engagement and design, implement, evaluate and write about a chosen topic that you will engage with through skills and tactics ranging from litigation, community organising, legislative drafting, advocacy, policy research, public interest lawyering or legal aid. You will understand how governance and legal services work and how to engage with them. This will help you understand the important role that ethical lawyers and development practitioners can play in social change.

Writing a dissertation is an important opportunity that will help you learn the skills and methods of scholarly academic writing. It provides a foundation for you to conduct independent research later, in the form of doctoral degrees, research projects or social interventions. 

You will write a dissertation across two semesters and build on the core course of Research Methods and Legal Writing. You will draft a research proposal and Statement of Purpose and frame a timeline in your first semester and begin work on your research by your winter break. A faculty advisor will work with you as you begin writing in your second semester. The dissertation will be 12,000 words in total and includes a viva.

Total 36 credits