Kerala Law Academy

About us

MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR’S DESK

Director

The Academy wants every day in its campus to be a potential adventure. Its class rooms, clinical settings and ambience should provide a different experience. No doubt, the Academy will make you think and teach you skills and way of thought. To achieve this goal, much is expected from the student. The Academy will ensure that its training gives you the strong basement and foundation needed for a successful legal career.

Law is all pervading and a brooding omnipresence and the life of law is justice. Justice depends on the judicial and legal process and in turn on the quality of judges, lawyers, law makers and ultimately on the quality of law teachers. Hence it is obvious that quality legal education is the need of the hour.

Judges hold public office and their quality is important for the smooth progress of our society and delivery of justice. Hence it is essential that the best are attracted to law and to the judiciary and those who join judiciary should have excellent levels of quality and integrity in administrating justice. Only sustained training can help in this regard. As Justice Cardozo, who is a legend in this field, had observed, “the training of the judge, if coupled with what is styled the judicial temperament, will help in some degree to emancipate him from the suggestive power of individual dislikes and prepossessions. It will help to broaden the group to which his subconscious loyalties are due”. Hence law schools should be Centers for developing integrity and the right judicial temperament.

While, the United States and other developed nations have evolved their law universities as effective Centers of research, our law universities are yet to think in these directions. The law schools like Harvard are legal laboratories, which bring out new concepts, original thinking and critical reasoning, and contribute to the judicial and legal process of the nation.

As early as in 1911, the traditional lecture method in the study of law has been supplemented by the case method introduced by Langdell in Harvard, and then by the problem method. Now the emphasis in methodology has shifted from doctrinal analysis and legal reasoning to the broader spectrum of practical skills. Skills and values development, clinical and practical training, and research paper presentations have become the key factor in professionalizing the study of law.

Carrington Report on Training for Public Professions of Law (1971 Washington) and the Crampton Report on Lawyers Competency (1979 US) have suggested effective ways for enhancing lawyering skills and competency. Thereafter, the MacCrate Report on Legal Education and Professional Development, 1992 (the Report of the Task Force, on Law Schools and Profession: Narrowing the Gap, setup by the American Bar Association) has laid full emphasis on the law schools’ role in professional development and on instruction in skills and values.

The MacCrate Report identified 10 fundamental lawyering skills, 41 areas for skills development, 4 fundamental values for the profession and 11 areas for development of professional values, which are essential for enhancing professional development during law school years. Those skills include what it takes to practice law competently and professionally and which a well-trained generalist should be familiar before assuming the ultimate responsibility for a client.

The skills identified by the MacCrate Report include the skill of identifying and diagnosing the problems, analysis and application of legal rules and argumentation, identifying legal issues and methods for research, developing knowledge and ability to use the most fundamental tools of legal research, planning factual investigation, developing communication, developing client interviewing skills and negotiation skills, developing options of litigation and alternative dispute resolution. A teaching methodology for enhancing these skills should be an essential and inevitable part of the law school curriculum.

The MacCrate Report was followed by subsequent resolution of the American Bar Association House of Delegates in February 1994 and Report on Learning Professionalism 1996 (Chicago), which were follow up actions which have sharpened the MacCrate recommendations.

The 184th Report (2002) of the Law Commission of India under the Chairmanship of Justice Jaganatha Rao on Legal Education and Professional Training and Prosposals for Amendment to the Advocates Act 1961 and the U.G.C Act of 1956 (December 2002) has fully endorsed and accepted the recommendations and suggestions of the MacCrate Report of 1992.

One of the important recommendations of the MacCrate Report 1992 and the Law Commission Report 2002 relate to appointing adjunct teachers from the bar and the bench. The 2002 law Commission report devotes a whole chapter, (Chapter VII) for stressing the need for adjunct/ part time teachers drawn from the community of experienced lawyers and retired judges.

Any methodology of teaching law aimed at excellence should have orientation on the practical, clinical and research sides. Our aim is to build the Academy as a legal laboratory and Center for excellence in research encouraging original thinking, critical reasoning and invention of new concepts of justice.

New pedagogic strategies and training methods have been designed and developed at the Academy aimed at equipping the student with necessary tools to become a complete professional lawyer by the time he graduates. For this, many innovative subjects and lawyering skills developing programmes are included in the curriculum and we use a wide range of methodologies and insights from various other disciplines. The curriculum has been structured with innovative subjects with stress on scientific elements so as to enhance the professional development of the student during the law school years. At the same time, the curriculum and training have also been structured to make it increasingly compatible with the needs of the modern law firms created to meet the complex needs of institutional clients. The above strategies and training are reflected in the success of the students of the Academy at various national and international Moot Court and other lawyering competitions, wherein they have emerged as the best in India.